Members of the Ceres City Council took action last week to formally raise the speed limits on eight streets while lowering limits on two following traffic speed studies.
The speed limit increases will go into effect as follows:
• Central Avenue, from Whitmore Avenue to Calcagno Street, from 30 mph to 35 mph;
• Hatch Road, from Boothe to Faith Home roads, from 50 to 55 mph;
• Moffet Road, from Hatch Road to Whitmore Avenue, from 30 to 35 mph;
• Railroad Avenue between Whitmore and Central avenues, from 40 to 45 mph;
• River Road, between Moffet Road and Central Avenue, from 35 to 40 mph;
• Whitmore Avenue, between Morgan and Blaker roads, from 40 to 45 mph;
• Eastgate Boulevard, between Hatch Road and Whitmore Avenue, from 35 to 40 mph.
The speed limit on Mitchell Road, from Highway 99 to River Road, will be lowered from 45 to 40 mph; and lowered on Rohde Road between Mitchell Road and Moore Road, from 50 to 45 mph.
Until the action Ceres police were unable to be cited for speeding through radar because the posted limits were based on an expired traffic study. The new study and action taken last week by the council changes that and make the speed limits enforceable by police.
The other streets in Ceres were not studied because they are residential streets set for 25 mph by default or they are not eligible for other reasons, said City Manager Toby Wells.
By state law must perform a traffic engineering study on streets every five years to keep their speed limits enforceable. Speeds are set based on the speeds that 85 percent of drivers tend to drive.
Some on the council balked at raising the speed limits, especially on Central Avenue, but City Manager Toby Wells explained that the limit will remain at 25 mph while school students are present.
Vice Mayor Linda Ryno pointed out that another delay in traffic speed studies caused the city to be out of compliance again. Wells said his staff is working on a way to schedule the next study to keep the speed limits current and valid for enforcement.
“I’m not happy that the speeds are going to increase but I understand why and that we have to do it or we can’t give out tickets,” said Ryno.
While the council approved the new limits, they ordered a new study on the eight streets to be done after police target speed enforcements in an attempt to produce lower speeds for that 85th percentile.
The first traffic study cost about $20,000. A second study of just the eight streets will cost about $5,000, said Wells.
In the Jan. 14 vote for the changes, Councilman Channce Condit cast the lone “no” vote against the speed limit changes. But on Jan. 21 he voted yes.
Resident Linnie Smith commented that motorists speed down Fifth Street between Whitmore Avenue and Caswell Avenue “all the time.” Her complaint led Mayor Chris Vierra to ask Police Chief Brent Smith if the speed trailer could be set up along that section.