The Difference 10-mph Makes

Graphic Friday

A Traverse City Billboard?

The above is part of New York City’s “That’s why it’s 30”  campaign to remind New Yorkers of the speed limit. A side note, when speeds are reduced to 20, as in the “20 is plenty” campaign, chances of pedestrian fatalities drop even further and, as a bonus, there is a slew of other benefits, even for motorists.

And to think, recently I sat in a meeting where a police officer made the suggestion that a higher speed limit along Division St. might actually make it more safe. For whom? I might have asked–or, wait, perhaps I did?  Stupid thing is, Division St. is posted 40 mph along the southern stretch of Division St. with a half mile between signalized, or even marked, crosswalks. There may not be a legal speeding problem, as the officer contended, but for the context of a neighborhood with adjacent parkland, I’d argue speeding is a skeleton waiting to happen.


  1. May 20, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Very good thought Gary – I’d support that billboard. Also at 40 your reaction window is significantly lower.

  2. Kim
    May 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Given that most driver will exceed any given speed limit, this suggest that a 20mph speed limit in all urban areas would save a lot of lives.

  3. May 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

    More than slightly. The difference in reaction time between 40 and 25 is dramatic.

    There is an equation to calculate general reaction and stopping distance at different speeds for the average alert and aware driver…x² ÷ 20 + x = Stopping Distance (ft) [x = speed].

    So, 25 mph requires 56 ft. 40 mph requires 120 ft. if my math is correct.

  4. M. Hazard
    May 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I think they should shrink Division to two lanes and make it one way and Union one way LOL there’s a controversy..
    There was an accident on Division this last winter where a car nearly hit the house.. had the speed been higher it surely would have entered the house.. NO to higher speed limits!

  5. Matt
    May 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I was told the same thing by the police as well, regarding the speed limit on Division. I still believe the speed should be 25 mph from 14th to Grandview.

  6. May 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I think you and many others in the City would like to see the speed lowered to 25mph and I’ve yet to hear a convincing reason NOT to–and I’ve heard the excuses repeatedly. The state police set the speed and set it to 85% of what most feel confortable driving at. On Division, a straight, wide and unobstructed roadway, produces the higher comfort and thus higher speeds.

    The City’s goal needs to be to aggressively change the character of the roadway over the next decade to influence the comfort level of the most agressive drivers…when we drive Division we need to feel really uncomfortable going above 30 mph–like the end of the world is near. Then, speed sign or no sign, we as motorists will drive slow. Interesting, after I wrote the “like the end of the world is near” phrase I realized that that is precisely how many people feel when they go to walk or bike across Division St. So…we as a community have precedent for making people feel uncomfortable; now, we just need to inverse the result.

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