The move to form a safety committee started at the Onalaska Town Board’s December 2017 meeting after Brice Prairie resident Jolene Huiss requested the speed limits be lowered on County Hwy Z because she believed motorists drove faster than the posted limits and were endangering bicyclists and pedestrians using the roadway. La Crosse County sets the speed limits on its highways, but any changes in speed limits must first have a study conducted of roadway conditions. To have the study done, the county contracted with engineering and design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. La Crosse Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain presented the results of the study to the town board at its Nov. 13 meeting. At the Brice Prairie safety committee’s Nov. 28 meeting, committee member Huiss voiced concerns about the study being conducted at the end of February and the first part of March.
Time to readjust your driving habits: speed limits in downtown Crozet have changed. The 25-mile-per-hour speed limit zones that used to affect only the Starr Hill/Music Today and Mountainside areas have been expanded into one longer zone, now extending from Oak Drive on Crozet Ave. through the four-way stop to Parkview Drive on Three Notch’d Rd. “This speed limit zone extension was put in place to slow traffic down and improve safety in an area that has increased vehicle traffic and many pedestrian crossings,” explained Will Merritt, Communications Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)’s Culpeper District. “This change was made in the interests of safety due to increased commercial and residential development in this area.” A traffic study was completed in mid-September in response to a citizen request to the Albemarle County Police Department, Merritt explained. After reviewing the results, VDOT determined that a speed limit reduction (from the previous 35 mph) was indeed warranted. The plan was approved and passed on to its traffic engineering section for implementation. Signage was installed in late October, and remains under review. “We did not issue a press release,” Merritt continued. “Typically, new signage is the primary communication we use to inform the public of a new traffic pattern. Drivers should pay attention to the signs and other street markings to keep their speed within legal limits.”
Louisiana legislators at their 2019 fiscal session should increase the state’s 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax, but the odds of that happening are slim to none. Those taxes haven’t been increased since 1989, and that 20 cents is worth only about 7 cents in today’s money. That isn’t the worst of it either. More than 4 cents of the 20 cents is dedicated to pay off the TIMED program until 2045. So, less than 16 cents goes to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. TIMED was a program that funded four-laning of major highways. Gasoline taxes have been raised in 27 states since 2013. Seven of them are in the South. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said those increases are helping reverse losses in gas tax purchasing power caused by rising construction costs and improvements in vehicle efficiency.
In his Nov. 27 column about the voters’ rejection of Proposition 6, Mr. Jim de Bree justifies the rejection in part on the basis that if gas taxes were not increased we would have to fund road construction and maintenance through the use of toll roads, and he give as an example a drive he took from Cincinnati to San Francisco where the tolls increased the travel costs significantly. I found this somewhat strange, and so looked up the routes that one could take from Cincinnati to San Francisco. Interestingly, as all of the routes involve the use of the Interstate highway system (using I-80, best, or I-70 next best), the only toll I found on these routes was the toll on the Bay Bridge on I-80 over San Francisco Bay. Seems like we Californians already have our toll roads.
Denver, CO: Pedestrian Advocacy Group Asks For City’s Help In Making Streets Safer (i.e. Traffic Calming)
WalkDenver wants the city to redesign high speed thoroughfares like 13th Avenue. They have some ideas of what they think will help slow traffic down. “Things like narrowing the overall width of the street, providing regular safe pedestrian crossings and for streets like 13th Avenue looking at possibilities like maybe converting it back from one way to two way,” Locantore said.