In the coming days the speed on Woodward Avenue between Union Road and Airport Way will be set at 30 mph.
The Manteca City Council on Tuesday accepted the findings of a state-required speed survey that is mandated before police can legally issue speeding tickets while using radar that will hold up in court.
The speed limit is currently posted as 25 mph but because Woodward Avenue is not a true residential street the universally allowed speed typical in housing developments is not legally enforceable. State law requires that the speed be set at the 85 percentile of the results gleaned from a speed survey.
The survey produced an 85th percentile speed of 35 mph. Usually that would have to be rounded to the nearest 5 mph increment. But because of other considerations and conditions allowed by the state such as a concentration of housing the council had the option to lower it to the nearest 5 mph increment which is what they did.
The city must conduct traffic surveys every seven years to be able to legally enforce speed using radar. The speed survey that is in place for Woodward Avenue currently set the speed limit at 45 mph for the entire stretch before Manteca posted the non-complying 25 mph signs in a bid to slow down traffic. While it was legal for the city to put the speed that low it had no teeth as any tickets issued would be successfully challenged in court. The survey for Woodward Avenue in its entirety was taken in 2013 and was good through 2020.
The stretch between Union Road and Airport Way has seen a number of homes added in recent years. There is also a crosswalk going in with flasher signs at Pagola Avenue in a bid to enhance the safety of students walking to and from Veritas School. One roundabout is in place with another going in during the coming months.
The speed survey for the mile segment of Woodward Avenue was conducted on a clear day on Jan. 23 from 1:38 to 2:15 p.m. involving 96 westbound cars observed near 1580 Woodward Avenue with the posted speed at 25 mph.
Speeds clocked ranged from 21 to 40 mph. Three vehicles were traveling at 40 mph and another three at 39 mph. The largest cluster of speeds was 30 to 31 mph with 29 or almost a third of the cars traveling within that speed range.
The rest of Woodward Avenue will still be posted at 45 mph
Councilman Gary Singh was interested in the city at some time in the future revisiting the other segments of Woodward Avenue when conditions change.
Back in 2013 residents who live in neighborhoods along Woodward between Main and Moffat hoped a speed survey would allow lowering the speed limit. It ended up reaffirming the posted speed although several vehicles were traveling in the high 50s.
Regardless of the posted speed, the basic California law dictates speed is capped by what conditions allow even if the speed limit posted is higher. Such conditions that could make traveling at a speed limit lower than the posted limit something that could be legally ticketed include heavy fog, torrential rain or other conditions such as road work.
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