Saturday March 8, 2014
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If you haven't read it, go read State Representative Debbie Lesko's letter to all of us in Tuesday's Roundup.
One thing she says is, "I, for one, believe the use of photo radar systems should be based on public safety needs."
Exactly! The one and only purpose for any and all traffic control tools: Public safety needs.
It sickens me to see towns gloating over the revenue rolling in from tourists and travelers who are driving safely but get caught in a speed trap.
Representative Lesko adds, "I have sponsored legislation that will require cities to prove to the Arizona Department of Transportation that there is a public safety justification for placing photo radar on state highways and will require the city to show that public safety was improved as a result of the photo radar when they apply for renewal."
My comment? Good for you!
To contact Representative Lesko, you can dial (602) 926-5413 or e-mail DLesko@azleg.gov.
And yes, as soon as I finish typing this I will send an e-mail in support of her goal of using traffic control tools for public safety purposes. The purpose of any traffic control tool should be to control traffic, make driving safer, and punish only those who are genuinely violating the law.
"punish only those who are genuinely violating the law"? Since those speed cameras are set to activate only after a vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit by 11 mph, then I believe they "punish only those who are genuinely violating the law". This legislation will ultimately eliminate those cameras throughout the state. Local jurisdictions will simply not expend the funds necessary to provide the "statistical studies" that the legislation requires. This legislation is simply a "poison pill" and Ms. Lesko knows it. How does one "prove" that an accident didn't happen due to the presence of speed enforcement cameras? Simply compairing the number of accidents sans cameras to the number with the cameras in place is false data on it's face. The goal of the cameras (other than revenue generation) is to get folks to slow down to the posted speed. They even put up warning signs notifiying drivers they are approaching a "speed enforcement zone" to do this. I see little chance that any "study" will show definitavely the number of accidents prevented by the cameras, nor those "caused" by the cameras absence. It's all a red herring. The moment drivers start obeying the speed limit, the costs of maintaining and operating the cameras will be more than the revenue they are generating and they will go away .
The drivers won't stop speeding but they will pay for it.
I have a relative, hate to admit it, but was caught twice in Star Valley driving 80 MPH.
This person knew the signs and cameras were there. Stupid drivers need to pay a fine.
A big one and if it helps the town. Good.
If they do it a third time give them jail time, and take thier license for a year.
Why give them 11 miles over the speed limit? Either they are speeding or not. 2 MPH over the limit and write out the ticket.
I think you can guess what kind of driver I am. I'm don't creep, but I'm not part of the problem out there. If you go over to Star Valley and look at the cameras you'll soon see that their positioning is not an accident. They are there to make money, not to control traffic. I have read, but have not been to verify it, that Tucson is another place where the same is true. Ever read any of the Star Valley Council meetings in the Roundup? I swear! Those people literally drool over the money they rake in, and they actually groan when they see that tickets are down. An honest comment about a drop in tickets would be to say that the cameras are working. Never heard that. Never will.
You no doubt drive into Pine from Payson regularly, and so you come to the top of the hill where the new paving starts a bit less than a mile from the left turn onto Bradshaw. At the top of that hill you can legally be doing 65 mph (though I don't). I've tried something though. Tried it twice just to see. If you just take your foot off the gas at 65 mph you will be legal by the time you reach the 45 mph sign at the foot of the hill. That is the proper way for traffic changed to be gauged. Warn of a change in speed, and allow enough time for a natural slowdown. In Star Valley the distance is 250 feet to drop to 45 mph. That requires hard braking, is contrary to any reasonable rules of driving, and is in fact dangerous. Try it. You'll have someone who doesn't realize he is driving into a speed trap right on your tail.
I believe that Representative Lesko is doing nothing more than responding to the wails of people who have been wronged. I don't know if you care to do it, but check the national sites about speed traps and you'll be shocked at what people from all over the country have to say about Star Valley. When you read commnets written by obviously honest people who are shocked at having gotten ticketed for the first time in their lives you'll see what I mean.
The whole problem with the photo radar situation is that it is driven by profit. It is not the County that sets up those things; it is a private, for-profit company which convinced legislators to allow it to set the distances far too short. They are a third of what they are in some other states.
Pat, there are always the dumb ones. They deserve what they get. I'm all for it. the reason for the 11 mph over the limit is simple: It's a sneaky way of justifying placing the warning signs and the cameras too close together. Fair is fair. Nail the speed nuts and nail them good, but don't get greedy and start ticketing people who are driving with good common sense.
