Radar signs target side-street speeding
TRAFFIC: The purpose is to educate motorists, not to write tickets, says Fontana's Police Chief.
11:13 PM PST on Monday, January 2, 2006
By PAUL LaROCCO / The Press-Enterprise
Fontana has purchased 10 solar-powered radar feedback signs to deter speeding on residential streets.
Where: The signs will be placed in spots where speeding has been a factor in collisions.
FONTANA - They call them electronic policemen, and soon they'll be patrolling some of the more dangerous intersections that their flesh-and-blood counterparts can't watch 24 hours a day.
Fontana has purchased radar feedback signs to deter speeding and curb collisions on increasingly taxed residential streets.
"You can't have a police officer on the street 24 hours," said Eric Lewis, the city's traffic engineer. "But these can be there all the time."
Using a $71,000 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, the city bought 10 of the solar-powered signs, which flash drivers' speeds as they pass. They will be placed in neighborhoods from Sierra Lakes to Hunter's Ridge.
Although the signs will be able to record and compute speed trends, they will not be used as a means to ticket drivers, officials said.
"The intent is not to provide enforcement," said Police Chief Larry Clark. "It's to provide education."
Terry Pierson / The Press-Enterprise
The "electronic policeman" on Cherry Avenue in Fontana reports the speed of an approaching car. The city has turned to the radar feedback signs to alert motorists when they are driving too fast.
A report prepared by the Engineering Department in support of the purchase of the signs states that Fontana's brisk growth and consistently congested main roads have led to more drivers using residential streets as alternate routes.
And that can lead to more accidents, the report states.
Lewis and Clark said there hasn't been a substantial number of serious or fatal crashes in residential neighborhoods over the past few years, but they don't want to risk any. They said studies have shown that the roughly 3-square-foot signs can slow drivers by 8 percent, or, for example, from 47 mph to 43 mph.
That might not seem to be much of a difference, but Lewis said that for every mile per hour that a driver slows, the chance of being involved in an accident drops 5 percent.
"Sometimes there's a novelty with these signs," he said. "But from my field observations, people tend to slow down in the area of them because they don't know if a cop is sitting behind them."
The most common speeding complaints come from homeowners who believe commuters are cutting through their neighborhoods. But Councilman Frank Scialdone, a former city police chief, said he doesn't think that is the case.
He said the biggest impact the signs will have is slowing the residents themselves.
"The violators are the people who live there," Scialdone said. "Time and time again, when we do studies, we find it's the parents running their kids to school."
Reach Paul LaRocco at (909) 806-3056 or email@example.com