Daily News Shocker: Wider 118 Leads to More Speeders

5_1_09_118.jpgEastbound traffic on the widened 118 Freeway in Simi Valley.  Image via Daily News

Earlier this week, Sue Doyle with the Daily News reported that with the expansion of the 188 Freeway, aka the Ronald Reagen Freeway, there has been an unexpected consequence.  Apparently, the wider highway has led to a pandemic of speeding:

"They're going way too fast," said Capt. Cliff Williams, who works out of the CHP office in Moorpark. "There's the potential for not just one accident, but a very serious one."

Since construction ended March 17 on the eastbound lanes, authorities have issued 173 citations for speeding in the area, said Randy Pickens, CHP administrative officer. By comparison, officers averaged just 60 citations in March2007 and March 2008, Pickens said.

Over the past six weeks, motorists have routinely hit speeds of 95 mph, said Steve Marchant, a CHP officer who has patrolled the area for four years. Last Thursday, officers cited a motorist for driving 101 mph. 

Just a reminder that a couple of weeks ago the LADOT and City Council were telling us that the way to decrease speeds on Valley surface streets was to raise the speed limits so the LAPD can try enforcing the speed limit with radar.  While that argument made sense to just about nobody, this new information presents a different picture.  If increasing road capacity causes people to drive faster maybe decreasing capacity in the form of traffic calming, narrower travel lanes or a road diet might have the effect of slowing car traffic down.

In related news, Paul Krekorian's legislation to change the way new speed limits are set on surface streets has been moved to May 11.  Keep checking back here for more updates on the Krekorian.