Re: Speed on McLane.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

I see that a few (just 11) of the people who live on McLane Road are requesting that speed bumps be put up to interfere with the free flow of traffic.

It would be a mistake. I drive McLane all the time, in fact, every time I am in Payson, and I have yet to see a single person who was driving too fast. And since I am usually on Mclane at the time that the high school is having lunch, and some of the people I see driving are teens, and I don't see them doing anything wrong, I suspect the petition is an over reaction.

I agree entirely with LaRon Garrett (no relation) in his moderate response: Take a look; see what, if anything, needs to be done.

In the 30s, 40's, and 50's in New London the speed limit everywhere was 25 mph. I have never seen a town so clogged with slow moving traffic. Then I joined the Air Force and was stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the speed limit was 30 throughout town. The difference was great. The traffic moved smoothly, you could get from anywhere to anywhere in no time at all, and you were not having to constantly brake every time you came to a slight downslope.

I returned to New London on leave and was really pleased to see that New London, too, had wisely adopted a speed more fitting to the era of modern, automatic transmission cars--in 1958. A 25 mph speed limit on a wide, well paved, two lane road is a leftover from the age of the horse and buggy and the Model-T Ford.

Payson has enough traffic problems. Without viable alternate routes other than 87 and 260 it will continue to grow in reputation as a town which has passed it prime. McLane is one of those routes. Instead of impeding the flow of through traffic we need to increase the speed limit on McLane and other natural through routes to that which reasonable drivers are now doing, and to add new through routes if possible. I'll tell you frankly, if Colcord, McLane, Manzanita, and a couple of others did not make it possible to avoid 87/260 on busy traffic days I, myself, would prefer to pay the slightly higher price of doing all my shopping in Pine and by mail. And I know others who feel the same way.

Mind you, there are some roads, which are useful through routes, but are now too rough or poorly graded to permit higher speeds. The Manzanita roller-coaster is one of those. The sight distance is too short.

A comment made in the article, "...where people, young and old, male and female, make gestures and rude comments to pedestrians..." leads me to believe that the person making the comment has probably drawn responses from passing drivers by shouting at them. That leads me to suspect that the petition is an over-response from someone with an extreme view of what "good driving" is all about. You can't improve manners by standing on the sidewalk and shouting at drivers.

Again, I believe that LaRon Garrett's moderate response--a look at both the need of residents and the need of Payson in the year 2012--is the correct one, don't you?


Tim Fruth 4 years, 3 months ago

No. Completely disagree. Payson is rural with less then 13000 full-time residents. What does 1 minute get you when it puts others at risk? The people that live on McLane between Payson Parkway and Longhorn have every right to expect a 25 mph zone. It is time to slow down, enjoy life, instead of racing around to save a minute.

If you were to ride your bicycle on the road or even jog, you might understand, otherwise you don't. Once again this is a small rural community and the expectation is that you can ride your bicycle, jog without being at risk. You want to promote a rural community? You sure as heck don't promote a place that you race around in. You want a college? That means bicycles and pedestrians and they sure need to be protected. I know since I run down that road, ride down that road, drive down that road.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago


You really sound like you believe what you are saying. It must have touched a nerve. It troubles me to disagree with you because I respect both your opinon and your view of life, but I must.

I used to ride a bike, every day, five days a week, 16 miles. I did that for four years straight. Altogether, in foreign countries and in my old home town before I became an adult, I rode a bike as my vehicle of preference for a total of 10 or 11 years. I quit when I came back to the United States in 1973. I tried it again when I loved to Pine, hardly more that a hiccup on the map. It was impossible, even on the smallest, most rural back roads. I would undoubtedly have been killed or injured if I had tried it.

Americans do not treat bikes as vehicles. They do not give them the right of way. Riding a bike is a good way to get killed. While I was teaching in Mesa I had four junior high students and two adult friends seriously inured in traffic on bikes, and I had one poor kid crushed under the wheels of a semi.

The bottom line? The people as a whole have spoken. They will NOT treat bikes as vehicles, so bikes are relegated to dead end streets in strictly residential areas, and bike lanes where they are practical. No number of laws will change that. It falls in the same category as riding a horse down a main street. Too risky in 2012, and never to change back to what it was in the 18th century and early 19th century.