Just another example of the government steamrolling right over the little guy.
Not sure how you justify "but don't get greedy and start ticketing people who are driving with good common sense." When exceeding the posted speed limit by 11 mph is viewed as "good common sense" then in a subjective analysis I think 20-25mph over the posted speed limit qualifies as "good common sense " as well. It's all subjective and of course we all think we are the best drivers on the planet. I fully appreciate that the cameras are revenue generators for Star Valley and some others. So be it, as the only people who will contribute to those treasuries are those that either are not paying attention while driving or just don't think the laws apply to them. Along the same lines, if one is coming toa STOP sign yet can clearly see there are no other vehicles within sight, is it okay to ignore the sign and proceed through it? Do you really want to open this can o' worms? ;-)
I don't think the 11 MPH over the limit is wrong. Not at all. Meets the natoonal standards. What's wrong is the distance between the warning sign and the photo radar, or the location on a curve, or the location at the top of a hill, or the failure to take into account that they are dropping the speed by 20 mph in 250 feet. Go out on the road and see how hard you have to brake on a hill to do that.
To go from highway speed to the changed speed requires time for it to be done safely. The private companies which install and operate the photo radar set their cameras in locations on a hill where that time is even greater. Unless you are aware of the fact that the speed limit is about to change in a very radical way you are caught by a gotcha! system that is set up to do exactly that--make money, not promote safety.
Read the AZ statutes. You'll find that the rest of the Arizona laws regarding speed limits are extremely well thought out and well written. You'd have to work hard to earn a ticket. But the photo radar law is flawed. It's obvious that someone was pushing an aganda, and Scottsdale is the most often sited culprit.
Look, Ron, the purpose of any traffic enforcement system is safety. Where people are driving safely and getting ticketed the system is not doing its job.
You what the basic problem with all this stuff is? It comes from overseas. It was developed in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand (NZ in particular) where you have about as many rights as a cockroach. They have no due process over there; they can just run right over people. Law enforcement officers right across the land will tell you that no law officer would ticket a person under the same or similar circumstances as you'll get a ticket from a highway photo radar unit.
As to stop signs, that's a different issue. A stop sign is a stop sign. That's that. Follow me around and see how many I go through, but don't hold your breath.
Also, I am certainly not saying, nor even implying that anyone should ignore the speed limit itself. I've driven through Star Valley hundreds of times, though not in the past few years since I don't go anywhere; and there is no way anyone could have been unhappy with my speed --unless he thought I was driving too slowly. What I am saying is that when people are warned of a speed limit change, and they are given time to adjust, they will adjust, but if you spring a surprise on them as a way of making a buck you're the one who is wrong.
Drive over to Star Valley and see for yourself.
Or go see the gotcha! lights down in Scottsdale or Tucson. They just legally moved the intersection line by as much as 18 feet to catch more people. It's wrong and there's no way to make it right. We have rights and no city can take them away.
I don't know if you know it but there is a traffic signal light not to far from the photo radar going east. It is at 260 and Tyler Parkway. If you stop for it, you really have to step on the pedal to get up to 65 again before you get to the warning sign about the radar. Anyone that gets a ticket there deserves it ! Read the signs on the side of the road. They aren't there for decoration.
There are no crosswalks in all of Star Valley on the highway, that is why they want cars to slow down from 65 to 45mph. Don't run over any pedestrians.
Payson needs cameras going north on 87 instead of a sign hidden around the curve after you pass the Casino. It doesn't slow people down.
The council in Star Valley is much smarter than the council in Payson !
Haven't been there in years, but I do know that it is the radar at the other end of Star Valley that is drawing most of the flack. They are coming in off an open highway and entering town around a curve and down a hill. You should read the comments. People who have never in their lives had a ticket are up in arms about the Rim Country, calling us--us being PAYSON half the time--every name in the book for being the worst speed trap in the nation.
Look, I am NOT a speeder. I do not go to Star Valley. I have no personal axe to grind in all this except that I REALLY hate it when government at any level starts treating people like cash cows. WE own the roads. We should make the laws, not some private company that has lobbied the legislature into doing some very wrong things.
