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To speed bump or not to bump

by Sharlene Irete

No traffic calming measures are required on Ann and Manhattan ways in the Gardnerville Ranchos, according to a traffic study.

About 60 residents concerned with speeders on their streets signed petitions to request a study be done to see if traffic control was needed. District Engineer Randall Long said at the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District meeting that traffic on those streets complied with district requirements.

“Our criteria doesn’t warrant traffic calming measures,” Long said.

Data was collected and analyzed from Ann and Manhattan ways. Ann Way didn’t meet the street length criteria but was included in the study.

Long said that the cost of a survey and analysis is $1,200.

“There’s a price tag tied to every petition,” said Long. “There’s a monetary impact when people (with petitions) come forward.”

Between Oct. 7 and 17, beams connected to boxes were put on Ann Way and in two locations on Manhattan Way to measure vehicle speed and average daily trips. In his analysis, Long concluded that the average speed was 29 mph for Ann Way, 26 mph on Manhattan and Monarch Lane and 30 mph at Manhattan and Kingston Way.

“Both streets do not comply with the requirement that a minimum 85th percentile speed be 32 mph or 7 mph above the posted speed 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.

“But we need a measure to slow traffic down,” said board member Bill Barnum. “It’s our responsibility on how we’re going to slow it down.”

“The board approved seven types of traffic control measures,” said Long. “If (the streets) meet the criteria, we’d say you need a traffic calming measure. Then you need to know which one you want and the cost.”

The seven types of traffic control measures include warning signs such as “Slow Children at Play,” speed limit signs, speed enforcement by patrol officers, neighborhood speed watch program, pavement striping, speed alert radar detectors and speed humps and dips.

“We do have reserves to do something – signage or some other types of calming measures,” said district manager Bob Spellberg.

Spellberg described a radar speed limit sign that had shown good results in Sparks. The solar-powered device is the size of a regular sign. A light-emitting diode flashes when vehicles go over the speed limit. Each unit costs $8,500.

“It could be tool in the tool box,” said Spellberg. “If we have a good year, as it looks like we will, we might just squeeze one out.”

Harold Jones of Manhattan Way was one of the residents to request a traffic study. He said that he wasn’t advocating speed bumps.

“Maybe if we put 25 mph signs up, but we don’t have any of that, nothing,” Jones said. “It’s a speedway but there ought to be something besides throw-you-up-in-the-air speed bumps.”

Eric Holder from Manhattan and Franklin Lane suggested that the engineer’s survey wasn’t accurate because people might slow down before they came to the tube beams used to collect the vehicle data.

“I don’t want my kid to be that 1 percent that gets hit,” he said.

The board agreed to examine the need for alternative means of traffic calming measures when a full board meets in February.

Barnum addressed the group of residents when he invited them to come to the Feb. 1 district meeting to give suggestions on the subject.

“Come with ideas in February for what you’d like to see,” he said.

Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District meets the first Wednesday of the month in the office at 931 Mitch Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos. The next meeting is Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. Information at 265-2048 and at the district’s web site, grgid.com.