Which is more valuable, your time or a child's life?
A no-brainer right? A child's life is certainly more valuable.
Apparently not valuable enough for some Payson residents to slow down to 15 mph around the Rim Country Middle School and Payson High School.
At the behest of Mayor Ken Murphy, Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett is asking the council to consider raising the speed limits around these two schools to 25 mph. The increase will save a whole 27 seconds of travel time, according to a study done by the Public Works Department in preparation for presenting this matter to the council on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Why only these two schools? Aren't people in a rush around the three elementary schools as well? Or is the slower speed just a problem at these two schools because of their location in relation to the mayor's place of employment, Manzanita Manor?
Murphy said over the years since the lower limit has been in place, he has had 25 to 30 complaints about it from residents.
Police Chief Gordon Gartner said he has had complaints on both sides. Some think it is too slow for times when students are not present. Residents in the area complain it is not being enforced.
Gartner said most people are driving 20 to 25 mph in the area already and he does not have the manpower to have it patrolled at all times.
So, if it is posted for 15 mph and people are already going 20 to 25, our guess is that the speeds would increase to 30 to 35 mph if the posted limit was raised.
The fine print on the television commercials showing crash tests on automobiles often indicate the results were from cars traveling only 35 mph.
Picture it someone racing through the school zone at 35 mph, plowing into a student-driven car, a parent turning into the school to drop off their students, a school bus ... a child racing across the street on a bike or on foot.
All to save maybe 30 seconds of time.
It seems to us, only emergency personnel, going to an actual emergency, should worry about saving 30 seconds of driving time.
Neither the Public Works Department nor the Police Department support changing the speed limit. The principals at the schools are not in favor of it either. The Rim Country Middle School principal suggested a possible compromise if one is really needed: make the school zone speed limit 20 mph, enforceable only between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and 2 and 3:30 p.m.
It should not be necessary to compromise. Saving somebody 30 seconds of travel time is not worth the time and energy to even change the signs. It is certainly not worth a child's life.