Arizona is one of the last strongholds of individual liberty in this nation. A glance at our state laws shows that we still have legislators who think in terms of individual rights. What kind of rights do we have when town councilors in little speed trap towns sit around rubbing their hands and gloating over the way they are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who in most cases have done nothing wrong? Had they been given a fair chance to slow down they would have done it.
I also hate the fact that Star Valley is working against the rest of Rim Country. Here we are, breaking our backs to keep going in hard times, trying to promote a little tourism, trying to get people to consider the area as a nice place for a weekend home, trying to put our construction industry back to work. And what is Star Valley doing? Giving us such a bad name that letter after letter on the net advises people to stay away from here.
We had a place like that in Rhode Island back when I was kid. The situation was exactly the same--a speed trap on a curve, on a hill, on a state road. People put up with it for only so long; then a new state road was routed around the place and it died on the vine. But what hurt was that the other small towns around it went down the tubes along with the town that deserved it. They called it an "economic tragedy." We called it justice.
Remember! ADOT is right now considering where to put a bypass up here. You want them to start south of Payson on 87 so they can run it around Star Valley? Is that what you want? They are talking about it. The people with weekend place north of here would be delighted to not have to drive through Star Valley. They'd laugh all the way around us and we died on the vine.
Is that what the Payson Town Council is working so hard for? I'll tell you what, about half of the letters I've read said PAYSON had a speed trap, not Star Valley. Out of towners don't know the difference. If I were on the Payson Town Council I'd be thinking about annexing that place and ripping out those cameras in its own self-interests.
Sorry, I just can't stand it when government walks all over the people!
The ban on Photo Radar was defeated today in the Arizona Legislature. They are going to look at a new approach.
To all who have responded to this line, let me say you all have a good point to share.
In 1970, I was a Police officer in Scottsdale, AZ. The law was different then. Title 28-701 reffered to vehicle speed as "Reasonable and Prudent". That law literally put the discretion of a citation in the hands of the officer based on the conditions of the moment.
At that time the recently built I-10 freeway (4lanes, 2 each way) was one of Arizona's most modern roads and had a speed limit of 75mph. Remember this was 1970.
A DPS officer patrolling I10 between Phoenix and Tucson had the discretion to determine if a motorist was traveling at 95mph at 2am in a new car and not apparently impaired and with no traffic on the road, was traveling at a reasonable and prudent speed for conditions.
I passed them, they didn't pursue me, case closed.
With the passing of the National speed limit (55mph) in 1973, everything changed. Though reasonable and prudent still remains in the law, it's not reasonable anymore.
In Arizona the posted speed limit is the limit. It's the law. Local jurisdictions have determined what the will enforce and what they won't ( I have issues with this as well) but in reality if the sign says '45mph' and you are going 48mph, you have broken the law. Then it's time to pay or go to court.
I believe most cities and towns and others give 10mph as a leaway is because of the excuses people have given. Speedometer error, big tires, small tires, etc. etc., and with all of that here is the bottom line.
When the State of Arizona determines that a sign be posted on any given roadway that states the speed limit, then "ANYONE" who exceeds that limit is violating the law. And, if a camera records them violating the law? Then the primafacia evidence is with the camera. No excuse, end of story.
I don't think people coming from the east into Star Valley should be driving 65MPH around the curves before they get to the sign warning them of a camera. They deserve every ticket they get and more power to Star Valley for hanging in there with thier cameras.
How about going 10 miles over the speed limit thru a school zone? Would that be alright,
if given 11 miles over the speed limit anywhere else?
I agree with you wholeheartedly--except for one thing. When I went over there and physically checked the setup for people coming in from the east I could see that it was nothing more than a blatant speed trap. Go see for yourself. A good safe driver, doing what any normal person would do coming off a country road on a curve, watching his speed, driving safely and normally WILL be ticketed by that setup. It is so obviously designed to catch people unawares that we should be ashamed that the people up here haven't risen up and ripped the %$#@! things out.
Another thing that aggrvates the situation is the fact that as people are leaving Payson and headed east the speed limity goes up to 55 mph for a very short stretch, and then abruptly and unexpectedly drops again at the very bottom of a steep hill. There's no need for that. It's obviously not an accident.
All anyone has to do is go out and read the outraged complaints on the net from people who are obviously decent people who got caught by some very clever maneuvering by a private company which is out to do nothing but make money. An incredible 1,747 people took the time to go out on the internet and say that Star Valley (or Payson; they don't always know the difference) is a speed trap. Check the results for any other small town or in the United States and you will not find anything even approaching that kind of number.
