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(The Daily Progress)   City to engineer: We need paperwork to justify a 35 mph speed limit. Engineer: The speed limit should be 50. City: There are other consulting firms we could hire. Engineer: 35 is perfect for this road   (www2.dailyprogress.com) divider line 67
    More: Followup, speed limits, school zones, residential development, council, second readings  
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17162 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Apr 2012 at 2:35 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-23 02:33:56 PM
Yeah? And?
 
2012-04-23 02:37:37 PM
I knew it was Virginia before clicking. fark Virginia.
 
2012-04-23 02:38:22 PM
TRWTF is that the city council needs to justify a municipal speed limit.
 
2012-04-23 02:38:54 PM
Not news.
 
2012-04-23 02:39:25 PM
Milwaukie, OR: We need the 25 mph speed limit and photo radar on 4 lane, divided roadways in town. Oregon: You can't post those roads at 25. Milwaukie: It's for the children, so we did. Has nothing to do with $2 million a year in fines.
 
2012-04-23 02:42:02 PM
Their arguments are
1) EMS station nearby.
Umm, if I was EMS I'd be darned pissed if traffic was intentionally slowed down, in turn slowing down the EMS vehicles.
2) Not enough time to accelerate/decelerate in merge lands.
Well you screwed up in designing that intersection didn't you? And if its true traffic would often be coming to a screeching halt in that area due to people having difficult merges. It doesn't appear to be so, and merging at 45 is insanely easy.

From what I can read from the article a 45MPH exception in that intersection may be applicable, but they are going for 35 for the lulz and "for the children".
 
2012-04-23 02:43:49 PM
I live in a city near Boston that operates this way. The legal department tells the City Council what they want to hear, and then the city gets sued. Rinse, repeat. We're currently being sued by the ACLU due to bad advice from the legal department. I'll leave out what the ordinance is about so I don't derail the discussion any further. I've only lived there since 2007 and this may be the fourth time? My city even fired a PR firm - probably the only good PR firm they ever hired, on account of not understanding what's good for them. They only want what they already think, feel, believe, to be validated. Provincialism.

/rant
 
2012-04-23 02:47:44 PM
The study is in the disused lavatory in the basement with broken stairs with a sign on the door saying beware of the leopard.
 
2012-04-23 02:49:09 PM
Must be the trend.

Road was 50 years old. They improve it with wider lanes, wide berms, turning lanes all new surface and signals. Speed limit was 45, they keep part of it 45.....but a 1/4 , mile stretch along a strip of woods (not near homes or school etc...) gets posted at 25.

It's the road that leads out of the only business area.

It gets people pulled over daily$$$$


The no berm, winding, twisted, pot holed, blind corner road through residential neighborhoods?
Yeah, still 45mph
 
2012-04-23 02:49:11 PM
They did this in Virginia Beach, VA as well, after several accidents where jaywalking (and inebriated) pedestrians were killed by motorists driving the legal speed limit.

The other day, i passed a radar car who had been pulling motorists all day. As I passed, a woman walking a dog jaywalked and - surprise - no ticket for her. If she were hit and killed, They would probably lower the speed limit to 25.

I have argued that if all there "reasons' for a drop in the speed limit were valid (safer, more time to react, think-of-the-children, etc.) Then that called for a 35 MPH limit city-wide. They were not amused.

/It's for your own good so STFU!
 
2012-04-23 02:51:00 PM

Cheesus: I knew it was Virginia before clicking. fark Virginia.


This is a favorite Kansas trick as well (and I'm sure every other state). We've got 5 lane roads here in Wichita that are 35 or 40. Cops just live there.
 
2012-04-23 02:51:08 PM
Let's talk about the case for the motorists.

FTFA:
Minutes from a July 3, 1967, Charlottesville City Council meeting refer to such a traffic study being completed. The council adopted an ordinance a month later, lowering the speed limit for a portion of the bypass. The actual study, though, could not be located.

The defendants argued the city must produce a copy of the traffic study to prove it was completed before the speed limit was changed.


I'd say case dismissed, but the judge didn't agree and the trial is set. But if the study can't be located, references to the study aren't enough, IMO.

/don't have a GED in law.
 
2012-04-23 02:52:23 PM
Our own little speed trap.