I can see your concern, but times change. McLane, once a narrow winding road in a community of 900 people, is now a wide, well paved, main road in a community 17 times that size. It already has bike lanes to accommodate people who do not choose to drive. If someone wants to run, he can do it on the sidewalk or in the bike lane. Twenty-five miles an hour on a main thoroughfare is an imposition on common sense. Any attempt to continue to enforce an obsolete rule is a throwback to days which no longer exist.

The very fact that the majority of people who use McLane are driving at an average of 31 miles an hour shows that there is a need to change the speed limit. The road is not there only for the sake of those who live on it, but for the sake of all who use it--it any way.

As for me, I am a good law-abiding driver and always have been. I do not speed, on McLane or anywhere else. Nor do I believe that people are speeding on McLane. Surely if they were I would see them. Payson has a choice: Progress or die on the vine. It is already close to the latter because of foolhardy foot dragging over a bypass which should have been built 15 years ago.

Payson has the misfortune to be located on the junction of two "main" state roads on a state where, because 50% of the state belongs to the feds, road building proceeds at a snail's pace, leaving trails that once ran through rural communities as main arteries that are far too narrow to adequately handle the traffic.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

I thought all streets in Payson were 25 mph except Vista and the road up to the airport from Mclane that are 35 mph. If one street is changed then everyone will start trying to change thiers and no one will know how fast or slow they can drive. Where except in Payson Pines is McLane a wide, well paved, main rd? I travel on it every day, but not during lunch hour by the HS. They never stop when coming out of the parking lots and drive like idiots north to get to Rumsey Park to make out and use thier drugs.
If bicycles are going to use the streets and highways they should be registered and pay for license plates like all the other vehicles. My husband bought an off road 4 wheeler. He had it made street legal, so he could drive to the forest. so then had to have lights, and mirrors put on it, register it like a car and buy a license plate. Then he had to buy a sticker from MVD to drive it off road. That money goes to Game and Fish. What a wonderful world we live in. How do we know when we are legal or not?


robert young 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm with Tim on this one. "The very fact" that motorists are averaging 31 on McLane doesn't tell me that the speed should be changed. It tells me that it should be enforced. If everybody speeds up 87 at 50, should we then change the limit on 87, too? Or should the Payson police ticket the speeders? There is a posted speed limit on McLane and drivers should observe it. I also ride a bike and run along that road. It has several twists, turns and hills that limit the vision of drivers. There also is no sidewalk on one side of the road, and often there are garbage or recycling bins sitting in the roadway on that side. It is not unreasonable to ask drivers to observe the limit. I'd hate to see speed bumps installed but cracking down on speeders along that road makes perfect sense. As for teenagers driving like idiots to get to the park "to make out and use thier (sic) drugs," I live near the park and while I see teenagers there all the time, especially around the skate park, I've never once seen any of them using drugs. Frankly, that sort of generalization really pisses me off.


robert young 4 years, 3 months ago

One other thought since you brought it up Tom, while it is true that many motorists refuse to respect people on bicycles, I'm not giving up my right to ride one and neither should anyone else. There are many parts of the country where cyclists and drivers co-exist just fine. Tim is exactly right about the college campus coming here (if that ever happens). There are going to be students and faculty riding bikes all over this town. There are going to be more pedestrians as well. Drivers don't get to run them down just because they feel inconvenienced. If cyclists don't observe the rules of the road, ticket them. And if drivers don't observe the rules of the road, ticket them.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago


I'm a reasonable guy. I face the fact that this is 2012, not 1932 when I popped out of the hatch.

As much as I loved riding my bike I quit doing it because I could see that the American people as a whole were making a statement by the way they drove. What was that statement? At the time, I would have said it was this: This is 1983, not 1883. Free flowing roads, roads without obstructions, are necessary to the normal functioning of a nation based on efficient transportation. The bikes, trikes, scooters, and kids on roller skates that slowed down traffic in the 30's and 40's have no place in a modern world. Too bad, but true.