I'll post some of the outraged comments. I've read a lot of them, and I've compared them to what people say about other places. There's a difference. People are really outraged about the Star Valley cameras because of their location, because you would have to really hit your brakes hard to comply, because there is almost no warning, because they are at the bottom of a hill on a curve, and because you WILL be ticketed even if you have your car set to stay below the speed limit (that's the one that really gets me).
Listen to these comments, made over and over again. I'll put them in what I think is the order of importance:
"My first ticket in 60 years of driving..."
You don't know how many times I read that one.
"Impossible! I don't speed! I had my automatic speed control on to ensure that I could not exceed the speed limit...."
That one is repeated over and over. Honest, law abiding citizens who have set their speed control so they NEVER break the law are being ticketed. That's wrong!
"I drove through 35 or 40 other small towns on that trip with the same speed limit, had my automatic speed control on, and never had a problem, even though there were police cars in three of them which were using radar guns. I've been driving for..."
"I sat in a class with 6 people, and every one of them said he was at or below the speed limit..."
"Both photo radars are at the bottom of a steep mountainous inclines where you would need to be standing on the brakes to avoid...."
"There is absolutely no risk of an accident with either another car or a pedestrian at these locations...."
"I thought they had removed the cameras, but I still slowed down. They had repainted them and...."
"They have painted the cameras to blend in with the background..."
"...they now have three in about 2 miles one on each end of town and one in the middle and they have changed the color of all three to silver...."
"We had our TomTom set up so that we would be following speed limits. We were following traffic...."
"What started off as a fun family outing has put our young family in debt by almost $500...."
"...this thieving town made $1000's in just a few minutes from unsuspecting drivers...."
"....Camera right by 45 mph speed signs. No chance to go at this speed without applying brakes too hard to be...."
"Without aggressively applying the brakes...."
And the comments about us? (Some people think Payson is at fault.)
"I will no longer stop in Payson...."
"I will never buy another thing in that town or Payson."
"This town needs to be exposed on the Arizona and even national news. Boycott all businesses in this town!!"
"No wonder that everyone is totally fed up with corrupt government."
"Town claims traps generating 2000+ citations a week."
"My wife used to buy a lot of...."
"... used to stop for gas no more boycot the town..."
"After spending quite a bit of time on the internet, I determined that speeding fines are a large portion of the revenue this town of 1500+ depends on."
And the bottom line.
"West and East approach to the town. Steep hill into town both directions. Camera right by 45 mph speed signs. No chance to go at this speed without applying brakes."
We are talking about planning for Payson's future. With Star Valley running a speed trap that future is in question. Once we get a bad name we're cooked.
"It will be a cold day in h*ll before I pay this fine and I'll never go through this town again."
How long has it been since you drove the road on both ends of Star Valley?
The road from the east should have a slower speed limit long before it gets to the sign.
I drove on that highway to Showlow to watch my grandson race his Dwarf car for about 4 years or more and never drove 65 MPH because of the elk crossing the highway. We drove over in the daylight and came home about midnight. Why don't you check and see how many have been hit and how many people were hurt because of them? If there was a slower speed limit there maybe the people wouldn't complain so much about the cameras. Speed limits are put up for a reason. It isn't going to make 10 minutes difference in thier arrival time if they slow down.
As for the cameras changing colors, they look the same color to me as when they were first put up. If people think they have changed colors then they know they are there. (:
Damn it, if people want to speed, then let them pay the price. I did in my younger years.
ADOT has control of the highway thru Star Valley. It is a state highway not town street.
Star Valley gets a small part of the fines collected.
I worry a lot more about the right turns on red lights at the intersection of 260 and 87. I have almost been hit a dozen times when I am turning left off Longhorn to go north. I offered to pay ADOT the $90.00 each for 4 signs saying no red turn on red light. Was told at the meeting there had not been enough wrecks or anyone killed there.
You said it all when you wrote, "They are coming in off an open highway and entering town around a curve and down hill." They should have been slowing down without any signs!!!!
