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Author Topic: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways  (Read 31841 times)

dfwtbear

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Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« on: August 08, 2013, 11:36:56 AM »

Looks like north Texas may get some higher speed limits on freewys that had speed limits reduced for environmental reasons. Good article below and there is a link in it to the full slideshow proposal details.

http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/2013/08/planners-consider-higher-speed-limits-on-several-north-texas-freeways.html/
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 02:15:42 PM »

The legislature passed a law in 2003 prohibiting new environmental speed limits, but not requiring removal of the existing ones.  I always thought the environmental speed limits were legally invalid, since state law specifies reasons a speed limit can be lowered and none of those reasons relates to air pollution.

Regional tollway authorities can now establish speed limits as high as 75, but this is discretionary and not mandatory.  NTTA might want to consider raising limits, especially if they're increased on other roads, in order to maintain a speed incentive.
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 04:53:56 PM »

Bout time.  No one in the DFW area does the speed limit anyway so might as well have it up as high as they drive.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 09:41:30 PM »

They finally got the video from the RTC meeting posted online.  I'm always interested in the details.  The NTTA speed limit increases were offset, emissions-wise, by removing cash collection and the associated stop-and-go conditions.  The emissions impact from these proposed increases is small due to improvements in emission controls in the past decade.  The increase in emissions-per-mile with increasing speed is now much smaller compared with 10 years ago.  As a result, the projection is that only one ton of extra emissions per day will occur, compared with 255 tons total.  TxDOT will look for offsets, which shouldn't be too difficult, and RTC is ready to assist.

If this is implemented, speed limits across the region will change more gradually while moving closer to or further from the most urban areas.  The speed limit along I-20, which avoids the urban cores, will be 65 or 70 the whole way from Parker County to Kaufman County.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 11:47:42 PM »

This was discussed again yesterday.  http://nctcog.swagit.com/play/09122013-589  It's item 6.  There's a new set of maps with some slight differences from the previous ones.  http://www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/2013/09Sept/Ref.Itm_6.rtc091213.pdf

Some people wondered if the speed study results didn't reflect "unimpeded" travel but instead reflected strict enforcement.  The particular concerns are with I-45 in Ellis County, with some saying the speed limit should be 75, and I-20 in Parker County, with some saying the speed limit should be 70 all the way across the county.  The TxDOT engineer said that they have to follow the results of the speed test, but that the speed limit on I-45 could be increased to 75 later if future speed studies warrant, and that, likewise the 70 mph zone in Parker County might be extended eastward.

Michael Morris, brilliant as he always is, suggested conducting speed checks on a Saturday, when a higher proportion of traffic is travelers, rather than commuters and locals who know where the strict enforcement is done.  He prefers to get the speeds set correctly in one step so they can look at the offsets all at once, instead of doing it in two steps and having to analyze offsets and get EPA and TCEQ approval again.  He hopes that the long-distance travelers will show an 85th percentile that reflects the characteristics of the road and not locations of strict enforcement.

On the other hand, freeways that are about to go under construction were not looked at.  They'll be studied after the construction is done.  This means there may be a second round of increases, anyway.  This could result in higher 85 percentile speeds on roads where the limits are being increased in this first round.
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seanpatf

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 10:26:40 PM »

Bout time.  No one in the DFW area does the speed limit anyway so might as well have it up as high as they drive.
They actually do drive the limit or below in DFW, in the far left lane, which is supposed to be the freaking fast lane!
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ethanhopkin14

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 12:22:01 PM »

Bout time.  No one in the DFW area does the speed limit anyway so might as well have it up as high as they drive.
They actually do drive the limit or below in DFW, in the far left lane, which is supposed to be the freaking fast lane!

Each time I am up there I am driving 70 on The Dallas North Tollway in the daytime and I will get passed by several cars like I am sitting still. They have to be doing 95 or 100. I was there this weekend. Same thing happened on Dallas North Tollway and Sam Raburn Tollway.
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RoadSigma

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2013, 02:13:16 PM »

Bout time.  No one in the DFW area does the speed limit anyway so might as well have it up as high as they drive.
They actually do drive the limit or below in DFW, in the far left lane, which is supposed to be the freaking fast lane!

Each time I am up there I am driving 70 on The Dallas North Tollway in the daytime and I will get passed by several cars like I am sitting still. They have to be doing 95 or 100. I was there this weekend. Same thing happened on Dallas North Tollway and Sam Raburn Tollway.

