New speed limits for some Loomis streets

Some area roads going up 5 miles per hour
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Speed limits are going up on some Loomis roads, but don’t count on getting a free ride to drive faster. According to Bob Brodovsky, Placer County Sheriff’s deputy and Loomis traffic officer, the number of tickets issued might even go up. He said the safe speeds might not rise along with the new speed limits. In other words, the speed limit may go up, but the enforcement speed will stay the same. "Maybe I was giving drivers up to 10 or 11 miles over the posted speed limit before giv-ing a ticket. Now, my threshold will go down. It may only be six miles over," Brodovsky said. Brodovsky said he is especially concerned about the new limit on Horseshoe Bar Road that went up from 30 mph to 35 mph. Drivers, he said, perceive they have a "cushion" of 5 mph or 10 mph over the speed limit, which could put drivers at 40 mph to 45 mph in that stretch. "It’s only a perceived cushion. With the increased speed I expect more accidents in that area," Brodovsky said. Brodovsky said he plans to "heavily enforce" the speed limit on Horseshoe Bar Road. The deputy said accident data on that segment of roadway indicates vehicles will lose control at 42 mph. “Some drivers may lose control and some vehicles may be more prone to losing traction and crossing lanes or going off the road,” Brodovsky said. “Remember, the safe speed may be lower than the posted speed limit given the conditions at a given time.” The rise in Loomis speed limits can be attributed to a Caltrans mandate. The state agency requires speed surveys to be conducted by towns and cities every five to 10 years. A speed survey conducted in 2009 for Loomis roads indicated that 85 percent of drivers were traveling faster than the posted speed on some roads. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control, produced by Caltrans, states that if that is the case, then the speed limits must be increased or an officer may not use a radar or lidar gun to issue tickets and/or a judge can throw the ticket out. “The rise in some speed limits is due to the new formula the MUTC mandates. The city is free to set the speed limits as it sees fit, but setting the speed limits lower than the guide-lines can result in a survey being ruled as invalid,” Brodovsky said. Loomis town council members expressed concern at their Nov. 9 meeting about raising the speed limits and discussed consequences of leaving the speed limits as they were, at least on some roads. Brodovsky said the council could choose to leave the limits unchanged, but a judge could dismiss the tickets. After more discussion, the council reluctantly passed the resolution approving the up-dated speeds. Councilman Miguel Ucovich was concerned about raising the speed limit on Webb Street, he said, because numerous pedestrians use it. Since the street has no sidewalks, the speed limit must be raised. Loomis resident Betty Greene said she the current speed limits are fine. “Most drivers shouldn’t go faster. Down on King Road there are lots of little kids,” Greene said. Darlene Bencham, another Loomis resident, said she likes the speed limits the way they are. “This is a small town with windy country roads; there are lots of residential areas. We have too many accidents now,” Bencham said. Brian Fragiao, Loomis public works director, said the new speed limit signs will go up some time in December. ------------------- INCREASED SPEED LIMITS Updated 12/3/2010 Humphrey Road from King to Arcadia, changing from 30 mph to 35 mph; Horseshoe Bar Road from Interstate-80 to the T, 30 mph to 35 mph; Brace Road from Interstate-80 to Laird Rd, 35 mph to 40 mph; Taylor Road from King Road to north town limits, 35 mph to 40 mph; and Rocklin Road from James Drive to Barton Road, 35 mph to 40 mph.