Although I live in town, I drive through Star Valley quite often as my pet sitter is just past Diamond Point. Sorry, but Tom is correct; I am a fairly safe driver, if a little speedy on occasion. However, knowing that there are photo radar cameras in Star Valley, I watch my speed carefully when approaching from either direction. Coming into Star Valley from the west, one must apply the brakes rather hard in order to slow down to the 45 that the photo radar requires. Furthermore, sorry Pat, but coming from the east, the POSTED speed limit is 65. That means that is the speed at which one is legally permitted to travel, whether anybody else thinks it is right or not. Elk, deer, skunks or coyotes, notwithstanding. That, also, requires quite a heavy braking in order to be slowed down in time for the photo radar cameras.
I firmly believe that photo radar is nothing more than a revenue increaser and has ZERO to do with safety. Perfect case in point: Shea Boulevard just west of Fountain Hills. Lots of leafy and bushy mesquite trees in the median, right in the middle of a block, ONE sign warning of approaching photo radar, lots of traffic which one is traveling with the flow of...then...smile, you've just been flashed!!
As Tom previously mentioned; I too, have conducted my own little experiment and his conclusions are correct. Even when traveling at the posted speed limit as one approaches Star Valley from either direction, in order to be slowed down to 45 by the time one is at the cameras, a fairly firm braking is required, not a natural slowing as Tom suggests would be prudent. On many more than one occasion, I have had a large truck crawling up my butt as I have slowed down. It is not a warm and fuzzy feeling to be complying with the law, only to look in your rear view mirror and see only the front grille of a monster Dodge Ram riding your tail.
Someone in an office far, far away are probably looking at a road map and set the speed limits. Don't have a clue what the road is really like or even cares.
That is the way the camp grounds at Roosevelt Lake were done. That is why some are up on a hill and you have to drive a mile or more to launch your boats. A lady in San Francisco designed them. Had never been to Arizona or so I was told by an employee in the main office of Tonto Forest in Phoenix.
Evidently you and Tom have never had a herd or even one big elk jump out in front of you, on the highway east of Star Valley or anywhere else.
I have had them jump in front of me on that highway many times. Also by the golf course in Payson. They have a trail from up around the airport, had them in my front yard when I lived on Canpar St. I don't know where they end up going south, but it must be a good spot.
You all know the cameras are in Star Valley. Live with it. It won't waste even 10 minutes of time. If you have to be somewhere at a certain time start early enough so if there is a camera, an elk or you have a flat tire, you will still get there on time.
Have a nice day. Don't speed. (:
Oh Pat, I HAVE had a herd of elk meander out in front of me, more than once, and have also had one seemingly drop down from the sky, actually it was just loping down the slope on the side of the road, but the way it came onto the roadway, it looked like it dropped from the sky!! I don't speed approaching or through Star Valley.
The point here, is that if one is obeying and complying with, the speed limit signs; then one is traveling at approximately 60-65 mph as one approaches the photo radar signs. The way traffic flows, if one is going much slower than that, you will get rear ended. Therefore, to slow enough to go from 65 to 45 in the time and space allotted is not reasonably prudent without a fairly hard braking.
Furthermore, if one takes advantage of the 11 mph over "allowance", your vehicle could conceivably be going as fast as 75 mph. Try dropping from that to 45 in 250 feet!!
On more than one occasion, I have been in the inside lane, cars next to me in the outside lane, and still had a big oversize truck right on my tail, flashing it's brights in my mirror. The "me" of years ago, would have deliberately slowed to EXACTLY the posted speed limit and frustrated the snot out of the truck behind me. The "me" of today has a fondness for remaining intact!
I think that we are never going to agree on this issue, even though, if you look at what we are all saying, we ARE all in agreement. Tom and I just feel that the photo radar cameras are not "playing fair" with regard to reasonable, prudent and judicious driving habits. They are set up with minimum slowing time and space, deliberately meant to "entrap" drivers who do not get slowed in time before the cameras catch their pearly whites; thereby increasing the revenue for Star Valley. Star Valley has no need to set up a police force or even contract with Payson or GCSO, they have photo radar!
I have driven all over the country, in many different conditions, and, like Tom, as well as the people he quoted on the blogs, I have never seen such a blatant "trap" as Star Valley.
"The road from the east should have a slower speed limit long before it gets to the sign."
I agree with that, but they didn't do it because it would screw up their speed trap. They want you to come to the edge of town at full speed and have no chance to slow down.
"If there was a slower speed limit there maybe the people wouldn't complain so much about the cameras."
Exactlly the point.
"As for the cameras changing colors, they look the same color to me as when they were first put up."
