comments

New speed limits posted in Roseville

Council approves 11 increases, one decrease to comply with the law
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
-A +A

Roseville motorists might notice slight increases in speed limits posted around the city.

The Press Tribune sat down with Roseville’s acting Public Works Director Rhon Herndon to find out why.

What’s going on with changes to speed limits in Roseville?

The law says in order to use electronic devices to enforce speed limits, we have to have an engineering and traffic survey on file approved by the City Council within the past seven years.

(Surveys) are not required for streets with speed limits set by state statute. For instance, residential streets and business districts are 25 mph all over the state.

We measure the speeds of the vehicles on the road. We calculate what’s called the 85th percentile speed, the speed at which 85 percent of the traffic is traveling at or below. This is not something the City of Roseville established. The state legislature determined the 85th percentile speed is the prudent speed for a roadway.

The idea behind that is drivers adjust their speed not based on what a speed limit sign says but based on the conditions that surround them — how wide the road is, how wide the lanes are, whether there’s parking or pedestrians.

For years, the law said to take the 85th percentile speed and round down to the nearest 5-mph increment and that is the posted speed limit. If there are “conditions not readily apparent to the motorist,” we can justify reducing that posted speed limit by an additional 5 mph. And it’s still radar enforceable.

Those conditions can be an accident history associated with that segment of road, numerous driveways where vehicles may suddenly come in and out of traffic, bicycles lanes, playgrounds (along the road) where kids are playing. We take these into consideration when recommending an appropriate speed limit.

The speed limit is what you, the motoring public, based on your behaviors, have determined is appropriate. It’s not the speed limit sign that controls the speed of traffic. It’s the speed of traffic that controls what the posted speed limit sign is going to say.

We could remove all the speed limit signs in Roseville and there might be some people who think, “Oh my gosh, everyone would suddenly drive 100 mph.” That’s not the case at all. The prevailing speed wouldn’t change. People would continue to drive the way they drive.

What did the city find needed to be changed?

We took 29 engineering and traffic surveys to council. Of those, there is one decrease, 11 increases and 17 with no change. Out of the 11 increases, all are only a 5 mph increase. Eight out of the 11 are due to a change in the law.

For years, the law was to round down to the nearest 5-mph increment. For example, if we measure a prevailing speed of 48 mph, we would round down to 45. Then, we can use conditions not readily apparent for another reduction and end up with a recommended speed limit of 40. With the new law, instead of the nearest below, you go to the nearest 5-mph increment. So it rounds to 50 and with those conditions it goes to 45.

How does increasing speed limits affect safety?

Studies have shown that accidents are lower when drivers are driving in a uniform manner at about the same speed. When there’s a larger differential in speed where some people are driving slow and some people are driving fast that can cause some drivers to make sudden lane changes because faster drivers want to get around the slow-driving person.

If a public agency chooses to (decrease) a segment of roadway that can cause friction in the flow of traffic because the majority of traffic will continue to drive what they feel is a prudent speed.

But we may get a few overly conservative drivers that force themselves to comply with the sign, and that will cause them to drive significantly slower than the rest of traffic, which can cause accidents.

By posting speed limits in accordance with the law and equipping our officers with the electronic tools to enforce speed limits, it enables the police department to cite speeders. This will modify driver behavior, which will then result in a safer roadway for everyone.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

----------

Speed limit increases
Alexandra Drive from East Roseville Parkway to Secret Ravine Parkway: 40 mph
Brady Land from Vineyard Road to Baseline Road: 40 mph
East Roseville Parkway from Rocky Ridge Drive to Douglas Boulevard: 45 mph
East Roseville Parkway from Douglas Boulevard to Eureka Road: 45 mph
East Roseville Parkway from Eureka Road to Sierra College Boulevard: 45 mph
Harding Boulevard from Estates Drive to Douglas Boulevard: 30 mph
Junction Boulevard from Baseline Road to Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard: 45 mph
Junction Boulevard from Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard to Foothills Boulevard: 45 mph
Park Regency Drive from Hiawatha Drive to Junction Boulevard: 30 mph
Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard from northern city limits to Blue Oaks Boulevard: 45 mph
Woodcreek Oaks Boulevard from Blue Oaks Boulevard to Horncastle Avenue: 45 mph

Speed limit decreases
Old Auburn Road from Sierra College Boulevard to East Roseville Parkway: 35 mph