Today's Question: Changing speeds in Columbia

Monday, April 20, 2009 | 12:21 p.m. CDT

Last year, members of the Columbia City Council agreed to pay $10,000 to find out if speed-limit signs actually affect how fast people drive.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe said several people complained to her that drivers were speeding too fast through their neighborhoods, so she brought the concern to the council's attention.

The council decided to research whether changing speed-limit signs from 30 mph to 25 mph would make a difference in the Shepard Boulevard and Rothwell Heights neighborhoods. The study has not yet been finished.

The council's plan is to eventually let individual neighborhoods decide if the speed limit should be changed.

What is the speed limit in your neighborhood and do you think it should be lowered?

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james carr April 20, 2009 | 1:00 p.m.

I actually think that the section of Vandiver between 63 and Paris needs to have the speed limit raised, not reduced. I must take this route on the way to and from work and I cannot even begin to count how many times I've had to fight to stay at the 30mph limit... in fact I always have to put in cruise control to make sure I don't accidentally go over, because the road "feels" more like 40.

And I always either have a cop tailing me each time because they stake the area out for easy tickets, or a frustrated driver behind me honking their horn because they don't realize the speed limit there is so frakking slow.

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Brian Mortensen April 20, 2009 | 2:18 p.m.

And conversely, Providence from Stadium to Southampton NEEDS to be lowered. I am sick of slamming on the brakes at every light from 55+ mph and then accelerating back up again. Plus, with the construction on the northbound side between Nifong and Green Meadows, it's incredibly dangerous to have such a high speed limit. The heavy acceleration/braking increases wear&tear on cars and causes more pollution than a lower speed limit. I realize it's a state highway but it's very silly to have such a high speed limit in a densely developed and congested area.

Same goes for 63 between Conley and Grindstone - totally asinine and unsafe to have a speed limit of 70 with all the traffic getting on/off at those exits.

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Derrick Fogle April 20, 2009 | 2:29 p.m.

I live on West Broadway between Garth and West Blvd. I do not think the speed limit needs to be reduced on this stretch of road, but it certainly shouldn't be increased either. The average speed driven on this stretch of road is close to 40mph.

However, I've done fairly extensive studies concerning the traffic impact of constructing a median along this section of West Broadway, which would cause residents like me to use the side streets (3 right turns) to make a left turn. The two very important things I discovered through my studies are as follows:

1. Even with the increased traffic on these side streets, there would still be an average of less than a single moving car on those roads at any given time during peak traffic periods, even if vehicles adhered to a 20MPH speed limit on those roads.

2. Traveling at 30MPH on streets like Aldeah and Glenwood feels dangerous as hell. I strongly urge the city council to reduce the speed limit on these side streets to 20MPH, especially if the median is constructed along West Broadway.

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Charles Dudley Jr April 20, 2009 | 2:55 p.m.

A couple of sped bumps on Paquin Street would be nice these college kids use it like a race track going from College Ave to Hitt Street and the traffic calmer does not do squat.

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Ray Shapiro April 20, 2009 | 3:42 p.m.

I think that there should be no speed limit signs posted in the town limits. Drivers should learn how to drive based on the conditions at hand. That which is fitting and proper will vary by the time of day and density of traffic, pedestrians and bicycles on the road. Concerned neighborhoods should get the speed bumps, "children at play" signs and a variation of the sharrow for the streets with a lot of kid activity. Except for school and other special zones, speed limit signs do not need to be posted. A suggested speed chart, based on how many lanes and how many traffic lights and stop signs there are, can be developed. I believe drivers will become more aware and careful motorists as a result of this approach. Currently, it seems like the speed limit signs have become "minimum" speed indicators for the average driver. It is the sign that has become the distraction.

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Charles Creswell May 6, 2009 | 2:26 p.m.

Well, for NEV's( Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) can't drive 40 mph because the State of Missouri has manufacturers place a speed limiter to a certian speed. So they can drive in a 35 mph zone but at only 25 mph. It is legal to go under the speed limit- but not over it. But Paris Rd near the Business Loop overpass turns into a 40 mph zone( so no NEV's can be operated on that route) and so Vandiver Drive is the only route that can be taken in a NEV or slow moving vehicle.. Yes they are registered legally as a Missouri vehicle as peoples trucks, cars, ect. Just these vehicles save on emissions and or gasoline. 2 cents per mile. So I would oppose raise the speed limit to 40 mph because a person whom invests $10,000 to $15,000 in a NEV needs access to certian roads too. My friend lives between Paris Rd and Vandiver Drive. Wouldn't that cut me off?

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Ray Shapiro May 6, 2009 | 4:31 p.m.

If a variance was allowed for the very few NEV type vehicles on the road, I'd think your perceived problem would be resolved. (Unless bicycle drivers have any concerns about you competing with them as a slow moving vehicle.)

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Mark Foecking May 6, 2009 | 7:43 p.m.

Charles Creswell wrote:

"Just these vehicles save on emissions and or gasoline. 2 cents per mile."

Does that include depreciation, maintenance, and battery replacement? What type of NEV?

This is what I mean by addiction to effortless personal mobility. A bicycle can do much the same job (for most people, I don't mean for someone old or infirm) as an NEV and uses many fewer resources in its manufacture and operation. It just takes more effort to use it.