According to people who drive that way all the time, they repainted them to match the background better. Go read the compliants. It isn't just one or two people who say that.
"ADOT has control of the highway thru Star Valley. It is a state highway not town street. Star Valley gets a small part of the fines collected."
Sorry, Pat. They were put up by Star Valley, which gets all the loot.
"They should have been slowing down without any signs!!!!"
Pat, you act as though this is a normal situation. It's not. It is designed to catch people who ARE slowing down but who aren't jumping on their brakes. It is totally unfair.
Look, I do NOT speed. Never! Not ever! I've had just one speeding ticket in my life and that was when a rookie cop learning to use the gun made a mistake (she read another car that was passing me; I was doing 35 mph and had two witnesses in the car). I talked to cop Mesa and he told me to go to court and fight it because it happens all the time with rookies and the judge would listen to my witnesses and dismiss the charge. But hell! It had already cost me $275 to take a day off from work to go to a preliminary hearing where I thought I would be able to get it dismissed, but found out that all I could do was plead guilty or have a trial. It would have cost me another $750 to fight the ticket, and three co-workers would have had to lose two day's pay. I paid the 99 bucks.
Anyway, I do NOT speed, and I do not like speeders, but I hate crooked towns even worse.
"Someone in an office far, far away are probably looking at a road map and set the speed limits. Don't have a clue what the road is really like or even cares."
Pat, those cameras are set up by a private company that makes money out of each ticket. I can't understand why you don't get it. It's corruption plain and simple.
"You all know the cameras are in Star Valley. Live with it."
Pat, I do NOT drive in Star Valley. I haven't been there in 7 years except for just once, and that was two months ago to see the speed trap for myself and make a fair and honest judgment on it.
I am NOT arguing for myself. I am arguing that it is unfair, corrupt, and damages the image of Payson and the Rim Country, which I care about a lot. Those things should be scrapped. It will serve Star Valley right when the pressure on AZLEG because of all this ends up with ADOT putting a bypass around Star Valley, which I am willing to bet is going to be the result.
In your last post you said, "Star Valley gets all the loot," and then about 14 lines down, you said the cameras were put up by a private company and they make money off them. Make up your mind.
I believe it was in the Roundup how the money was split up. The private co, the Payson court, ADOT and Star Valley.
If the cameras were painted to blend in they wouldn't be the silver grey color they are.
Star Valley can not give Payson a bad name. They do it on thier own.
If drivers get one ticket in Star Valley then they should know better the next trip. Of course if they are stupid, they will stay stupid.
Vista Rd coming down from the airport is 35 mph until just before the cemetery then it changes to 25. A cop sits at the cemetery gate and puts the radar on cars coming down.
He stopped my grandaughter one day to give her a ticket. Being like her grandmother she told him he didn't know the speed limit and she had slowed down before she got to the 25mph sign. He made her wait while he drove up the hill to see if she was right.
He didn't know there was a 35 mph sign on the hill. She did not get a ticket.
A long time ago Johnny Carson told something on TV I thought was hilarious but it works.
He said if someone was driving to close behind him in the daylight, he would turn on his lights so a red light on the rear of his car came on and then he would speed up a little. The person behind him would slow down immediately then change lanes. It works everytime. After dark you just tap your brake and speed up at the same time.
I never drive in front of a big truck especially going down hill. I will change lanes first or move off the road and let them go by. They do not have the same braking as cars and cannot stop as fast. AND if their brakes go out you are in deep trouble.
I have seen cars in heavy traffic in Mesa whip over in front of a big truck then slam on the brakes to make a turn. Most people that get hit by a truck or cause one to swerve and crash into someone else is at fault. They never seem to get caught causing the wreck.
"...those cameras are set up by a private company that makes money out of each ticket."
Come on, Pat. You know what that means; it means that the company that set up and runs the system charges for it.
"Star Valley can not give Payson a bad name."
You have no idea how many people who drive through here think that Star Valley is a just a part of Payson. I did when I first came up here. There wasn't anything saying anything different, so how would I have known? I lived in Pine, drove to Star Valley via the bypass road, drove home again, and never had a clue that I wasn't in Payson.
And anyway, if people do what they say they are going to do--take a different route and don't stop here for gas or a meal--what difference does it make why they do it? They do it and we lose. That's the bottom line.
