Why was the speed increased to 40 mph going up McAndrews Road to Hillcrest Road? When it was 35, drivers went 40 to 45, now they go 45 to 50. I'm a driver and walker, and this road has become increasingly dangerous with broken trees and frequent skid marks up on the walkways. Can there at least be a stoplight for safe crossings?

— Joyce, Medford

 

Joyce, the speed on McAndrews Road was increased to from 35 to 40 mph in the last year after several citizens submitted requests for the city to evaluate it.

However, the state’s Speed Control Board, and not city officials, sets the speed limit.

The board, an arm of the Oregon Department of Transportation, conducted a study of the area, taking geometry, accident history, sight distances and the speeds people are driving into account, and “came back to us and said the speed needs to be set at 40 mph,” said Medford Public Works Director Cory Crebbin.

Lower speeds are not always safer, Joyce, despite what we tell our children.

“If some people are driving slow and some are driving fast, speed differential increases accidents,” said Crebbin.

And while traffic signals do make for convenient crossing, they aren’t always safer than looking both ways and darting for the other side.

“Is it safer when you think they are going to stop or is it safer when you’re not sure whether they are going to stop?” asked Crebbin. “At a traffic signal, you’re counting on people stopping, and when they don’t, it’s really bad. If there is no traffic signal, you’re not counting on people stopping (and take the necessary precautions).”

Although Crebbin doubts that area would warrant a traffic signal, he invites you to submit a request on the city’s website (www.ci.medford.or.us), and city engineers will look into it.

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