Why be more complicated than you need to be? Especially when being complicated (i. e. needing a lot of perhaps limited raw materials, like lithium) means we'll have trouble meeting demand as the world develops.


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Charles Creswell May 8, 2009 | 2:27 a.m.

Well, it does not have to be a NEV but a scooter that does 30 mph. That is not to complex. One step further, a SL-150T-27( reverse trike vehicle). It is the same as the NEV due to it would be registered as a LOW SPEED VEHICLE. Meaning it could only drive on 35 mph roads. It can do 37 mph top speed. It cost $3000, gets 90 mpg,( mpg is a direct link to CO2 emissions). So if you drive a car that gets 22 mpg the scooter can travel 4 times the distance on the same fuel used). I ride a 2008 Bali 250cc scooter most of the time getting 70 mpg.. The fastest speed it will do is 78 mph. But sticking to the subject, speedlimits do affect others whom access roads and like I said, it will affect me if the City of Columbia raises certain speedlimit signs. If you want to watch videos to see what the SL-150T-27 can do as climbing hills go to youtube and type in SL-150T-27. The batteries cost about $900 to replace every two years. And things like the motor are pretty costly to replace $500 abouts. These batteries are lead batteries and not gel or lithium batteries. It would still be less expensive to operate a NEV car as opposed to a gasoline car. Especially if you done the maintenance yourself. Draw backs are you would not want to drive through snow and ice. And one more thing, recall 911.. The Arabs hate America.. The Venezula President came over the the USA for a United Nations meeting and said infront of the whole world," It smells like sulfur.. It smells like sulfur.. The Devil was here". I personally would rather ride scooters around as to throw my hard earned money away to countries that dispise us. The World Trade Center meant something too me. We get our oil from China and Canada.

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Mark Foecking May 8, 2009 | 8:42 a.m.

Actually we get our oil from the US, then from Canada, then Venezuela, then Mexico, then Saudi Arabia, then Africa (Nigeria and Angola primarily). But I digress...

There is an engine size (50cc?) below which scooters are not considered licensable vehicles, and some of those will do 30+ MPH. Choosing a vehicle that does not have to be licensed means you can use any road.


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Charles Creswell May 8, 2009 | 3:41 p.m.

Well as I recall, President Bush had the reserves closed to us, in case of an emergency and if troops needed it. That Congress said," Mr Bush, please open the reserves" as gas hit $4.50 per gallon in some States. About China- did we not borrow from them and other countries too? Does not China make uniforms for our troops? We know China is in the scooter business. Does China sells goods through Walmart and Dollar General too? Is not China a rising power in the global community? Even makes electric cars. Yes, shipped to America. Gas was gotten through China too. And it is a fact that these oil countries hate America. Now back to slow moving vehicles- whether a person buying a NEV or scooter trike to save on gas, the main thing is that there is no other 30 mph road to access across from Paris Rd.. And yes, I agree, about 3% would buy an electric vehicle. Why? Gas is down to under $2( people forget about $3.99 gas prices)but what if in 2 years gas prices reach $7 per gallon. I will be able to drive a scoot trike 270 miles per tank, fill it for $21, while a person in the average car( say 15 gallon tank, $7 per gallon= $105 in a fillup and say one gets 22 mpg= 330 miles per fillup. So it is logical to want something with great gas milage and to access city roads. The scoot trike has a 3 gallon gas tank. Yes the scoot trike is a more a recreational vehicle( toy) verses a real solution to problems we face. But street legal in 49 States and is definately a gas saver in times of energy crunches. It is a matter of time, before we see gas prices soar out of control. I will be prepered for it.

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Mark Foecking May 9, 2009 | 3:05 a.m.

I think Bush was wise not to use the SPR to moderate gasoline prices. That's not what it's for. Petroleum has far more important uses than letting people drive oversized vehicles excessive distances.

If low-speed vehicles need access to certain roads, then we need to change the laws. I'd imagine if more people start to get them, there will be more impetus for this change.

Trouble is that few people have ever seen some of these small vehicles. A lot of people have a perception that you need 5000 pounds of steel around you to be safe, while in reality, safety is a lot more in the way you drive and less in what you drive. It'll probably take another gas price spike or two to get this attitude to change.


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Charles Creswell May 17, 2009 | 1:30 a.m.

Ya, Mark, the whole thing is that low speed vehicles do need some access to roads. They are not meant to drive daily but more as away to get to work, the store, the picking up of children from school. Just away to save gasoline as opposed to operating a gas guzzler. 22 mpg I consider pretty poor gas milage. Even 30 mpg is bad at $4 per gallon. Gasoline came down to a low of $1.44 per gallon in Missouri. But it rose slowly to $2.19 per gallon. You are correct, people will have to see $7 per gallon gasoline before really changing their mode of thinking. Even Police Departments were having troubles with high gas prices. About buying oil from China, China gave us the money to purchase oil from the Saudi's). We do in a sense, get everything from China. GM is going to be importing cars from China and Ford may take parts and one car. So this means people in America loosing jobs. We just keep shipping jobs overseas because $2 per hour is better than $40 per hour.

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