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Car Culture

City Council to Vote on Two Speed Limit Raises Tomorrow

1_27_09_sign.jpgLookout valley residents on living on or pedestrians walking along Saticoy Street or White Oak Avenue.  In an effort to better enforce traffic laws, the Los Angeles City Council is voting on an ordinance that will raise speed limits on these streets.  Each road will see the limit increase from 35 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour because the city was lax in enforcing the 35 miles per hour speed limit.

While advocates for faster traffic point out that state law requires a speed limit increase if traffic surveys find that twenty percent of all vehicles in a survey are breaking the limit; this excuse carries little weight after LADOT Assistant General Manager John Fisher told a City Council Committee that even without this law LADOT would want to raise the limit.  The LADOT's support for speeders is flatly stated in the reports on both increases linked to above:

If the current 35 m.p.h. speed limit were to be retained on Saticoy Street between Hayvenhurst Avenue and Woodlake Avenue, then 66 percent of the motorists would be considered as speed violators. In the absence of other factors, this high rate of violators would be unreasonable and would not distinguish occasional violators from the majority of reasonable drivers.

In other words, unless you're violating the law on a regular basis, you don't deserve to get ticketed when you are speeding.  Maybe David Jassy's attorneys should point out that he rarely attacks pedestrians and runs them over with his car.  The majority of the time, he's a perfectly reasonable driver.

Studies have consistently shown that raising speed limits is one of the fastest way to speed up traffic along a local street.  After completing a study on the impact of raising speed limits in 2003, one researcher from the New York Times commented:

''What happens is if you raise the speed limits, people go faster,''said Susan Ferguson, a top researcher at the Insurance Institute, asafety group financed by car insurers. ''It's not that more peoplefollow the law.''

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