There’s a question that has been on my mind lately. Do most drivers behave differently in their own neighborhoods than they do on other roads?
In discussions about Main Street reconstruction and a possible 40B development, residents of those neighborhoods have raised concerns about speeding.
The issue was explored when Police Chief Kenneth Paulhus met with the Main Street Design Working Group in May.
Some residents have worried that designs that “widen and straighten” the road will increase speeding. Therefore, some pose, designs should incorporate measures to control speed. Working group member Claire Reynolds expressed a different view.
Reynolds posited that speeding on Main Street is an enforcement issue. Paulhus’ response was that police have other issues (like dealing with problems along Route 9) that limit the department’s manpower for that.
More recently, Paulhus clarified his comments for me:
If Main St. (or any other area of Town) becomes problematic, we will direct our resources toward it. Turnpike Rd. takes up a lot of our energy by sheer volume which I’m sure you have noticed by looking at the call log. Traffic issues are the number one problem complaint recorded by most any law enforcement agency. Once the complaint comes in, we research the data and respond accordingly. In the last month, we have received a number of requests for traffic enforcement, but have had to direct our patrol focus toward a rash of Breaking and Entering complaints which certainly has taken precedent.
At the June meeting, Paulhus agreed to put up a radar device to gather some data on Main Street. It tracked average speeds of passing cars.
I assume the figures captured would be upsetting to most that live on or bike/walk along that stretch of road. But I can’t believe that all speeders are passing through town. Which leads to the question, where do you fit in these “speed bins”?
Reynolds tells me she believes that local residents must take responsibility of following the posted speed limit (even if they have cars on their bumper as she often does.) But from observation it seems to me that most drivers treat speed limits differently.
So when I look at the data (scroll down for that), I wonder what do you think?
What is your take on speeding in town?
- What is the right speed on the west section of Main Street? Do you drive 30 mph there? 35? Higher?
- Are speeds that seem alarming to others normal for you? (Or does it depend on the driver? You believe you are in control but have doubts about others?)
- Do you obey the limit in your own neighborhood but ignore it in others?
- Are there specific areas of town you are concerned about?
(Feel free to respond anonymously!)
As for the captured speed, there were a lot of reports. So I’ll just share a few data points.
Town consultant VHB tracked speeds in their traffic study. According to the report for Main Street (On Wednesday, May 7th):
- Past Sears Road
- 38.1% of vehicles exceeded 39 mph, going eastbound where speed limit is 30 mph (4 were clocked going over 54 mph)
- 15.1% of exceeded 39 mph, going westbound where speed limit increases to 35 mph (1 clocked at over 69 mph)
- Past Common Street where limit is either 25 mph or 20 mph when school zone lights are flashing:
- 25.4% of eastbound vehicles exceeded 29 mph
- 41.7 % of westbound vehicles exceeded 29 mph
The police radar data shows for one segment of 1,178 moving “vehicles” on Main Street near Deerfoot Road*:
- Only 45.5% obeyed the 30 mph limit
- 13% exceeded by 5 or more mph
*The device used for this is a digital sign that displays drivers’ speeds. It was acknowledged at the May meeting that the sign itself tends to effect the data. Drivers tend to slow down while passing it.