My wife and I live in Pollock Pines, Onyx Trail off of Gold Ridge. We, along with other residents, have long been concerned with the increasing carelessness and speed of vehicles traveling along Gold Ridge which had a posted speed limit of 35 mph, too fast for this residential area in the opinion of many of us, mostly non-residents in a hurry to get to weekend destinations or using Gold Ridge as a shortcut to Sly Park, I surmise. About a month ago I noticed a Department of Transportation truck with a crew changing our signs. Hooray. To my surprise, yikes, the speed limit instead of being reduced, was increased from 35 to 40 mph. So I called the Department of Transportation, along with others, to ask why. Here’s the essence of what I was told:
In order to change a speed limit a traffic study is required and this was made. Moreover, at the location (one of the few places with no curves) where this was done, the average speed was 42 mph — OK, confirms traffic too fast, limit should be lowered in my humble opinion. Imagine my surprise to learn that their policy therefore required them, instead of lowering the limit, to increase it to approximate the speed the prevailing traffic traveled; ergo, the increase to 40 mph. Otherwise, apparently the California Highway Patrol could not enforce the law (as if I’d ever seen enforcement going on in our 13 years here anyway). So now those who use limit signs as base speeds will feel free to go yet faster, and the next study the limit will be raised still more? Further, I was told without the study and new signs the default limit would be 55 mph — gee, the DMV handbook states 25 mph in “Residential Districts unless otherwise posted,” and then there’s the part about safe speed for conditions, but apparently this doesn’t apply to Gold Ridge despite residences all along both sides, despite blind curves, despite school bus stops to which children walk to and from (sometimes in the middle of the road, kids being kids), despite no sidewalks, despite deer and other wildlife hazards, despite folks attempting to back their vehicles out of driveways safely, despite frequent icy conditions, and despite folks like myself who like to run with their dogs, take walks, bicycle and such, in safety. It makes no sense.
D. ALLEN WYLY