25 MPH

// Supposedly, it's because there's a senior citizen center there. But I've never once seen a senior citizen outside, let alone trying to cross the street.

// And if there are a lot of senior citizens, then put a stoplight at the bottom of the hill so that they can cross easily.

// Speed trap to collect cash from out of town college kids. I got stopped once. And now I make it a point to go 25 through that area (for the lulz).

"Ohh, I thought you were a college student zipping through here. And you live in the neighborhood too? I'm going to let you go with a warning.".
 
2012-04-23 02:53:14 PM
Simple explanation for this:

Engineer: Mayor, the bypass is completed and the sign guys need a posted speed limit.
Mayor: What's your suggestion
Engineer: 50 MPH should be good.
Mayor: The city needs another source of revenue so I can keep my kids in private schools so they don't have to go to the shiatty schools we administer. Let's make it a speed trap from hell. 35 MPH.
 
2012-04-23 02:53:39 PM
If the 300 to 600 blocks of the US-250 bypass in Charlottesville, VA isn't worth an engineer taking a stand on principle (at the risk of losing an important client), then I don't know what is.

"All that is required for the triumph of lower than 85th percentile posted speed limits is for good municipal engineers to do nothing.'
 
2012-04-23 02:55:12 PM

DssDevl: Simple explanation for this:

Engineer: Mayor, the bypass is completed and the sign guys need a posted speed limit.
Mayor: What's your suggestion
Engineer: 50 MPH should be good.
Mayor: The city needs another source of revenue so I can keep my kids in private schools so they don't have to go to the shiatty schools we administer. Let's make it a speed trap from hell. 35 MPH. However I clearly have no idea where the revenue for traffic tickets goes, so I will probably be arrested for embezzling money from the general fund because I need to pay for my kid's private school out of city pockets.


FTFY
 
2012-04-23 02:55:19 PM

wambu: They did this in Virginia Beach, VA as well, after several accidents where jaywalking (and inebriated) pedestrians were killed by motorists driving the legal speed limit.

The other day, i passed a radar car who had been pulling motorists all day. As I passed, a woman walking a dog jaywalked and - surprise - no ticket for her. If she were hit and killed, They would probably lower the speed limit to 25.

I have argued that if all there "reasons' for a drop in the speed limit were valid (safer, more time to react, think-of-the-children, etc.) Then that called for a 35 MPH limit city-wide. They were not amused.

/It's for your own good so STFU!


I was at a county hearing for a completely unrelated matter when they got on the topic of lowering speed limits because of predestrian safety on a highway/bypass. When asked for comment I stood and asked if it were for pedestrian safety wouldn't a pedestrian bridge be the better choice? They were not amused.
 
2012-04-23 02:56:58 PM
Meh. I just read a story about someone set fire to a speed camera around here that has been responsible for over 2200 tickets in its first 30 days of operation. Most rational people would think that would be indicative of a speed limit that doesn't correlate with road conditions, but instead they're just replacing the thing.
 
2012-04-23 02:58:31 PM
You know, states can lose all of their federal highway funding if they get caught playing around like this. Signs and speed limits are put up and set according to very specific rules in what is known as the MUTCD.

/traffic person
 
2012-04-23 03:00:14 PM
I drive this road basically every day. The 35mph is justified for about 3/4 of a mile. The rest of it is absolute nonsense.
 
2012-04-23 03:01:30 PM

IrateShadow: Meh. I just read a story about someone set fire to a speed camera around here that has been responsible for over 2200 tickets in its first 30 days of operation. Most rational people would think that would be indicative of a speed limit that doesn't correlate with road conditions, but instead they're just replacing the thing.


That person is a hero. Seriously.
 
2012-04-23 03:05:36 PM

redmid17: DssDevl: Simple explanation for this:

Engineer: Mayor, the bypass is completed and the sign guys need a posted speed limit.
Mayor: What's your suggestion
Engineer: 50 MPH should be good.
Mayor: The city needs another source of revenue so I can keep my kids in private schools so they don't have to go to the shiatty schools we administer. Let's make it a speed trap from hell. 35 MPH. However I clearly have no idea where the revenue for traffic tickets goes, so I will probably be arrested for embezzling money from the general fund because I need to pay for my kid's private school out of city pockets.


