No bumps for Ranchos streets

Speed bumps are not the answer to the speeding problem in the Ranchos, residents and members of the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District agreed.

Board members invited residents to come up with alternate traffic calming measures to address what some feel is a speeding problem on their streets. Posted speed limit and "Slow, Children at Play" signs and painted pavement markings were proposed as solutions to help slow traffic.

A traffic study was conducted in October by District Engineer Randall Long in response to a petition from about 60 Ranchos residents of Ann and Manhattan ways who felt something should be done about speeders on those streets.

In the results of the study presented in December's district meeting, Long said the criteria didn't warrant traffic calming measures on either of the two streets studied. Ann Way didn't meet the street length criteria but was included with Manhattan Way in the study.

"Both streets do not comply with the requirement that a minimum 85th percentile speed be 32 mph or 7 mph above the posted speed limit of 25 mph. Pursuant to the district's traffic calming criteria found in the manual, both streets do not warrant traffic calming devices," the engineer's report said.

Residents pressed board members to review the speeding problem. Member Bill Barnum invited concerned citizens to return with suggestions at the Feb. 1 meeting.

"We're not advocating speed bumps," said Manhattan Way resident Harold Jones. "The Ranchos is a shortcut and a speedway. Somebody is going to get killed, hurt or wrecked. The so-called squeaky wheel is what we are. I'm saying we need something."

Speed bumps were thrown out as a viable solution to speeding problems because of the installation expense and in consideration of emergency vehicles that have to slow down to 15 mph to get across them. Grooves and dips were found to be unsafe.

"Our policy dictates no speed calming measures but you want signs," said District Manager Bob Spellberg. "Everybody wants signs but not in their yards."

"Every road in the Ranchos is a speedway for people who aren't responsible," said District Chairperson Beverly Page. "Most of the speeding is in the morning and at night. A sign - is it going to slow somebody down? I don't think so."

Jones noted there are no regulatory signs on Manhattan Way.

"How much would it cost to put a stencil on the road that says '25 mph?'" he said. "We don't even have a 'Slow Child at Play' sign."

The board voted to start with striping and signage on Manhattan Way.

"Your suggestions are feasible - signs, striping," member Cade Baligad said. "We could think in that direction."

The first step in implementing the proposed traffic calming measures is for Spellberg to talk to the painting contractor. He needs to know the best time of year to paint so the stripes will be allowed to dry on the pavement.

"We'll do a double yellow line in the middle of Manhattan and if we can, we'll do a fog line on either side of the road," he said. Fog lines are used in foggy environments to allow drivers see the sides of the road. Painting lines on either side of the road was suggested to give the illusion of a narrower street and to encourage drivers to slow down.

"Then I'll order the signs," said Spellberg. "We already have posts in stock."

Next, he hunts locations to install 25 mph and warning signs along Manhattan Way. Residents can expect to see signage as soon as 15 days, said Spellberg.

Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District meets the first Wednesday of the month in the office at 931 Mitch Dr. Information at 265-2048 and at the district's Web site,


Residents can take the law into their own hands, especially if they're holding a cell phone. One way to take an active part in controlling speeders in neighborhoods is call the sheriff's office to report them.

Sgt. Tom Mezzetta of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said it's important to get the license number, description of the car and driver, if possible, and when and where the speeding occurred.

"If we get a lot of complaints about one car in particular, we'll send a car out to check them out," said Mezzetta.

"If we get enough complaints about a habitual speeder, we're more than happy to contact the driver and hopefully it will help the situation," he said. "Sometimes people respond to a warning rather than a citation. The message seems to stay with them longer."

To report speeders, call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office non-emergency number, 782-9911.


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