Monday, May 04, 2009

Speed Limits are Proof that People are Stupid

Okay, I'm intentionally just being a jerk with that title. I admit it. Unfortunately, the residents of Ashley Drive in Brighton are apparently in denial of their jerkiness.

So here's the deal: as reported by the Democrat & Chronicle, the residents of Ashley Drive are pissed because people are speeding down the street. The speed limit is 30 MPH. They want to lower it to 25 MPH because they think that'll make people speed less...but they can't because there's state rules about local communities lowering speed limits below 30 MPH. It can be done, but there's a long and expensive process to do it.

Now granted, it's not just Ashley Drive that wants to lower speed limits; other areas/towns are supposedly wanting to do the same thing...but the D&C story is all about Ashley Drive.

Check out a Google Maps satellite view of the area. Ashley Drive is essentially a small subdivision of housing that branches off of Elmwood Road, a major thoroughfare in Brighton, NY (just south of Rochester proper). There's one way in or out, and I counted the houses in the satellite photo, it's about 120 of them, plus something that looks commercial/office-like...but the office thing isn't off Ashley Drive proper. There's nothing else on that little cluster of streets that I can see; it's presumably all single-family homes (I used to live about a mile away and I'm pretty sure it's all SFH in there).

The upshot here is that if people are speeding down Ashley's not random drivers; it's the residents of Ashley Drive that are doing the speeding! So these residents are essentially complaining about themselves. Or perhaps more accurately, they're bitching about their activity that's been in fashion since the Stone Age and isn't going to go away anytime soon. Nor will lowering an already-artificial* "speed limit" from 30 to 25 MPH actually prevent neighbor squabbles. Uh-nuh, not gonna happen.

I could buy it if it were a stealth revenue generator for the Town via speeding tickets. But I'm pretty sure it's not, because it's a no-outlet housing development-ish area with insufficient traffic to justify putting a cop there to nail speeders.

So in other words, we COULD have neighbors actually, you know, going and talking to their neighbors and asking them to please slow down because it's dangerous to everyone. Or if you had to be nasty about it: setting up a video camera to record license plates, walking around the development until you find the offenders (remember, it's only 120 houses, nothing you couldn't cover in an afternoon) and then flyering the neighborhood to shame them into slowing down.

Instead we've got people potentially wasting many thousands of dollars in everyone's tax money and annoying everyone in a vain attempt to punish a minority that won't give a damn about the difference between 25 MPH speed limits and 30 MPH speed limits. In other words, people so selfish and cowardly, that they're hurting everyone...including be nasty to their fellow man. In short, you've got...well...stupid people.

And that's my "Proof for why Speed Limits are Proof that People are Stupid".

* Technically it's not "arbitrary"...there is supposed to be the "85 percentile rule", that states that a speed limit should correlate to the speed that 85% of drivers naturally travel at on a given stretch of road. Often speed limits are 5 MPH below the 85 percentile speed anyways, but I challenge any driver on a non-dirt, non-super-curvy or non-super-narrow road to naturally drive at less than 35 or 40 MPH.