Motorists in Warner Robins may want to take a second look at those speed limit signs through neighborhoods they’ve traveled for years.
That’s because speed limits have been reduced on several roads throughout the city, said Warner Robins police Lt. Todd Edwards, who heads the traffic division.
Edwards announced the changes Wednesday to midstate news media to get the word out and to give the public time to adjust before tickets are issued.
“We want to give them time to adjust their schedules, driving habits and mind-sets,” Edwards said.
Enforcement of the new speed limits will go into effect Aug. 1, he said.
However, that does not mean that motorists will have a green light until then to speed through those areas, the officer said.
The grace period is only for motorists who are below the old speed limit but not the new speed limit, Edwards said.
That’s a requirement of state law when speed limits are first changed, and police want to give motorists the benefit of the doubt.
But motorists who just want to speed on through can expect a ticket if over the old speed limit, the officer said.
Under state law, the city has to be granted approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the changes and also resubmit its permit to run radar on those roads, Edwards said.
There are separate state laws that give police the right to enforce existing speed limits and to cite motorists for driving too fast for conditions such as rain or heavy traffic congestion even if below the posted speed, he said.
But in order to run radar, the state must approve roads in which radar devices may be used, Edwards said.
John Kilko, the city’s traffic operations manager, said that’s partly because not all road terrains are suitable for speed monitored by radar.
Changes in speed limits also must get the state’s blessing, he said.
Speed reductions generally come about at the request of police who monitor trends in traffic, ranging from accidents to speeding, Kilko said.
The city’s transportation department then conducts its own study and makes a recommendation. Those recommendations go before the police and city administration for submission to City Council. Once the recommendations are approved, the state DOT does its own study and signs off on the changes and the new permit to conduct radar if in agreement with the city’s request, Kilko said.
All that takes time, so the city keeps a running record of changes every year and then submits them to the state for approval periodically, Kilko said. The previous permit was issued in 2005, he said.
Here are the recent changes in speed limits:
• Watson Boulevard from 500 feet west of Margie Drive to 100 feet east of Corder Road from 45 mph to 40 mph.
• Alabama Avenue from Northside Drive to American Boulevard from 30 mph to 25 mph.
• American Boulevard from Green Street to Oregon Trail from 30 mph to 25 mph.
• Corder Road from Leverette Road to Watson Boulevard from 40 mph to 35 mph.
• Lake Joy Road from Ga. 96 to Hatcher Road from 45 mph to 40 mph.
• Lake Joy Road from Russell Parkway to Feagin Mill Road, which is a school zone, from 35 mph to 30 mph from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. on school days.
• Lakeview Road from Lake Joy Road to U.S. 41 from 45 mph to 35 mph.
• Lakeview Road from Tharpe Road to Lake Joy Road, also school zone, speed limits 35 to 25 mph.
• Moody Road from Russell Parkway to 500 feet south of Feagin Mill Road from 45 mph to 40 mph.
• Osigian Boulevard from Houston Lake Road to Tom Chapman Boulevard from 35 mph to 30 mph.
• Russell Parkway from Ga. 247 to Moody Road from 45 mph to 40 mph.
• Russell Parkway from Moody Road to Corder Road from 40 mph to 35 mph.
• Russell Parkway from Corder Road to 500 feet west of Elaine Drive from 50 mph to 45 mph.
Warner Robins police also are taking a proactive stance in changes in law that allow the use of “low speed” vehicles on roads that have limits of 35 mph or less, Edwards said.
These low-speed vehicles are essentially modified golf carts that can go faster than conventional golf carts and handle rougher terrain.
Police want to get the word out that these vehicles require the same requirements for driver’s licenses, insurance and obedience to state driving laws as do other vehicles, Edwards said.
Motorists in other vehicles also need to be aware that these low-speed vehicles also have the same right to be on the roads as do regular vehicles and must be accorded the same rights of way and vehicle distance as regular vehicles.
Because these type of low-speed vehicles are now available for sale in the Warner Robins area, police want to prevent accidents and citations by giving folks the heads-up about the law and what may be an influx of these vehicles on city streets including portions of major roads such as stretches of Watson Boulevard and Russell Parkway.
For more information, contact Warner Robins police at 929-1170.
Article by Becky Purser, Macon.com