If the experimental radar sign the Albany City Council caused to be installed on Second Avenue has had any effect in slowing traffic, the change is so small it is hard to detect.
The sign went up in early June just ahead of where the one-way street crosses the Portland & Western Railroad hump. The speed limit there is 25 mph, and city officials wanted to test whether seeing their speed displayed on the sign would cause drivers to slow down.
I went by there last week, leaned the bike against a pole, and watched the display for a few minutes. Just like the last time, in June after the sign went up, most of the readings I saw were below 30 mph. The highest was 32.
Ron Irish, Albany’s transportation systems analyst, told me that while no date has been set, he was pretty close to taking a report back to the city council. There have been six speed studies on Second, two from before the sign was installed and four from afterward.
“I’m not seeing a lot of difference in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ data,” he told me. “Average speeds have consistently been around 28 mph, and the 85 percent speeds have been between 31 and 32 mph.” (The term means that 85 percent of the traffic moves below that speed.)
So, there’s not much speeding going on, and there was little or no change brought about by installation of that sign. For a few minutes though, it’s kind of interesting to watch — if you have absolutely nothing pressing to do. (hh)