A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Speeds topped 100 mph on N. Albany Road

Written April 28th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

It’s 3:44 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, and we’re looking uphill on North Albany Road from Quarry Road. I didn’t see anyone speeding.

According to the Albany Police Department’s speed trailer, North Albany Road near Quarry Road was a sometime speedway during the last week of July 2023.

From July 25 through the 31st of that month, the trailer stationed at Quarry Road recorded 33 vehicles on North Albany going at speeds from 81 to more than 100 miles per hour.

That is what a table of readings from the trailer shows. Albany Police Chief Marcia Harnden sent it to me in an email exchange that started with me asking her about something she had told the city council.

Last December the council authorized the police to contract with Verra Mobility, a worldwide firm, for more red-light cameras and the city’s first photo-radar cameras at four intersections. One of the locations is the signal on North Albany at Thornton Lake Drive, south of Quarry Road.

In talking with the council about this, the chief on two occasions said the police had clocked someone driving 134 miles an hour on North Albany Road.

That seemed to me like an incredible speed to reach even on the downhill section of North Albany from the roundabout to Quarry Road, which is about 1,100 feet long. I asked the chief about it.

“I (stand) corrected on the speed,” Harnden told me. “It was 124 miles an hour. We did contact the driver and I’ve included a snapshot of some of the speeds that we took during our gathering of data for the placement of that camera. As you can see the approach and the departure speeds can be quite high even when school is not in session.  This was one of the main reasons that we decided to put a camera for photo enforcement at that location.”
The 124 mph reading was recorded at 1:51 p.m. on Saturday, July 29. The vehicle’s speed was the same approaching the trailer as driving away from it.
Harnden passed along comments from the staff member who manages the speed trailer: “It was a black Mazda that was headed south. The trailer was at North Albany Road and Quarry. I do not recall who the driver was and what the outcome was after talking with him.”
No, the driver was not cited. The trailer is not certified as a source for speeding tickets. Tickets can be issued only based on radar operated  by an officer or based on images taken by certified cameras and reviewed by an officer.
All the other readings on the snapshot provided by Harnden for that period last July were between 81 and 103 mph and covered pretty much all hours of the day. Most of them were from vehicles going away from the speed trailer which, like your mother, evidently has eyes in the back of its head.
So what about the new red-light and photo radar units the city wants Verra Mobility to install?
As of last week, the chief had not received the contract to sign. “So we are in a standby until that is done.” (hh)

28 responses to “Speeds topped 100 mph on N. Albany Road”

  1. Richard S. says:

    High speeds NOT surprising!!
    Think NA Road is bad? You take your life in your hands on eastbound Gibson Hill coming down to the traffic circle. Evidence is easily visible at the circle when looking at run over signs, tire marks over raised islands and signs, etc.

    Our family has twice been forced up on to circle’s center curb, damaging tires and wheels, in avoiding wrecks from vehicles speeding thru the circle. Relying on them to yield as required by law is pointless…many never even slow down or yield!

    Where is the Albany Police Dept. and traffic enforcement? Not anywhere in that area (or seldom in North Albany at all.) We have NEVER seen a police car monitoring the speeds on Gibson Hill, or NA Road near the circle. Does the Albany Police Dept. even know that North Albany exists? Phone calls to the Police Dept. are pointless…lip service, but no visible action! Do they realize that a large portion of the tax base comes out of NA? It would be nice to see a bit more come out of it!

  2. David Taghon says:

    I’ve raced most of my life and find it pretty difficult to believe any Mazda reached 124mph in 1100′ on that stretch of road.

    • Josh Mason says:

      Let alone driving that incredible speed at around one in the afternoon. Highly doubtful for sure. There would most certainly be other vehicles on the road and in the way of the super speeder at that time.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Nope, unless the car was an RX7 or 8, no other Mazda possesses a capacity of 124 max speed mph over 1,000 feet.

  4. M Webster says:

    Would love to see more speed data gathering/enforcement on Knox Butte Rd too!! SO many drivers, once they pass the light at the corner of Knox Butte and Timber St hit the gas and seriously exceed the speed limit. It has gotten exponentially worse since the opening of all the apartments and new subdivisions. Sure wish the city would look into reducing the speed limit on this stretch to the roundabout considering it has become much more residential over the past few years.

  5. Jacob Dent says:

    Topping 120 in under quarter mile?? Thats almost ridiculous.

    • Tim says:

      If they came out of the roundabout at 30mph, they could hit 124mph in the 1/4 mile down a steep hill. Most unmodified Mazdas can easily hit 90 mph+ in a 1/4 mile. If it was an RX8/7, or one of the really strong turbo cars that Mazda has, 124 would not be a problem. If modified, it would be even easier. In any case a few people definitely go way too fast on North Albany road.