FTFY


Fines up = taxes down. No embezzlement necessary.
 
2012-04-23 03:06:53 PM

machoprogrammer: That person is a hero. Seriously.


Yeah, I doubt the police are going to get any response to their call for witnesses.
 
2012-04-23 03:07:19 PM

mediaseth: I live in a city near Boston that operates this way. The legal department tells the City Council what they want to hear, and then the city gets sued. Rinse, repeat. We're currently being sued by the ACLU due to bad advice from the legal department. I'll leave out what the ordinance is about so I don't derail the discussion any further. I've only lived there since 2007 and this may be the fourth time? My city even fired a PR firm - probably the only good PR firm they ever hired, on account of not understanding what's good for them. They only want what they already think, feel, believe, to be validated. Provincialism.

/rant


that is awesome and you're right to rant. now multiply rant times a few billion and that's WashDC. no wonder we are farked cradle to grave.
 
2012-04-23 03:08:30 PM

DoBeDoBeDo: wambu: They did this in Virginia Beach, VA as well, after several accidents where jaywalking (and inebriated) pedestrians were killed by motorists driving the legal speed limit.

The other day, i passed a radar car who had been pulling motorists all day. As I passed, a woman walking a dog jaywalked and - surprise - no ticket for her. If she were hit and killed, They would probably lower the speed limit to 25.

I have argued that if all there "reasons' for a drop in the speed limit were valid (safer, more time to react, think-of-the-children, etc.) Then that called for a 35 MPH limit city-wide. They were not amused.

/It's for your own good so STFU!

I was at a county hearing for a completely unrelated matter when they got on the topic of lowering speed limits because of predestrian safety on a highway/bypass. When asked for comment I stood and asked if it were for pedestrian safety wouldn't a pedestrian bridge be the better choice? They were not amused.


In our local case, it turned out that one of the pedestrians was the [very drunk, jaywalking to get to a booty call] daughter of a close friend of a councilman, so it was a done deal.
 
2012-04-23 03:14:08 PM
Just a friendly reminder that we are in the last week of the month. Mind your speed limits accordingly.

/not saying there's a quota
//but there's a quota
 
2012-04-23 03:14:56 PM
The legal way:
Mayor: Limit is 50, what's the 85th percentile?
Engineer: 45.
Mayor: Make the limit 45.

*Wait*

Mayor: What's the 85th percentile now?
Engineer: 40.
Mayor: Make the limit 40.

*And so on*
 
2012-04-23 03:17:14 PM
Nothing to see here. The government only cares about the safety of its citizens. They would never do anything unseemly in the name of higher profits. That is solely the domain of the eeeevil corporations.
 
2012-04-23 03:17:37 PM

Sticky Hands: redmid17: DssDevl: Simple explanation for this:

Engineer: Mayor, the bypass is completed and the sign guys need a posted speed limit.
Mayor: What's your suggestion
Engineer: 50 MPH should be good.
Mayor: The city needs another source of revenue so I can keep my kids in private schools so they don't have to go to the shiatty schools we administer. Let's make it a speed trap from hell. 35 MPH. However I clearly have no idea where the revenue for traffic tickets goes, so I will probably be arrested for embezzling money from the general fund because I need to pay for my kid's private school out of city pockets.


FTFY

Fines up = taxes down. No embezzlement necessary.


Unless you planning on generating tens of millions of dollars in traffic fines, I don't think a reduction in local taxes is going to bankroll a private school education (at least not one I'm aware of).
 
2012-04-23 03:18:28 PM
Won't someone please consider the poor speeding citation revenues?

I got my first ticket in 11 years recently. I was coming into this lille podunk crossroads of a town a couple of Sundays ago. The highway speed limit was 65. As I started coming into town, it dropped to 55 and then to 35. I slowed down and when I was through the town, when I began to accelerate to highway speed again. I was out among farms and things, so I figured I was alright. Then I saw a 65 MPH sign on one side of the road and a cop pulled off on the other side. As I passed, the blues came on. He told me that I was sill inside the "city limit" and that the speed limit was still 35. So I was doing 65 in a 35. Not good for the old insurance premium. I didn't argue with him and he seemed a nice enough fellow. So for being cooperative, he wrote the ticket down to doing 55 in a 35, which means that I won't have points on my driving record. But I still owe Podunk $270.
 
