Longhorn Rd. is a high enforcement area for traffic violations | Print | E-mail Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:00 By Carolyn Wall, Gazette Correspondent
The Payson Town Council considered a request by public works director LaRon Garrett at the regular town council meeting Thursday, October 16, and directed Payson Police Chief Don Engler to monitor traffic on Longhorn Road and increase patrols to reduce speeding in the area.
Garrett asked the council to consider a traffic calming process on Longhorn in response to calls about speeding from residents along the road.
He said studies done in August east of McLane on Longhorn showed that 15 percent of vehicles traveling on the road showed speeds above 35 mph in the 25 mph zone.
“The area qualifies for traffic calming,” Garrett told the council.
He suggested a three-tiered approach to the problem, the use of striping and barricading to adjust the lanes at a cost of about $100,000 and the installation of speed bumps along the road, which would cost $4,000 to $5,000 each.
He also talked about doing a study to increase the speed limit on Longhorn Road.
Council member Mike Vogel said he had not heard from one resident in the area who was in favor of raising the speed limit.
Council member Mike Hughes said he would like to see more patrolling on Longhorn Road.
“I’m leaning toward more stringent enforcement,” said council member Ed Blair.
Payson Police Chief Don Engler told the council, “I’d be happy to take a look at this and provide additional enforcement.”
Mayor Kenny Evans asked Engler to look into the speeding problem on Longhorn and report back to the council at the November 20 meeting.
In an interview Tuesday, Engler said, “The way I understand it, they’re going to give us the opportunity to improve the situation. We have our radar trailer out there today. We’ll do some things out there and report back to council.”
Engler said there was a history of problems on Longhorn but noted that the study done in August showed the majority of vehicles traveling between 33 and 35 mph were at off-peak times.
“There are two aspects here, high volume times and off-peak times,” Engler said. “We’re going to patrol both times.”
He plans to use school resource officers during high volume times associated with the high school on Longhorn and regular patrol officers during non-peak times.
“The higher speeds we’re seeing are between midnight and 6 a.m.,” he said. “The secondary time is 9 p.m. to midnight.”
Engler talked about a variety of approaches he plans to use to reduce speeds in the area, including the radar trailer, the big orange sign board that will identify Longhorn as a high enforcement area for traffic violations, and the use of unmarked vehicles using radar.
Engler said there have been no major accidents on Longhorn recently, only minor incidents at the intersection of McLane and Longhorn, where there is a four-way stop.
He said that most speeding violations with vehicles traveling about 10 mph over the 25 mph speed limit occur in the early morning hours between 2:30 a.m. and 3:15 a.m. and believes that is due to newspaper deliveries in the area.
On August 3, studies of the area showed 154 vehicles traveling during the high volume lunch time at the high school had an average speed of 29 mph.
“That holds consistent across the board, lunch hour speeds of 29 to 30 mph,” Engler said.
From October 13 to the present time, there has been only one verbal warning on Longhorn Road and that was for a brake light violation. “The engineering department got complaints,” Engler said. “And that’s why they looked at striping, doing away with the middle lane and speed bumps.
“Toward the end of the test period in about a month, we’ll see if we can make a difference in what’s taking place.”
Engler said problems with traffic in the town are not just on Longhorn Road. He is asking people to drive safely, to pay attention not only to their speed but to their lane changes and their turns.
“The other problem we see is people not stopping at stop signs. Others tend to slow instead of just stop. Both are a concern in our community. We see accidents repeatedly just over those basic items that people need to pay attention to,” he said.