Do I agree with that? Yes, but I wish I didn't have to. Would I be willing to give up a little of the road for others while driving? You bet!! Do I? Of course, but I'm 80 years old, a relic of the past. Am I wise enough to know that not all changes are going to make me happy? With the usual protest of the elderly that the world is being ruined, yes.

Life is what it is. People are what they are. One man, one vote. It's the only principle under which a democratic society can function. I got my vote. It didn't turn the clock back. Too bad.

With that in mind, I'll answer your questions as best I can.

"If everybody speeds up 87 at 50, should we then change the limit on 87, too?

Yes. "Everybody" is the people. It's their world, not mine. The nation belongs to them, not to me.

"There also is no sidewalk on one side of the road, and often there are garbage or recycling bins sitting in the roadway on that side."

That's not a question, but I'll respond to it. It is illegal to place a trash can in the right of way. Anyone who does it should be severely fined. If ever there was something that is dangerous, that's it. It's a great way to get some poor guy on a bike killed as he quite legally maneuvers into the roadway to avoid it.

"There are many parts of the country where cyclists and drivers co-exist just fine."

That's not a question either, but I'd sure like to know where they are (and that's not a challenge to prove what you say, by the way). It would be interesting to see why people would be different in those places. (No need to respond.)


robert young 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom, we live in a representative system. The people, through their representatives, are determining lawful, safe speed limits. So, yes, if someone is driving above the posted limit they ARE doing something wrong. They're violating the law. Do I believe there is over-regulation in our country? Absolutely. Too much government? Absolutely. The answer is to vote for those who would limit regulation, not to ignore laws or regulations with which we don't happen to agree.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago


You know what's great about all this? Fundamentally, we see eye to eye. As much as I want to see the laws written in accord with the wishes of the people, I am adamantly opposed to people ignoring the law or feeling that they are above it. Therefore, I obey the law myself and make use of my vote (and an occasional polite letter) in hope of helping to get things the way they "should" be. So, I'm happy to say that you just summed up my position as you were summing up your own.

"The answer is to vote for those who would limit regulation, not to ignore laws or regulations with which we don't happen to agree."

Good thinking. Right on target. Thanks!


robert young 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom, For starters, cyclists are treated very well in Portland, Oregon. My son lives there and rides about town regularly. That's not to say there aren't accidents, but drivers are generally respectful of cyclists and are comfortable sharing the road with them. Another place I've found to be bike friendly is Colorado. There have been some issues in the Boulder area, where a lot of professional cyclists live and train but by and large the people there and throughout the state are very welcoming to cyclists. That's why a couple of the most popular cycling "tours," Bicycle Tour of Colorado and Ride of the Rockies, are sold out there every year. Even Tucson, where traffic is an absolute nightmare, is far more bike friendly than the Valley. I should add that I have found the vast majority of drivers in Payson to be very bike friendly. There are always a few knuckleheads, but I find that drivers sometimes go TOO far out of their way to give me room on the road, even crossing the middle line when giving 3-5 feet of clearance is plenty for a cyclist.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Young, Sorry if I upset you about the kids and park. I have been there numerous times when there were 10 to 20 kids doing exactly what I said. I haven't been out there this year. Maybe they have found a different place.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Robert. I appreciate the information. It may very well be that my attitude about drivers has been molded since I came here to Arizona.

I rode a bike so much in Japan in the 1950's that my car battery went dead once. I did not ride in Pakistan or India. No laws. Too many people killed. I saw six people die in vehicle/bike confrontations. In California? Not a chance! In Utah, Ohio, and Missouri I only rode on the base; in England, all the time. I left England in 1973, went to school in a small college town in Louisiana where I regularly rode my bikes (I had two, a beautiful Raleigh rear hub three speed, and a Peugeot ten speed), but only in the neighborhood, and just for a little relaxation and exercise. The university was far across town and so was all the shopping.

When I left there I went to Port Arthur, Texas, a town of about 50,000. All side roads there had no shoulders, none at all, just deep drainage ditches on either side to carry off the torrential rains. Most of the roads were very high crowned, so much so that it was irritating to drive on them and no one in his right mind would have ridden a bike on one--no place to go if someone crowded you.