But what gets me, Pat, is that you have not addressed the issue. So I'll just ask you a couple of questions. First some facts: It is obvious to anyone who actually goes there and looks at the cameras and the signs that the set-up in Star Valley is VERY different from any other set-up in the Rim Country where there is a sign telling of a speed change, and the point at which the speed change is rigidly enforced. No one can argue with that. It is a fact. Take a tape measure. I did! I spent two hours over there one day, and that's when I KNEW that it was a speed trap. Go check any other place in the Rim Country. Anywhere else. Tell me that it's the same as Star Valley. Tell me the place you checked and I'll go there, verify it, and agree with you.
BUT you yourself are always saying that things do not happen by accident. So are you now saying that it is just an accident that the photo radar in Star Valley is set up with distances so different from all the rest? Are you saying that if you run into a place on 87 on the way down to Mesa where a traffic cop has set up his radar at the exact SAME distances and you come around a curve at the bottom of a hill and get ticketed for driving the same safe way you always do that you will calmly and quietly accept a ticket?
FYI, photo radar was implemented by Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano as a means of increasing state revenue. She claimed that placing them on state roads would bring in over $90 million each year. The state no longer uses them.
Currently, there are two points among Arizona legislators regarding their use:
One group wants photo radar permanently eliminated, both because of their potential for abuse, and because of the way they have, in fact, been misused by some towns and cities.
The other group is willing to put up with photo radar as long as it is better controlled.
As a compromise between the two groups a Arizona Senate panel has voted 5-2 on HB 2477, which sets standards for the need for phtot radar and requires towns or cities to obtain permission from the state Department of Transportation to install or maintain photo enforcement on any state highway.
The bill has already been approved by a house vote of 47 to 12 and senate approval is almost certain. HB 2477 would not affect radar and red light cameras on city streets for the time being, but that may come later if towns and cities do not clean up their act.
The legislation will retroactively require cities to show there is a specific traffic problem which required a camera. The standard is proof that a camera is "necessary for the public safety of this state."
This applies to proposed installations and to cameras already installed. A study must be done by ADOT to show that the camera installation was necessary, and there will have to be a follow-up study to show that the installation actually improved safety. The bill also requires ADOT to review reports of traffic accidents on the stretch of road involved to see whether the cameras were needed in the first place.
Approval, including retroactive approval, is only good for three years, and each three years it must be shown that the camera has actually improved safety. If the review does not show improvement in safety at the site, and does not also show that the improvement was because of the cameras, ADOT can force the town or city to remove them.
All this has come about because some towns and cities have set up photo radar as means of making money instead of a means of making our roads safer.
An interesting question, of course, is how many accidents have ever occurred in Star Valley as a result of speeding. Anyone got an answer?
This bill has now gone to the governor.
The East Valley Tribune comments that "Arizona cities that want to place or keep photo enforcement cameras on state roads are going to have to prove they do more than generate fines."
"So now the legislation requires a city which already has speeding or red light cameras installed to show what has been their impact, comparing accidents prior to installation with what is occurring now. And it [grants] ADOT ... the power to order removal if the agency determines the photo enforcement system 'does not maintain a positive impact on public safety.'"
Tucson has been considered the greatest offender where the cameras are concerned as evidenced by the reaction of Senator Steve Farley, D-Tucson. He moaned that the legislation would make it impossible for any city to show that the installation will actually result in further improvement in safety.
Ah, too bad!
I'm sorry I didn't answer your questions of six weeks ago. Thought I had. Maybe I forgot to hit the button. The cops on the Beeline don't give you a warning they are hiding behind a bush to catch you with thier radar. But I found out where most of them are. (: Two are between Deer Creek and Rye. One in the crossover going north before you get to the Rye Creek bridge and another on the right side of the road behind a big bush.
I really don't know of anywhere here in Payson where they warn you of a speed change. The speed limit sign is just there with no warning.
Tell me where they are please.
Thanks for the info. If I ever drive anywhere except to Payson I'll keep my eyes open. :-)
Talking about driving, I went a couple of years before I finally checked the setup in Star Valley. I wanted to, but even after I decided I had to do it so I could talk about it from the viewpoint of someone who had been there, it took me six or seven weeks to manage to get over there.
I probably should explain. It's not that I can't drive to places, it's that I won't. I will not absent myself from the house unless it's absolutely necessary. And then all I think about while I'm gone is getting back.
