To the Editor: Why did you get a photo speeding ticket in LFP?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why did you get a photo speeding ticket in LFP? The writing on the signs was too small to read and there are too many words to read when driving the posted speed limit! The signs are out of compliance with state and federal regulations. Why has the city of LFP chosen to ignore state and federal standards for signs?

The Federal Highway Administration publishes the authoritative Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices which has been fully adopted by the state of Washington in WAC 468-95. According to DOT statewide Traffic Signing Specialist, Rick Mowlds, the design of all legal signs must calculate various factors in making signs readable and safe. They must calculate the posted speed limit, the word total, words per line, and word size. This establishes the distance from which the sign must be legible.

According to DOT''s School Signing Specialist, Dave Deede, drivers can read 3 words per second. LFP’s school speed limit signs total 20 words (per DOT count), which require nearly 7 seconds to read. A car traveling at the posted speed limit of 30 mph will travel 44 feet per second, which means motorists must BEGIN reading the sign 300 feet before reaching it. However, most of the lettering on the sign isn't large enough to read from 300 feet away.

In fact the key information about school times, posted in 1.5 inch letter height, is not even legible until drivers are within 45 feet of the sign. At 30 mph a car travels 44 feet in ONE second, YET, according to published state and federal safety standards, 3 seconds will be required to read this line alone. By then the driver is well past the sign, still not knowing what it says, and faced with the flash of a photo enforcement camera. All because the city has signs that do not comply with state standards.

The purpose of traffic signs is to improve safety. The current signs do not achieve that goal as drivers simply cannot read the small lettering on these illegally designed signs. This INCREASES the risk of traffic or pedestrian accidents.

I call for LFP’s school zone reduced speed signs to be replaced with signs that meet state safety standards and are readable from a safe distance. Otherwise I, and other local residents, must question the true purpose of these signs.

Starr Connelly
Mountlake Terrace

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