Then I came to Arizona, lived in Phoenix for four years and worked in Mesa. I would not have taken my bikes out on the roads in Phoenix if you pointed a gun at me. It is the road rage captal of the world. After we moved to Mesa I found the same attitude and regularly advised my students to stay off bikes because so many of them were hurt riding them (at least six that I knew of). In fact, one poor kid was killed just two hundred yards from the school.

And up here? I find the drivers no better than they were in the Valley, although many of them may be the SAME drivers. Who knows? My weekly drive from Pine to Payson is a test of patience and of my ability to stay out of the nut case confrontations I watch each week. I have no explanation for why that is so, but I'll bet anyone reading this knows what I mean.

I often think of the fact that I almost went to college and settled down in Eugene, Oregon. It was a close thing. I wanted to settle here and so went to a good (but affordable) school elsewhere. Then Port Arthur made me an offer I could not turn down because it was twice what i could get elsewhere, as shown by the fact that I took a $20,000 a year cut in pay to come here after Lolly and I and the kids were established.

Could all that have affected my beliefs?

I'd be inhuman if it hadn't.

I'd still like to see the speed limit on any road that calls for it raised to something that aids the flow of traffic without becoming dangerous.

The question is of course: Define "calls for it."

By the way, you just won a prize: The first time I remember Pat apologizing for something where she felt she was right. :-)


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

I enjoyed reading Larry Kibiloski's letter to the editor on this subject ("Mclane Residents Appeal To Council To Slow Traffic").

It was straightforward and well written. It was cool and logical, though well argued. And it added helpful information we did not have before.

One thing Larry said certainly made a LOT of sense. Speed humps are a terrible answer to problems of any kind. My experience as someone who does not speed is that they punish the exact people they are supposed to help. As far as I can see they nothing more than a "do something to shut them up" or "we aren't going to do anything about this, but let's look like we are" kind of solution.

I won't say any more because there is so much new information to think about, and so much information we obviously do not yet have (in terms of data collection) that there is nothing sensible I can think of to say.


don evans 4 years, 3 months ago

I'll bite on this one. Proffer my personal opinion. I think SOME of the local bicycle riders and joggers are just plain psycho. They are riding on fairly high traffic roads (by Payson standards) that are not wide enough to accomodate them and cars going both directions. On some of the improved streets (very few) they have incorporated a bike path lane. That seems to work well. In Payson, rideing and joging at night without a light, blinking light, or reflective vest observable from the rear, is just asking for a tragedy. I have seen traveling camper bicycleist riding up or down Hwy 87 between Payson and Pine. Idiots in my opinion. Cyclists riding 3 abrest out into the motor vehicle traffic lane, nuts and rude. And my personal favorite, blocking off or limiting major roadways and residential streets so someone can run in a save the whales cause, while they totaly inconvienience everyone else needing to go somewhere. Run a marathon through the forest paths, desert dirt roads, the Payson event Center Property. Or, use a school field running track.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

Tom, I was only sorry I upset him with the truth, not what I said. Some people can't take the truth. I put opinions on here but I say when it is an opinion. What I said about the park and the kids at noon is true !


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

"Cyclists riding 3 abrest out into the motor vehicle traffic lane, nuts and rude."

Breaking the law too, aren't they Don? Aren't bikes banned from riding abreast? Motor cycles are (or used to be).

--Funny one. When I first typed that, I typed: "...riding a breast?"

--Since the spell checker didn't catch it I almost missed it. Maybe that's too bad. I can just see what some of you troublemakers might have said. :-)

I agree with you on the "run-for" thing. I would say that the very best place to do that would be on a school track. Safer, easier to run, stands for supporters to sit in and applaud or give support, a single place for medical people to locate if needed, plenty of space for support materials like water and so on. It would become much more of a community thing that way, would involve the school in something of importance, and most likely get better media coverage. That's a lot of win-win stuff.