2012-04-23 03:20:23 PM
That's ridiculous! Sure, it'll save a few lives, but millions will be late!

/Moon for rebuttal.
 
2012-04-23 03:22:12 PM
lunkhed : *And so on*M
It doesn't work that way, because traffic on a road flows at a speed that people are comfortable with.

If you lower the speed well below the 85th percentile (even if done in steps), the traffic speeds will not drop in a corresponding amount.

//IE, drop the speed limit on a 50 MPH road to 30, and people will still be going around 50 on said road.
 
2012-04-23 03:33:29 PM
Luckily in my state the state dept of transportation sets the speed limits on Interstates and 4 or more lane State and US highways. The town council in bumblefark can eat a bowl of dicks, they don't get to put a 25 mph speed trap up.
 
2012-04-23 03:36:08 PM

JackieRabbit: So for being cooperative, he wrote the ticket down to doing 55 in a 35, which means that I won't have points on my driving record. But I still owe Podunk $270.


It's like organized crime with uniforms and badges.
 
2012-04-23 03:41:44 PM
So, don't drive over the speed limit. Don't like the limit, use a different road or move away. Refuse to buy anything along that road.
 
2012-04-23 03:41:58 PM
New Law: All traffic or municipal fines are converted to cash and thrown into an incinerator. Violator is deprived of money (punished). Problem?
 
2012-04-23 03:42:18 PM

JackieRabbit: Won't someone please consider the poor speeding citation revenues?

I got my first ticket in 11 years recently. I was coming into this lille podunk crossroads of a town a couple of Sundays ago. The highway speed limit was 65. As I started coming into town, it dropped to 55 and then to 35. I slowed down and when I was through the town, when I began to accelerate to highway speed again. I was out among farms and things, so I figured I was alright. Then I saw a 65 MPH sign on one side of the road and a cop pulled off on the other side. As I passed, the blues came on. He told me that I was sill inside the "city limit" and that the speed limit was still 35. So I was doing 65 in a 35. Not good for the old insurance premium. I didn't argue with him and he seemed a nice enough fellow. So for being cooperative, he wrote the ticket down to doing 55 in a 35, which means that I won't have points on my driving record. But I still owe Podunk $270.


Should argue prima facie.
 
2012-04-23 03:44:47 PM
"Repeated research on speed limits consistently shows that the most appropriate, safe and enforceable speed limit will be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed," the study reads.
Still, special conditions, such as adjacent residential neighborhoods, school zones and parks, should also be considered, the study said.
The study concluded that such special conditions make the 35-mph zone of the bypass appropriate.


The percentile speed is not the speed limit, it is one of the considerations. Other things are taken into account even if you don't like them.
 
2012-04-23 03:46:08 PM

JackieRabbit: Won't someone please consider the poor speeding citation revenues?

I got my first ticket in 11 years recently. I was coming into this lille podunk crossroads of a town a couple of Sundays ago. The highway speed limit was 65. As I started coming into town, it dropped to 55 and then to 35. I slowed down and when I was through the town, when I began to accelerate to highway speed again. I was out among farms and things, so I figured I was alright. Then I saw a 65 MPH sign on one side of the road and a cop pulled off on the other side. As I passed, the blues came on. He told me that I was sill inside the "city limit" and that the speed limit was still 35. So I was doing 65 in a 35. Not good for the old insurance premium. I didn't argue with him and he seemed a nice enough fellow. So for being cooperative, he wrote the ticket down to doing 55 in a 35, which means that I won't have points on my driving record. But I still owe Podunk $270.


That happens all up and down US250 as well. I was driving down on Saturday at about 5am, and noticed that nearly every tiny town (pretty much all sub 5000 population) dropped the speed limit from 60-65 to 25-35 within town borders. Considering that a number of them are in valleys, making slowing down difficult in a short time frame, I'm lucky I've never had a ticket.
 
2012-04-23 03:49:25 PM

umad: Nothing to see here. The government only cares about the safety of its citizens. They would never do anything unseemly in the name of higher profits. That is solely the domain of the eeeevil corporations.


You sarcastically mean the corporations that manufacture the speed cameras and sell them to municipal governments?

