Speed limit set at 30 mph for safety reasons

  • Sun Apr 18th, 2010 9:37pm
  • News

By Bill Sheets, Herald Columnist

Chris Glass of Everett writes: How do we get the speed limit raised on 41st Street between I-5 and Colby Avenue?

The Everett Police have a heyday writing tickets for people going over what I feel is a speed limit set too low. When I am on this stretch of 41st, most, if not all, drivers are going over the 30 mph speed limit.

Dongho Chang, traffic engineer for Everett, responds: 41st Street has a 30 mph speed limit from South Third Avenue to Mukilteo Boulevard. The stretch of 41st Street from I-5 to Colby was part of the state’s highway system. Roadway construction on 41st Street used a 30 mph limit for the design, which needed approval from the state Department of Transportation. Raising the speed limit higher than what it is designed for is not a good idea.

This short section of 41st Street connects to Colby Avenue to the west and S. Third Avenue to the east, which also has a 30 mph speed limit. There are a number of commercial and medical businesses located on the west side near Colby Avenue. The Interurban Trail also links into Colby and 41st Street. Increasing the speed limit would decrease safety for drivers, businesses and walkers in this busy commercial and medical hub.

I will bring this subject for discussion at a Transportation Advisory Committee meeting. This committee provides citizen advice on transportation issues, such as this speed limit increase request.

The meetings are open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend. Information about this committee and meeting details can be found at http://tinyurl.com/TransportCommittee.

Traffic signal timing

Roy Stillwell of Lake Cassidy writes: How do I get a signal retimed? I ride the bus from Granite Falls in the morning and arrive at the light at Highway 9 and Market Place NE in Lake Stevens about 5:38 a.m. More than once I have missed the connecting bus to Seattle because this light won’t change.

It seems there are sensors on Market Place but not on Highway 9. If the bus is traveling southbound on Highway 9 in the left-turn lane onto Market Place going toward the transit center, and it’s a red light, the light will not change even when no cars are coming northbound on Highway 9. It will cycle through the Market Place traffic even if there are no cars on that street.

Greg Wagner, signals operations engineer for the state Department of Transportation, responds: Our signal timing plan is designed to keep traffic moving on Highway 9, while still allowing drivers to safely make turns onto and off side streets. The signal at Highway 9 and Market Place gives green lights to different directions of traffic based on demand.

The signal follows a specific order: left turns from Highway 9, through traffic on southbound and northbound Highway 9, left turns from Market Place and then through traffic on eastbound and westbound Market Place. If no vehicles are present for one of these directions, the signal will skip past that cycle. If there are no turning vehicles or through traffic on Market Place, the signal will remain green for southbound and northbound Highway 9.

Our signal engineers reviewed the signal at Highway 9 and Market Place in Lake Stevens during a recent morning commute and didn’t see any signs that the signal was malfunctioning. The vehicle detection system was working properly, which means it wasn’t sending “false calls” for a leg of the intersection without any vehicles.

Though we did not see any problems with how the signal is currently operating, our signal engineers modified the timing to cycle through each movement a bit more quickly.

We’re happy to review the signal again or meet Mr. Stillwell in the field if he notices the issue in the future.

E-mail Street Smarts at stsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your city of residence.