As for cyclists on 87, I think it about time for the state to make up its mind whether or not it is going to do one of two things: Either altogether ban cycling on such obviously Idangerous roads or take steps to make the roads safe for it. A while back, sometime over a year ago, we had a string on bike safety. I went out on a national search to see what I could add to the discussion. It is one of only two or three times that I decided not to put up a lot of what I found. Too gory.

I'll just cite a couple of numbers--strictly from memory, but I guarantee you that they are accurate. First of all, there is the astounding fact that emergency rooms treat more than 500,000 people every year for bike accidents. That's a bigger number than I have ever seen for anything else. When I saw it I knew right off that there was no use going any deeper into it because I would not post the types of injuries. There were more than 44,000 bicyclists injured or killed every year as of 2006 (data since then was hard to find; I do not know why). And get this: Deaths among younger bicyclists (below age 16) have dropped by 84% since 1975, but at the same time deaths among the over 16 group have doubled.

And the statistic that floored me was this one: One quarter of all bicyclists killed are riding with blood alcohol concentrations high enough to be cited for DUI if driving.

What does that tell you about some of those "crazy bicyclists" we all see at night?

Pat, you have no need to apologize for something you observed.

It has occurred to me that ever since the start of this string we have been using the generic term "people" for those who are making life hard for some McLane residents. Just a question: Should we have been saying "high school kids?" Are they a major portion of the problem?


Kim Chittick 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't know who is any portion of the problem, however, I would be stunned and, not to say quite annoyed if the town were to install speed bumps on McLane. Since McLane Road is actually a thruway, I would certainly not vote for speed bumps to be installed. However, I would go along with more strenuous enforcement.


Pat Randall 4 years, 3 months ago

Maybe someone should stand out on McLane and watch the drivers. High school kids would be on it before school, lunch time, and after school. That leaves quite a few hours for the old folks to speed down the road. Think about it.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

"However, I would go along with more strenuous enforcement."

"High school kids would be on it before school, lunch time, and after school."

I just did the logical thing. I went to the map and saw what part of McLane Road the complaint is about. I should have done it in the first place. It says everything. What's really wrong, what the complaint is, and how it should be fixed. Frankly, I'm irritated that I got led down the garden path on this. I had no idea where the "problem" was located. It was not in the original article and I overlooked it in the letter.

According to the people doing the complaining, the problem lies "between Payson Parkway and Overland."

You know where that is, for crying out loud!! That is just a single block 500 foot long block of eight mile long, 22 minute drive, McLane. It is located exactly one block off Longhorn, and therefore just one block from the high school.


The "problem" and the solution in the next post.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

The problem? High school kids doing what high schools kids do.

I'm willing to be that the problem isn't speeding as much as it's noisy cars and kids, lots of them, and three times a day.

I should have known. Down in Mesa we had this problem periodically. We'd address it, it would go away, time would pass and another bunch of kids would enter high school and it would arise again, we'd address it, it would go away....

It's the nature of the beast.

The solution? It sure as hell isn't to inconvenience everyone in the Rim Country for a spat between some high school kids and 19 out of 14,000 residents.

Speed humps! Phooey! Worst solution in the world. It would turn a useful through road into a parking lot. That might be nice for the 19 people who park there, but not for the rest of the 18,000 plus people who live or shop in Payson. A totally unacceptable solution. I'm not worried about it, though. LaRon Garrrett (no relation) always seems to deal with traffic problems in sensible way. I'm sure he'll do it again.

Drivers giving residents the finger? Solution: Don't hell at the kids and they won't give you the finger. Yelling at them is just a way to get them to do things to make you more angry.

The solution? High school kids and people in some residential area having a face-off? Get the school to talk to the kids. That's what we did down in Mesa where we had four times as many school kids as we have residents in all of Payson. It worked. It'll work here. It won't work forever because the kids will graduate and be replaced by a new group, and the school will have to talk to them, just as it had to talk to the last bunch. The problem will never entirely go away, but within reason the school can handle it.

