Merced City Council working towards changing speed limit of several streets

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merced drivers may soon want to start taking another look at speed limit signs.

The City Council is moving forward with an ordinance that could change the speed limit of more than 40 streets in town.

"The growth of the community certainly plays a role. As we develop more neighborhoods and our arterials become more used, these speed limits come more into play and more important," said Merced City Mayor Mike Murphy.

Portions of busy roadways, like G Street and Bear Creek, along with neighborhood roads could see changes.

Merced City Engineer, Steven Son, says speed limits can go up or down based on how the majority of folks are currently driving.

"We're supposed to set a speed limit based on what people perceive is a comfortable and safest speed that they should be driving through an area," said Son.

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The speed limits on several Merced streets could soon change and tonight you have the opportunity to weigh in.

Officer Craig Mckeeman says now that the speed study is up to date, the department's traffic unit will be able to use lidar and radar tools again to control speed.

He says some of the changes, however, are concerning.

One example is this area near Parsons Avenue and Brookdale Drive area.
It's near a 25 mile per hour school zone, and the limit could change from 40 to 45.

"Drivers who wouldn't be going down 40 miles an hour can be going 45, then going down from 45 to 25 to make their school zones requirements," said Merced Police Officer Craig Mckeeman.

Son says the changes are based on several factors, including nearby homes and schools, and even the technology of newer car models.

The challenge then becomes balancing speed and safety.

"Cars being built now are quieter, has more power. I have to post the speed limit at what these people feel comfortable driving, but that doesn't always equate to safety so that's the balance I have to make," said Son.

The council will have a second reading of the ordinance at their next meeting.
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