ITE Journal July 2018 - 16

| ethics forum

Speed Zoning Standoff

F

acts: A rural, paved, and centerline striped, local collector
roadway serves the residents' access to the community and
major highway system. The roadway is located in an agricultural

area, residential acreages, with no residential subdivisions and minimal driveways. Originally, the roadway was gravel but has been
upgraded with 28-foot pavement and no shoulders with trees,
rock outcrops, and steep side slopes along both sides of the
roadway. The statutory speed limit is 50 miles per hour (mph)
with a request to the Road Commissioners to lower the posted
speed limit citing the existing roadside hazards, absence of roadside barriers, and need to protect the public. The County Engineer

prepares an engineering study finding that the average speed is 42 mph,
pace speed from 38 to 48 mph, and with an 85th percentile speed of 52 mph. A
review of the accident history indicates a lower than average crash rate and negligible single
vehicle crashes. The road users are predominantly local residents with very few roadway
geometric features that limit the operating speed with no parking along the roadway and limited bicycle or pedestrian usage. The County Engineer recommends in his engineering study
that the statutory speed limit of 50 mph be retained. The Road Commissioners review the
data and direct the County Engineer to post a 35 mph speed limit on the roadway because of
concern for potential liability. Both the County Engineer and Sheriff express their objection
to the lower speed limit and advise the Commissioners that they can expect major feedback
from the local drivers and the courts. The Road Commissioners request the County Sheriff to
increase his enforcement of the new speed limit until adequate compliance is obtained.

Questions
1. Did the County Engineer perform an adequate engineering study, meet the normal
engineering practice guidelines, and provide support for his recommendations?
2. Is the County Engineer providing adequate consideration of the safety and welfare of
the local citizens and road users?
3. What action can the County Engineer take in response to the Road Commissioners
decision?
16

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal July 2018

ITE Journal July 2018 - Cover1
ITE Journal July 2018 - Cover2
ITE Journal July 2018 - 3
ITE Journal July 2018 - 4
ITE Journal July 2018 - 5
ITE Journal July 2018 - 6
ITE Journal July 2018 - 7
ITE Journal July 2018 - 8
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ITE Journal July 2018 - 15
ITE Journal July 2018 - 16
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ITE Journal July 2018 - 18
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ITE Journal July 2018 - 48
ITE Journal July 2018 - 49
ITE Journal July 2018 - 50
ITE Journal July 2018 - Cover3
ITE Journal July 2018 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G100155_ITE_December2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ITE/G99495_ITE_October2018
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