The Pataskala administration has decided to expand the downtown speed limit of 25 mph for the entire section of Main Street and state Route 310, from Broad Street on the north to Mill Street on the south.

The Pataskala administration has decided to expand the downtown speed limit of 25 mph for the entire section of Main Street and state Route 310, from Broad Street on the north to Mill Street on the south.

City administrator Tim Boland said the current 25-mph zone is limited to about a four-block area, from Front Street to Atkinson Street.

"This would be a reduction in the speed limit from Broad to Mill streets to 25 mph," Boland said. "This would enlarge the area (for the lower speed limit). Signs will go up March 1, and we'll have a 30-day time period for residents to get comfortable with the speed limit, but then it will be effective."

Boland said lower speed limits were consistent with other cities.

"I don't think (Pataskala's has been) inconsistent with what I've seen with downtowns and areas like that. I wholeheartedly support it," Boland said.

Mayor Steve Butcher said the move had been under study for months, following discussions with the police department about downtown crosswalks.

"It came out of a conversation with the police department when we were looking at the crosswalk issues," Butcher said. "The engineering report has been going on for seven or eight months. It's not a last-week kind of thing. It's a fairly long process."

Butcher said having consistent speed limits over the roadway would be an improvement over the current speed zones.

"From a police-enforcement point of view, there has always been an issue of what speed zone you are in when you are attempting to enforce," Butcher said. "Generally, we have said they have to be clearly outside the boundary or way over the speed limit before we enforced it. This gives the department the ability to do enforcement in the most critical area around the railroad tracks and south of the tracks."

Butcher said the change was not a matter of city revenue, noting there is little ticket enforcement in the area currently and that the city has used warning programs in the past, rather than tickets.

"We gave out a sizeable number of warnings, I'm not sure, maybe 80, but those were all warnings, not something that generated any revenue," he said. "We're not really doing much enforcement down there. It's difficult to do because of the variation in the speed zones."

Butcher said Main Street is difficult to cross because the road is busy.

"The downtown business district is home to residences, businesses, churches and schools, and we continually hear complaints that people cannot safely cross the street," he said. "Starting this summer, we will be spending a quarter of a million dollars under a Safe Routes to Schools grant, and the speeds just did not match up with the idea of providing crosswalks and safe routes to schools."

A bike path also will be installed south of Mill Street.

To date in 2011, three speeding tickets have been issued on all of state Route 310, including the portion north of Broad Street, outside the historic village area.