Speed limits on eight streets will be raised in Ceres and two will go down following traffic speed studies.
Currently speeders on those streets cannot be cited by radar because the posted limits are based on an expired traffic study. The new study and action taken on Monday by the Ceres City Council will change that and make the speed limits enforceable by police.
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.
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.
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. Vice Mayor Linda Ryno sees that law as “rewarding” those who speed by increasing the speed limit.
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.
Ryno said she wants the city to “get more traffic cops and we need to get out there and start nailing the people who are going to be going 10 mph over these new speed limits.”
“Look, I don’t want to raise them either but we just have to follow the law,” said Wells.
When Ryno asked if more traffic police would be hired, Wells said it was up to the council in budgeting priorities.
Ceres presently has only one traffic officer. Mayor Chris Vierra said to hire another officer devoted to traffic enforcement may require cutting more positions.
The first traffic study cost about $20,000. A second study of just the eight streets will cost about $5,000, said Wells.
Channce Condit, the new councilman, cast the lone no vote against the speed limit changes. Earlier in the meeting he said he wanted another study and said there was no rush to change the limits.
In supporting the resolution Mayor Chris Vierra said he didn’t want to tie the hands of police for enforcing speed laws on the streets in question.