Police to track speeders
Residential byways will be saturated with officers, and the Costa Mesa department will record speeds with a radar gun.

By Kelly Strodl
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Costa Mesa drivers beware. Starting today, the roads south of Del Mar Avenue and east of Newport Boulevard will be filled with patrol officers cracking down on side-street speeders.

Every summer, police field calls about increased traffic from tourists. The congestion along Newport Boulevard, which acts as a main artery to the sands of Newport Beach, coupled with the added construction along 17th Street as part of a lane-widening project, has steered a high volume of traffic down side streets.

Responding to the surge of complaints from Eastsiders, police have developed a plan to crack down on the lead foots while tracking speeding patterns.

The summer-long program is done in three stages, Traffic Lt. Dave Andersen said.

First, the residential byways will be saturated with patrol officers. Second, the police department's trailer has equipment that will gather data for an onboard computer that tracks volumes of traffic and speeds via a radar gun.

It takes about one week to gather enough data to determine speed and traffic patterns for one street, Andersen said.

And, finally, police officials use the data to reassess what they are doing, identify problem areas and then increase enforcement in those places.

"We're dedicating our entire team to this project," Andersen said, adding that officers will continue to run calls for service and be visible throughout the city during peak traffic hours.

Officers hope drivers slow down when they realize a ticket can cost up to $200.

More importantly, though, speeding poses a hazard to pedestrians, especially the side streets where kids are likely to be playing. A car going 25 mph needs 60 feet to stop, Andersen said. At 35 mph it would take 100 feet to stop, he added.