All cities base their speed regulations on the Basic Speed Law: “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property” (CVC 22350).
All other speed limits are called “prima facie limits,” which are considered by law to be safe and prudent under normal conditions. Certain prima facie limits are established by State law and include the 25 MPH speed limit in business and residential districts and the 25 MPH in school zones when children are present. All speed limits in excess of 25 miles per hour are established on the basis of an engineering and traffic surveys. Such surveys must include an analysis of roadway conditions, accident records and a sampling of the prevailing speed of traffic.
These special speed zone surveys are required to be updated every seven (7) years to continue the use of radar. A comprehensive update was performed throughout the city in November and December of 2010.
In general, the speed limit of the roadway is set at the nearest five mile per hour interval where eighty-five percent of the vehicles travel at or below the speed, known as the 85th percentile or critical speed. Based on the engineering survey, the speed limit can be adjusted downward depending on the physical characteristic of the road. In order for speeding violations to be enforceable in court, the City must have current speed zone certifications on file at the courthouse.
Changes recommended as a result of the most current surveys include reductions for:
- Bridgehead Road between Main Street and Wilbur Avenue from 45 mph to 40 mph;
- Oakley Road between Empire Avenue and Live Oak Avenue from 45 mph to 35 mph; and
- Vintage parkway between Big Break Road and Main Street from 35 mph to 30 mph.
Speed limit increases include:
- Empire Avenue between Main Street and Laurel Road from 35 mph to 40 mph;
Brown Road between Laurel Road and Carpenter Road from 30 mph to 40 mph; and O’Hara Avenue between Main Street and W.Cypress Road from 25 mph to 30 mph
At Tuesday’s night Council Meeting the Council asked that the adjustments to Brown Road and O’Hara be held for further evaluation.
The recommended speed limits for previously un-surveyed roads are:
- Rose Avenue between Laurel Road and Simoni Ranch Road is recommended at 40 mph;
- Laurel Road between O’Hara Avenue and Main Street is recommended at 40 mph; and
- Simoni Ranch Road between Main Street and Rose Avenue is recommended at 35 mph
All other speed limits remained unchanged.