Q<em style="bold">UESTION: </em>Are police allowed to continue driving faster than 20 mph on Pegues Place where the speed limit was recently reduced? (Answer Line, Thursday) What does the police department plan to do to enforce the reduced speed limit for themselves and other drivers? I have been following the speed limit and have been nearly rear-ended by Longview police vehicles speeding up behind me.
ANSWER: I'm going to start with what Longview police will do to enforce the newly reduced speed limit on Pegues between Fourth Street and Judson Road. Detective Debra Stiles said officers are performing extra patrols in the area with the goal of helping make drivers aware of the change to what she said is one of the lowest speed limits in the city other than school zones. That means drivers who are speeding might receive warnings, although she said they could receive citations. Officers are trying to open drivers' eyes to the change, she said.
Here's what I know about the other part of your question: Stiles said the department has made officers aware of the reduced speed limit, but they might need to be reminded a few times, too.
Officers should follow traffic laws, she said. However, state law allows officers responding to emergency calls to disregard speed limits and other traffic laws, for instance, so long as they're not endangering life or property. Officers typically use lights and sirens to respond to emergency calls, but there are situations in which they do not — if it might be dangerous or if it would alert a suspect about an officer's approach.
Q: What is the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority and its purpose? Is this an appointed position? By whom, the governor, Greg Abbott? It sounds interesting.
A: For folks who are just now tuning in, I'm going to guess this question was prompted by a story that Linda Ryan Thomas, chairwoman of the authority, shared with Answer Line about Longview's train depot and the tunnels passengers there once used.
The authority is a government agency that was created after the Legislature authorized regional mobility authorities in 2001. The Texas Transportation Commission in turn created the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority in 2004, first with Smith and Gregg counties. In subsequent years, Cherokee, Rusk, Harrison, Upshur, Bowie, Cass, Panola, Titus, Van Zandt and Wood counties joined as well. The organization's website says it was "created to accelerate the development of transportation projects in North East Texas," with a mission statement to "provide solutions to expedite transportation and mobility projects that will improve the quality of life, enhance the regional economy and assure efficient mobility in the North East Texas Region."
We see this group working on regional road projects such as Toll 49, the East Texas Hourglass and improving rail service.
The governor appoints the chairman, while Smith and Gregg county commissioners courts each appoint three members including a representative specifically for Tyler and one for Longview. County judges appoint the remainder of the 19 board members.
Q: Could you find out what they are building at the southwest corner of Hawkins Parkway and Tryon Road? A sign there says it's financed by Texas Bank and Trust, but not what they're building.
A: I think you're asking about what will be Scotties 2.0, which has been described as an "architecturally upscale" convenience store and restaurant.
The store will be owned by the Jai Harihar family partnership that owns seven East Texas Scotties convenience stores. The News-Journal's weekly Business Beat column previously has reported that the 6,035-square-foot store will feature local wines and craft beers, a single-bay automated car wash and a yet unidentified restaurant.
MORE ON TEXT TO 911: Answer Line wanted to provide a complete list of the entities that are part of the East Texas Council of Governments' 911 program and will likely implement text-to-911 service through ETCOG in 2018 or 2019. (The agency will pay for equipment and installation). Those agencies are: Anderson County Sheriff's Office/Palestine Police Department; Camp County Sheriff's Office; Cherokee County Sheriff's Office/Jacksonville Police Department; Gregg County Sheriff's Office (not including the cities of Longview and Kilgore, each which are their own 911 districts); Marion County Sheriff's Office; Panola County Sheriff's Office/Carthage Police Department; Rains County Sheriff's Office; Upshur County Sheriff's Office; Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office/Canton Police Department; and the Wood County Sheriff's Office/Mineola Police Department.
— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.