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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    The Netherworld of the Force

    Default Better late than never...

    I just received the latest NMA newsletter regarding the recent increase in the PSL on the Kensington Expressway here in Buffalo (Rte. 33)...


    The sentiment expressed in the title describes the following story out of Buffalo, New York, although in the world of clichés, the summarizing phrase could just as easily be, “Too Little Too Late.”

    The Kensington Expressway in Buffalo has had a 50 mph for as long as most local commuters can remember. When asked about the last time a traffic engineering study was performed on the Kensington, the NY Department of Transportation (NYDOT) admitted that there hadn’t been one since 1970.

    Local commuters continually questioned the restrictive 50 mph limit, particularly when traffic on the Expressway routinely flows at speeds up to 70 mph.

    NYDOT reacted to the queries by performing a traffic study over this past summer. As a result, the agency agreed to raise the speed limit from 50 to 55 mph.

    In doing so, NYDOT spokeswoman Susan Surdej pointed to an expected decrease in accidents because of smoother traffic flow with less speed variance among vehicles on the Kensington Expressway.

    Surdej noted, “The difference in [vehicle] speeds contributes to the severity of the accidents,” and pointed to several studies, including one that analyzed fatality rates on the New York State Thruway before and after the speed limit was bumped from 55 to 65 mph in 1995.

    That study, “Speed Kills? Not Always: The New York State Thruway Experience,” not only showed a decrease in the fatality rate, it also found that after the speed limit was increased, the percentage of vehicles traveling more than 10 mph over the posted limit decreased.

    That finding puts a big dent in the false argument we hear so often: “If you raise the speed limit, drivers are just going to go that much faster to compensate.”

    We have one significant problem with the NYDOT’s increase of the Kensington Thruway speed limit. That they finally ordered a study after 40 years of not having any formal traffic analysis is welcomed, but they didn’t go far (or fast) enough.

    The Kensington traffic engineering study determined that the 85th percentile speed was between 60 and 65 mph. The new 55 mph speed limit is at least 5 mph too low for optimum traffic flow and safety.

    Any thoughts???

  2. #2

    Default Re: Better late than never...

    Too little too late IMHO, just like when they begrudgingly got rid of the toll booths on the 190 a few years ago. I used to travel that road often enough when I lived out there and remember it being almost the news of the town when they would actually enforce that 50 MPH speed limit. No real good place for cops to sit, and when they did, EVERYBODY knew about it way in advance. If they want to avoid accidents out there, change the crumbling and antiquated exits and on ramps on that road, those are the real problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Better late than never...

    Sorry you have to fight tooth and nail to increase the PSL just a litle bit.
    In Michigan realistic Speed limits are state policy.

  4. #4
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    May 2009
    West TN

    Default Re: Better late than never...

    40 years later, the standardization of disk brakes, abs, better tire compounds, crumple zones, and air bags warrant an increase in speed of only 5mph. Come on!

    I'd be willing to bet that most modern vehicles can do anything just as good/safely at 65mph today as the vehicles in 1970 could have done at 50mph. A 5mph increase is hardly enough.



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