A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Speed display gets a test on First

Written March 8th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

The speed display sign was moved to this spot on First Avenue last week.

A radar sign made virtually no difference in traffic speed on Albany’s Second Avenue last year. Now the city wants to test whether it changes anything a block away on First.

The speed limit on both legs of the one-way couplet east of central Albany is 25 mph. There had been complaints about speeding on Second, prompting the police department to test whether a permanently mounted radar unit would cause a change.

The sign was installed on Second last June. The city collected six sets of data, two before the sign went up and four afterward. “The results of all six were virtually identical,” transportation official Ron Irish says. “Average speeds were around 28 mph, and the 85 percent speeds varied between 31 and 32 mph.” (That’s the speed that 85 percent of the traffic stays below.)

Irish told me the sign was moved to First last week at the request of the Albany police because the department wants to test its effectiveness at a second location. The display should stay up for at least at couple of months in order for speed studies to show enough data.

When a vehicle approaches at 30 mph or higher, a bright light on the sign start blinking. When I watched the thing for a couple of minutes Thursday afternoon, the light came on once or twice but then stopped, suggesting the drivers had taken notice and slowed. So to that extent, the sign probably does have a momentary effect. (hh)

11 responses to “Speed display gets a test on First”

  1. Brad says:

    I live on 1st and regularly pass by both of those signs. They definitely help me keep my speed under 25. Any idea how much these signs cost and how much it costs to maintain them?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Got that info today from Marilyn Smith at City Hall: “The sign cost $3,199 (includes data collection software, strobe lights, mounting brackets, shipping). Police paid these costs. Public Works provided the pole and the base; $80 total for materials and about an hour of labor. We haven’t assessed maintenance costs yet.”

  2. Wayne Henneck says:

    I think it helps to have the speed limit posted at the radar sign, at least it does with me.

  3. Ronald Huss says:

    I would love to have that sign on the Water Ave raceway so many speed on to avoid traffic lights. At least (2) intersections are very dangerous and for those of us that live close to the road cars whizzing by are rather irritating. Yes, I’m biased because I live on Water.

  4. Bob Sattem says:

    Add camera to it and see how much it changes…

  5. J. Jacobson says:

    In some ways reminiscent of perhaps the most significant Peter Principle wherein the amount of work expands to fill the time allotted.

  6. Carrie says:

    Put a couple speed ‘humps’. That will slow them down. It does in my neighborhood….

  7. Jim Engel says:

    Clever way to “conceal” that bike of yours! :>)

  8. R0bert Chandler says:

    Thank you Ronald Huss for your comment about Water Street. We too live on Water Street and have complained to the police department about the traffic down here to no avail.

  9. Albany YIMBY says:

    The problem is that the speed is not set by the signs, but the conditions of the road. If the road is wide and straight, cars will go faster regardless of the signs. You could put a 10 MPH sign and people would still go 40-50 if the road is wide as Pacific Blvd.

    They explain it pretty well here. https://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/09/13/wide-residential-streets-are-dangerous-why-are-they-so-common/

    • Cathy LeSuer says:

      I live on Water too. Our neighborhood group “Wren” talked to Ron Irish with the city. He said that the railroad controls Water and the City does not have the authority to add stop signs to the street


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