April 13, 2019 — The City of Florence, along with Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), have submitted a speed zone review request within the Highway 101 corridor between Munsel Lake Road and the city limits.
Due to a number of citizen requests to ODOT, and with the city’s concurrence, a speed zone review will take place as far north as Friendly Acres Road to Munsel Lake Road. Additionally, the City of Florence submitted a request for a speed zone review for the area between 31st Street to the north city limits along Highway 101.
While the speed review requests have been submitted, the actual investigation will take a number of months to complete. Typically, speed zone investigations are completed within 8-10 months after they the investigation is initiated.
The actual speed zone investigation and review is conducted by ODOT region traffic staff. The region traffic staff conducts an investigation using procedures in accordance with nationally accepted traffic engineering standards.
Factors taken into consideration are crash history, roadside culture, traffic volumes and roadway alignment, width and surface.
The average daily traffic volume within this area is 9,900 to 11,500 vehicles per day (2017 data — the latest traffic volume data available). The traffic volume north of Munsel Lake Road is 9,900 vehicles per day and the volume increases as the roadway enters further into the city.
Setting speed zones on Oregon’s highways and streets is often a controversial issue. Many citizens believe that lowering the speed will improve traffic safety on their street or in their community. On the other hand, speed zones that are unrealistic are often disregarded by a majority of motorists who are normally careful and law-abiding drivers.
A major factor in establishing speed zones is consideration of the 85th percentile speed. This is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles are traveling. This is used as an indication of the speed most drivers feel is reasonable and safe.
It is also important to point out that a request for a review of the speed limit does not mean there will be an imminent change to posted speeds prior to the conclusion of the review.
Once the investigation is complete, a report detailing the existing conditions and proposed changes (if any) is prepared. The report is sent to the city for review. If the city agrees with the recommendation, the new speed zone is established.
Speed limits are set for ideal conditions. Drivers need to respond to adverse conditions. Oregon vehicle law requires that motorists drive at a reasonable and prudent speed and with a regard for danger. Motorists must adjust their speed according to the existing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, road surface, lighting, and weather conditions.
For additional details about how speed zones are established, call City of Florence Public Works at 541- 997-4106.