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Author Topic: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature  (Read 24151 times)

1995hoo

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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #125 on: May 01, 2011, 04:02:21 PM »

Not really.  VDOT has a lot of power to set speed limits...they just don't use it very often.


I don't entirely agree as to non-Interstates. The General Assembly allows speed limits above 55 on roads that aren't "Interstate look-alikes" only when they statutorily provide for it on a given road. I think that's an asinine way to handle the issue.
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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #126 on: June 01, 2011, 02:10:42 PM »

^^^

If you are correct, I agree.

As has been often discussed in many places on this forum, an Interstate shield does not guarantee a road is built to higher standards than one without.

The speed limit should be based on what is safe to drive on the road, not what it is signed as.
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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #127 on: June 01, 2011, 02:24:01 PM »

The only thing the General Assembly has done is set what the maximum speed limit could be...70 on the Interstates and limited-access roads, 60 MPH on 29, 58, 360, 460, and part of 17, and 55 MPH otherwise.  As long as it doesn't exceed that maximum, VDOT (through the CTB) has the authority to set the speed limit to whatever they want, subject to a traffic and engineering study.
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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #128 on: June 01, 2011, 02:57:43 PM »

what is the legislature doing setting speed limits with such fine-grained control?  why not just say "our state speed limit is 70, with any exact number up to that point subject to engineering studies"

the legislature does not know the road quality, service level, amount of traffic, etc ... anywhere nearly as well as the traffic engineers do.  To say "60 mph on part of 17" implies a level of familiarity that I seriously doubt a congress-schmuck would ever have.
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1995hoo

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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #129 on: June 01, 2011, 02:59:45 PM »

The only thing the General Assembly has done is set what the maximum speed limit could be...70 on the Interstates and limited-access roads, 60 MPH on 29, 58, 360, 460, and part of 17, and 55 MPH otherwise.  As long as it doesn't exceed that maximum, VDOT (through the CTB) has the authority to set the speed limit to whatever they want, subject to a traffic and engineering study.

Which is what I think is a very poor way of handling the issue and what I consider to be giving VDOT not enough discretion. A road like VA-28 north of I-66, for example, is better than many of the Interstates in Virginia yet is limited to 55 mph under the current system because the portion from about Sully Plantation south doesn't qualify for a higher limit. That's dumb, too; there's no reason why a road can't be posted higher in one place where it's a better and wider road, except for the General Assembly wanting to keep control. This is sort of the point "mightyace" and "agentsteel53" make: Having the General Assembly make road-by-road assessments of which roads might be allowed a higher speed limit is inefficient and impractical because it's not something legislators are well-suited to doing.

(VDOT's not without blame either, of course. The statute as amended last year allows 70-mph speed limits on what are often called "Interstate look-alikes." The prime one in my mind would be the Dulles Greenway. VDOT has thus far refused to consider any road not posted with an Interstate shield for the 70-mph limit. I kind of understand why the Dulles Toll Road is kept at 55, especially with the Metrorail construction, but there's no good reason not to post 70 on the Greenway. I passed a speedtrap on there last Saturday with my cruise control set at 70 and the cop didn't budge, although I briefly wondered if he'd pursue me since I saw his brake lights come on after I went by. The Greenway is a better road than many portions of Virginia's Interstates.)
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oscar

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Re: VA: Bill allowing 70 MPH passes GA, goes to Gov for signature
« Reply #130 on: June 01, 2011, 03:47:17 PM »

Which is what I think is a very poor way of handling the issue and what I consider to be giving VDOT not enough discretion. A road like VA-28 north of I-66, for example, is better than many of the Interstates in Virginia yet is limited to 55 mph under the current system because the portion from about Sully Plantation south doesn't qualify for a higher limit. That's dumb, too; there's no reason why a road can't be posted higher in one place where it's a better and wider road, except for the General Assembly wanting to keep control.

Nailed it!  That's very consistent with the General Assembly's usual tendency, not just in transportation matters, to keep state agencies as well as local governments on a short leash, in keeping with the "Dillon Rule".  Not the most efficient system of governance, especially for a part-time legislature with short annual sessions, but at least speed limits are not being singled out for special (mis)treatment.
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