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City seeks ways to slow speeders

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Northeast Rochester neighborhoods could soon be home to new speed limit signs and a traveling speed radar display, part of an unorthodox attempt to slow down speeders.

The Rochester City Council on Monday gave its consent to a request from Council Member Mark Hickey to add new permanent speed signs and purchase a mobile radar speed sign.


The permanent signs will be installed in the city’s Ward 5, Hickey’s ward, which is generally located in north and northeast Rochester.

Hickey’s request called for installing one new speed limit sign every two months. Each sign would be accompanied for two months by a post-mounted, solar-powered speed sign that displays the speed of passing cars. The radar sign would move to accompany each newly installed speed limit sign.

A similar radar display and speed sign was installed on Viola Road Northeast/14th Street Northeast at its intersection with 11th Avenue Northeast, indicating a change from 45 miles-per-hour to 30.

“I drive that route almost every day, and I can tell you that compliance is very high. People really do slow down to 30,” Hickey said.

The cost to install a standard street sign is $150, and the radar speed sign would cost about $7,000, according to city staff.

The $7,900 for six signs and a radar sign was relatively low, the council agreed, but other council members were less convinced that drivers would respond to more signs.

“The problem I have with the proposal is that signs have proven to be effective for very short periods of time, based on the science that I found,” Council Member Nick Campion said.

City Traffic Engineer George Calebaugh said the city studied the average speed change of drivers at the Viola Road intersection cited by Hickey. There was an observable decrease in average speed of 2 to 3 miles per hour, Calebaugh said.

Calebaugh also said the speed reduction would likely disappear after the speed sign was relocated.

Hickey still favored implementing the signs and letting neighborhood feedback determine whether the new plan was effective or not.

“The worst-case scenario is we’ve planted half a dozen permanent signs and we can also plant that radar speed sign at a permanent location,” he said.

The council gave its unanimous consent and direction to staff to pursue posting signs at locations in Ward 5 that Hickey would recommend.

“I think it’s a test case, and I think we owe it to our constituents to see what the outcome would be,” Council Member Sandra Means said.

Courtesy : Andrew Setterholm

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