As for speed change signs, Pat, they are only required on state roads, not city roads. I believe they're there wherever they have to be. I drive through at least a couple of them when I enter or leave Payson each week. I can't say anything about any other signs. I don't see them.
Tell you what, folks, I'll put up a second post with a low-key, fair minded discussion of the whole issue which this strings touches upon. I think it will help to explain things better than I have before. Please read it, think about it, and see if you don't agree.
A safe driver takes his foot off the gas when he sees a speed limit change, and lets the engine slow him down. It's the way we were taught to drive, the safe way. But the company that sets up the cameras wants to make as much money as it can, and so do some municipalities, so they place them at the minimum-required distance.
The currently required distance between the warning sign and the camera is wrong. It should vary according to the drop in speed, according to whether you are going downhill, and according to the speed you were doing when you came to the sign.
It takes a LOT longer to slow down from 65 to 45 than it does from 45 to 25. It's simple physics; the amount of energy stored up in your car at 65 is far more than the energy stored up at 45. That is not taken into account in the law. No doubt we can thank some clever lobbyist for that.
My judgment, as someone with a degree in physics, is that the distances in Star Valley should be at least three times what they are. Coming west the change is from 65 to 45, happens on a hill, and is on an outside curve where it is unsafe to hit your brake hard.
I'm not some crazy speeder, but I notice that where AZ sets the distance between warning signs and speed changes it is VERY different from that in Star Valley. VERY different.
If you drive into Pine once in a while, try this: As you come over the hill after the climb up from the four lane, push your accelerator until you are at the maximum legal speed (65 mph, but not what I drive). As you come to the place where the new road work was done, you'ill see a speed change warning. You are going downhill and the change will be from 65 to 45, but if you take your foot off the gas you will be legal by the time you get to the bottom of the hill and reach the 45 mph sign.
That's the way things should be.
After all, who is hurt when sufficient time to slow down is allowed? All it requires is that the warning sign be far enough from the speed limit sign. Why would anyone want to allow less than the normal amount of time to slow down? If the point of the change in speed limit is to get people driving at a speed we feel is reasonable and prudent, what harm comes about by allowing them enough time to slow down? We have achieved our goal, haven't we? People are driving at the speed we want them to drive. If the distance between the signs is long enough, the only people breaking the law will be ones who are deliberately speeding. Aren't they the ones we want to ticket? How can it be wrong to achieve our goal by just putting up proper signs located in the right places and at the right distances?
No kidding, folks. I defy anyone to come up with answers to those questions except the obvious ones. When you see cameras that are set too close to the warning signs you know full well the reason they are there in NOT to control speed, but to rake in profits from a speed trap. What other reason can there be?
That's all this string is about.
I didn't intend to write a third post, but something just occurred to me.
You know the easiest, fairest, and most effective way to decide where to place the warning signs and the photo radar on a highway? I think this is it:
Put the photo radar wherever you absolutely will not stand for anyone going the distance over the speed limit at which people are now ticketed. No change in that at all. If that's where you want to enforce the law, and that's the speed at which you ticket people, put the camera right there.
Drive out of town a mile or two and turn around. Come driving back in at the maximum speed at which someone will not be ticketed on the highway. Have someone stationed along the road with a hand-held sign saying SPEED CHANGE AHEAD: PHOTO CAMERA ENFORCED. When you reach the sign, let your foot off the gas and allow your engine to slow you down. If you are still over the ticketable speed when you come to the camera then try it again, backing up the person holding the hand-held sign until you finally reach a distance where someone who lets up on the gas when he passes the speed change sign will not be ticketed.
That's where you put the speed change warning sign. It should say:
20 MPH SPEED CHANGE AHEAD**
SLOW DOWN NOW
PHOTO CAMERA ENFORCED
** Or whatever the speed change is.
The actual speed limit sign should be placed 400 feet before the cameras as a second warning and shouid say:
400 FEET AHEAD
PHOTO CAMERA ENFORCED
**Or whatever the speed limit is.
If someone is speeding, ticket the S.O.B.
Now, wouldn't that make sense?
You have given all the warning anyone could possibly ask for. The chances are that only people who deliberately speed, or boneheads who deserve a kick in the butt, will be ticketed. Your town will be safer. The signs will pay for themselves by ticketing the guilty and stupid. People who drive sensibly will have no problems.
Isn't that how life is supposed to work in a nation based on individual liberty, a land where goverment works FOR the people instead of against them?
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