Anyway, this is just the typical right-wing shell game. "Small government" is political code for "lower taxes", resulting in a shortfall. Shortfall causes first responders' budget to get cut. To avoid layoffs, city is tasked with finding "other sources of revenue". In come the speeding camera manufacturers like free-market angels.

You're still getting taxed! A speeding fine in a speed trap is just a tax, except it's more bureaucratic and regressive. But enjoy your illusion that "starving the beast" leads to smaller government. I live in an area with a bunch of old people and soccer moms that drive slowly (and inattentively) so it's frustrating at times, but the city budget hasn't been cleaned like a fish for cheap political points so there aren't speed traps around here.
 
2012-04-23 03:49:40 PM

wambu: It's like organized crime with uniforms and badges.


Yeah, it really is. It is also true that for these small burgs, this is a major source of revenue.

meddleRPI: Should argue prima facie.


Naw. It's not worth it. First the town is about 130 miles from here. I don't have the time to go all the way down there. I've argued in traffic court before an never won a case. Municipal court judges collude with the cops. It's a stacked deck - stacked against you. It's almost impossible to win. The best you can hope for is that the cop doesn't show up for court and you motion for the case to be dismissed for failure to prosecute. I've actually had this happen. If you fight, the judge will almost invariably hit you with the maximum fine and/or points. That cost too much. As Wambu said... You don't fight the mob. You just pay the don his tribute.
 
2012-04-23 03:50:59 PM
Only one way to correct this:

Make it so that all fines, fees and penalties are kept in a special fund and not added to general revenue. That fund is then distributed to the taxpayers as a credit each year.

And the only way government is allowed to raise revenue is from taxes.

The "lawbreakers" are penalized, the "good citizens" are rewarded, and the conflict of interest inherent in using government police power to raise revenue is gone.

The only people who lose are the corrupt politicians, but I repeat myself, who want to spend our money but are too cowardly to raise taxes.
 
2012-04-23 03:55:48 PM

umad: Nothing to see here. The government only cares about the safety of its citizens. They would never do anything unseemly in the name of higher profits. That is solely the domain of the eeeevil corporations.


A 4 lane road in my city, just on the outskirts, is 50mph southbound and 35mph northbound, for about 5 miles. cop cars galore hiding behind bushes and signs. They even built a nice shoulder, only on the northbound side, to provide a nice place to get pulled over.
 
2012-04-23 04:02:56 PM
The speed limit on that stretch of road really should be at least 50. Of course, the cops around here don't care what the posted limit is themselves. They fly down 250 like they're driving on the interstate.
 
2012-04-23 04:07:01 PM

Psylence: MUTCD.


And without even looking I'd bet whole swaths of highway 54 in chapel hill violate this.

45mph, for a four (sometimes six) lane divided highway, really?
 
2012-04-23 04:09:29 PM
Good engineering work there - seriously. They gave the client the product they wanted, but made damn sure they kept their professional integrity by clearly documenting what a crock it is:

"Traffic data collected as part of the engineering study conducted by Maryland-based Rummel, Klepper & Kahl showed the 85th percentile speeds at four points in the 35-mph zone of the bypass is between 46 and 50 mph.

The 85th percentile speed, which represents the speed at or below which 85 percent of drivers are traveling in free-flowing traffic, is often used to determine speed limits, according to the study.

"Repeated research on speed limits consistently shows that the most appropriate, safe and enforceable speed limit will be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed," the study reads."

I'm an engineer, I see what they did there and I respect it. Better than true 'yes man' engineering work that hides the facts.
 
2012-04-23 04:10:13 PM
*ahem*

Charlottesville Fark Party? Anyone?

okayguy.jpeg.
 
2012-04-23 04:10:21 PM
nothing new for local governments in general
 
2012-04-23 04:11:17 PM

dragonchild: You're still getting taxed! A speeding fine in a speed trap is just a tax, except it's more bureaucratic and regressive. But enjoy your illusion that "starving the beast" leads to smaller government.


That needs emphasis.
 
2012-04-23 04:18:14 PM
I hope it wasn't one of their many P.E.s that went along with council just to justify a 35mph speed limit because someone wanted to ensure ticket revenue.

Dumb way to have those credentials yanked (and yeah, they'll do it too).
 
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