Tuesday evening, the Turlock City Council voted in favor of amending two speed limit changes for Taylor Road and Fransil Lane in Turlock.
Drivers will now be allowed to drive at 55 MPH as opposed to the currently posted speed limit of 45 MPH on Taylor Road, between Golden State Boulevard and Berkeley Avenue. The Turlock Police Department made this recommendation to the Development Services Department due to speeding issues on the road. The 85th percentile of drivers currently drive around 55 MPH while driving down Taylor Road, and the police department felt that the change would be a safe one.
Council members, however, did question whether or not Taylor Road would be safe to drive at 55 MPH during the rainy season, as the road has a consistent drainage and flooding problem every year.
“There have been days where I’ve drowned staying in my lane on Taylor,” stated Councilman Bill DeHart.
Development Services Director Mike Pitcock ensured the Council that the drainage issue was currently being addressed. Police Chief Rob Jackson also explained to the Council that there could also be second posted speed limit for unsafe conditions, such as fog or rain, as to reduce the risks of traffic incidents.
“[Drivers] would have to lower their speed during those conditions,” stated Chief Jackson. “We do have that ability to use that.”
Councilwoman Mary Jackson stated that on rainy days she avoids driving down Taylor due to the flooding problem, and that the lowered speed limit under those conditions would help regulate such problems.
“If we do have issues arise after, we could bring it back for consideration,” she stated.
As for the speed limit change on Fransil Lane, drivers will now have to reduce their speed from the posted 55 MPH to 50 MPH. Pitcock stated that although the Engineering and Traffic Survey in 2006 showed that 55 MPH was a safe speed limit for the road, due to complaints from residents that currently live on that road, he would use his executive power as the Development Services Director to reduce the speed. While he does have the ability to reduce the speed, it can only be changed by a maximum of 5 miles per hour.
Residents on Fransil Road had complained to the City about the difficulty of trying to get out onto the road from their private driveways with the traffic passing at such a high speed.
“Given the number of residential homes that face the street, I thought it would be better to be reduced the best I could, which was only 5 miles per hour,” stated Pitcock. “As we get more and more development in that area, we’ll reassess those speed surveys at that time.”
Pitcock also informed the Council that he could redo a survey at anytime there’s a notable change within a certain area of the City, such as near the newly developed Blue Diamond Factory.
“Due to the truck traffic and employees that will be driving in that area, we can resurvey then at that time,” he stated.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak stated that the Police Department would be working with the Planning Department to ensure that the speed limit changes go smoothly, and should there be any collisions or incidents, the two departments would work together to come up with other solutions.
“We focus our enforcement efforts on the most serious areas of collision,” stated Chief Jackson. “It’s collision based, not revenue based. If we find an intersection that has a lot of incidents, we have our traffic unit there to assess those traffic issues.”
The Council voted unanimously to approve the speed limit changes for Taylor Road and Fransil Road, as well as to have posted speed limits for Washington Road, Fulkerth Road and Main Street, which are currently lacking signage. The expected fiscal impact for the changes involve the purchase of materials for speed limit signs and painted legends, as well as staff time for installation. These costs, however, will be paid for through street maintenance funds, and no general fund dollars will be used.