      • Speed Racer Lawyer says:

        You do know that cars from factory are limited to 112, right?

        • Mac says:

          That is not correct.

        • RA says:

          Not that I have tested it out but Mazda states that the top speed of my SUV is a mere 130 mph, most European performance SUVs are limited to 155 mph. Not sure where you got your 112 mph fiction from but it definitely wasn’t from doing any research.

  6. Tim says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. There are MANY people who race up North Albany Rd, then down Gibson Hill, and either rip across Crocker or Scenic to Valley View. They’re all long, straight(ish) roads and there is almost never any law enforcement around. You can hear people doing it all day and night (they think noisy exhausts make their cars faster). From up on the hills, you can actually watch people who live in the big subdivision south of Valley View get in their cars and do it. I bet many folks come out to the area to do it too.

  7. Chance says:

    That’s ridiculous. There’s ZERO need to be doing that fast in that part of town. If that Mazda owner wants to put his life on the line then so be it. But do it in a deserted road or racetrack. There are walkers, bikers, kids in that area. I have family in that area. Ridiculous they couldnt cite him. What’s the point of putting the camera there if just to research? I hope they catch his stupidity on a legal camera and throw the book at him.

  8. Mike L says:

    Spring Hill Drive is THE 100+ MPH speedway—-whether it’s motorists coming from the north into the neighborhood or flooring it before Country Club lane when headed out into the country—drivers have out of control speeds on that section of residential Spring Hill.

  9. Mac says:

    People who live on Quarry are really going to like the added traffic from everyone taking Spring Hill to Quarry to avoid the cameras..

  10. Bill Kapaun says:

    Where does the Police Chief get the authority to sign outside contracts? Isn’t that a City Manager or some type of bidding process? If any dept. head can just start buying stuff, we’re in big trouble. We OBVIOUSLY NEED AN AUDIT!

    • Hasso Hering says:

      The city council authorized the police chief to enter into a no-bid contract with Verra Mobility, the company that already operates cameras at Queen and Geary, in December.

      • Shane Dickson says:

        Verra Mobility, The same company in litigation over a whistleblower saying they are overcharging cities and states, this after they took over Redflex whose CEO’s and head execs have been charged criminally with Coercing city officials for contracts. I wish someone on the city council would have done some detective work, these companies are no good for Oregon, the county or the city, all they will do is drain the accounts of locals with less than 20% kickback to the cities. Its a farce, so are all these “sales” aimed at safety when truth be told, these cameras have been proven to cause more accidents (especially with elderly) at the intersections they are installed on. Lets stop kissing city councils ass and start questioning the decision making, this is absurd and will drain Albany and its senior citizens of income they don’t have.

  11. MOB says:

    I asked APD to come watch Crocker last Saturday. They have no traffic unit and every single squad was occupied. Crocker is 10x worse than NAR. No question. I’m not too sure about Scenic north of Gibson but I been blown out of the water by cars passing within 1/8th mile of the intersection.

  12. Karen McSpeedy says:

    I live my life 1/4 mile at a time.

    -Karen the CX-5 terror

  13. Jeanine says:

    I live on N Albany Rd and can attest to these speeds. Not only have I seen it, I can hear engines revving at high speeds, particularly on weekend nights. It almost seems as if it’s becoming a race track for some.
    In the morning, just to exit my driveway onto N Albany RD requires assertiveness and patience dealing with the commuters flying down the hill from the roundabout.
    I have teenage drivers in my home and have had to teach them how to deal with these “experienced” drivers speeding to get their kids to school and themselves to work.

  14. Craig says:

    Wow, this does not justify a speed or red light camera at all. If this is true, I demand an on duty police officer to stop the reckless driving before someone gets hurt or killed. Before we put our moneys behind Albany Police Chief Marcia, let’s station a real police officer for a week on NA road.

    The return on investment should pay for itself according to the Police Chief. So how about Chief Marcia, put your monies into the problem first. Is this about money or safety? I have some doubts.

  15. Bill Kapaun says:

    “No, the driver was not cited. The trailer is not certified as a source for speeding tickets. Tickets can be issued only based on radar operated by an officer or based on images taken by certified cameras and reviewed by an officer.”

    You’d think that would still be evidence for reckless driving?

  16. L says:

    Its disturbing more folks are worried about whether or not its possible to even reach that speed more than how someone was speeding in the first place. I wish the police would have more presence, especially when it comes to speeding and red-light runners. I abhor drivers like that and have lost family and friends to scum drivers who ignore the road laws. I hope drivers like that get what is coming to them without having to hurt others first.

  17. robert amble says:



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