But the residents have to do their part too. They have to face the fact that Payson is growing, that they bought on a through road, and within a block of another through road, and that with a growing population and main roads that are clogged they are going to see more traffic every day. They have to face the fact that they live within a block of the largest school in town, close to the public library, and near a public park, and they are going to forever have to deal with that. They have to face the fact that kids drive older, noisier cars, and so can be a bit of a nuisance, but there is no way to change that. And they have to face the fact that if they do provocative things like yelling at drivers they are going to provoke a response.

Next time I'll do my homework on a problem like this before I say anything.

Sorry folks.


robert young 4 years, 3 months ago

Don and Tom, Cyclists riding three abreast - riding three breasts - would be illegal if they are blocking traffic. Even two riders side-by-side is illegal if it blocks traffic. A lot of cyclists can ride side-by-side in a bike lane, but if they know what they're doing and there is traffic or a narrow bike lane, they will say "single out," and form what is called a "pace line" - single file. The law says that riders must ride "as far right as practicable," not possible. So if there is an obstruction such as a parked car or a trash can or debris in the bike lane, they may "take the lane" after signalling that they're going to do so. But they should return to the bike lane as soon as possible. If there isn't a bike lane, cars still must allow 3-feet of space for cyclists. Despite what you say Don about narrow roads, there is almost always 3-5 feet for a bike with plenty of room for a car. Go measure one of those lanes and then put the tape on your vehicle. It may seem like a tight fit visually, but there's almost always enough room. Now, as for those running events. Try running 26.2 miles on a track and then get back to me after you've been released from the place with padded rooms. Event organizers pay for traffic control and purchase permits to use roadways in almost all of those, which generates revenue for towns, counties, etc. They also typically are raising money for some worthwhile cause. So rather than worry about how you're going to get across town, why not sign up and run/walk/ride? By the way Tom, you might be right about how it might just be getting too dangerous to ride, even in a bike lane. Don't know if you followed the story of the doctor who was hit from behind in Fountain Hills recently and fatally injured. He wasn't, as the headline in the newspaper described, a surgeon. In fact, he was a neurologist and researcher who was reportedly honing in on a new treatment for Alzheimer's. He was run down by some twerp heading to Target, who internally claimed he had found his truck in a new spot in the parking lot, but eventually admitted he hit "something." I'm sure the detectives reminded him that there are surveillance cameras that would tell them rather quickly if his first story was true. At any rate, a very sad deal, and in an area that is regarded as very bicycle friendly. I have ridden up the hill he was hit on many, many times and never felt endangered. It's a wide bike lane with two, and in some stretches, three lanes for cars. I'm betting he was texting or trying to dial a cellphone and drifted into the bike lane.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Robert. I quit biking right after I came here to Arizona, but I planned to get out my bikes after I moved up here and retired. IIn the meantime I didn't bother to check the laws, so I really do not know Arizona biking laws, but they sound very sensible, just what you would expect.

I forgot to mention one place I biked, but not long distances, just a mile or two in the neighborhood. That was in Louisiana. Had to have a tag on the bike. They said it was to cut down on theft. It didn't cost much. Maybe it was a good idea.

As to the doctor who was hit, I hadn't heard about it. What a shame! There's plenty of room on the road for bikes and cars, but it takes a little education for drivers to make the roads safe. And, of course, a little common sense on the part of the cyclist. Kids...? Well, kids are kids and make mistakes, but mostly because they don't know any better.

I do not doubt for one minute that the driver who hit someone in a bike lane was like so many of them I see on 87 between Pine and Payson. In fact, I saw something just this morning that really made me think. On the way down you are right next to a fair deep canyon, deep enough to kill you if you make an effort to drive into it. As I was going around one of the many turns and coming up on a relatively straight stretch I saw brake makes in the road. They pulled to the right and they stopped just three feet from the edge of a steep drop off. So how did that happen? Couldn't have been an animal. It's a part of the road with high ground off to the left and a canyon to the right. My guess? Another one of the people I see drifting all over the road every time I drive it. I would say that every other time I drive the road I see at least one person who drifts complete out of his lane with all four wheels.

Good lord! How can you do that?

As for cell phones. It should be illegal to use one in a moving vehicle. It probably would be if the phone lobby wasn't more interested in making money than saving lives. And as for AZLEG....


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