I was there a week ago and I was going 80 on I-30 between FW and Dallas and I know I was passed by several cars.  Those 65mph signs get laughed at down there!!!  Might as well get them more near the speed of traffic down there which seems to be 70-80 on average....with a few 100 mph's coasting around on the DFW freeways.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2014, 11:15:01 PM »

There's been one more step forward.  The EPA has approved a change to the state implementation plan to recategorize environmental speed limits as transportation control measures.  The environmental rules regulating pollution control are still in place, but the pollution control will no longer be tied specifically to speed limits.  This is something that's been worked on for years, but took new significance when the statewide speed limit increased to 75, which increases the speed drop at the county lines, and makes for a bigger differential between actual speed limits and the highest that could be placed.  The RTC agenda does not show any proposed speed limit changes and emission offsets, but the wheels have turned further in that direction.  The latest information on specific proposals is upthread, although, as mentioned, some changes to those proposals, with more and bigger speed limit increases, are hoped for and may be announced in the near future.

http://www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/2014/02Feb/Ref.Itm_3.5.rtc021314.pdf
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longhorn

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 11:41:45 AM »

Makes no sense that I-35E south of Dallas is 65 except for a few miles north of Hillsboro.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2014, 02:45:40 PM »

According to Michael Morris in yesterday's RTC meeting, the transportation control measures and increased speed limits may be brought for RTC action next month.  That meeting is early in the month, so potentially the TTC minute order late in the month could officially establish the speed limits, meaning the signs could start changing as soon as April.
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dfwtbear

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 05:04:47 PM »

YAY!!

The Regional Transportation Council today agreed to fund $54 million in projects aimed at easing the state’s attempts to raise speed limits on scores of area highways.

http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/2014/03/txdots-plan-to-raise-speed-limits-clears-key-hurdle.html/
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 05:59:18 PM »

I was just watching today's RTC meeting.  The new plan seems to be to lift all environmental speed limits, as opposed to approving specific speed limit increases.  Obviously, due to increases in development and traffic during the past 13 years, not all speed limits that were cut will be increased.  They want to start with restoring the limits in place before, and then study possible increases to 75.  This reduces the problem caused by strict enforcement inducing artificially low speeds, since strict enforcement may prevent 85th percentile speeds 10 mph above the speed limit even if the speed were safe.

They still have to estimate the emissions reductions from the operational improvements paid for with the $54 million and show that the reductions will offset the increase caused by higher speed limits.  The projected emissions increase is fairly small, about 0.4 tons of oxides of nitrogen per day.  While the EPA has approved the change in the method of implementation (you can raise your speed limit if you offset the emissions increase), TCEQ approval is needed before the environmental speed limits can be officially removed (you must show that these specific improvements will at least offset the emissions increases due to the speed limit increase).

Due to the removal of all environmental speed limits, there may be increases on non-freeway facilities and non-fringe area facilities, unlike what had been proposed before.  While no specific speed limit changes were discussed, it is assumed that the environmental speed limits in place will be removed, resulting in increases of 5 mph, where that's safe to do.  The changes to 75 may be staged in two steps, and the changes will take time since TCEQ has not yet given approval.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 06:05:10 PM by wxfree »
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 03:46:47 PM »

Moving along, ever so slowly...

RTC was updated on the progress yesterday.  In summary, the actual work is done, offsets are identified and calculated and the projects are funded; all that's left is formalities.  The formalities take time.  It's expected that TxDOT can start changing speed limits as early as November.

http://www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/Item_7.rtc071014.pdf

The models they've run are based on setting the speed limits back to where they were.  This won't happen on some roads; some speed limits are now lower than the initial reduction due to traffic and development changes, and some others likely won't be increased for the same reason.  They're just using those assumptions for the models to make calculations on which to base offset requirements.  After all of this is finalized, authority over speed limits will go back to TxDOT, who will then set limits according to their normal practices, which may include increases above 2001 levels or to 75.  With this arrangement, two-step increases (65 to 70 then 70 to 75) are not problematic, as they were under the initial proposal.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2014, 12:36:35 PM »

The managed lanes along I-35E and I-635 will have 70 mph speed limits under the speed zone minute order this month.  At least a part of them already have Speed Limit 70 signs.  This isn't technically related to environmental speed limits, since those stretches of road didn't get environmental limits since the old speed limits weren't high enough, but it is a case of higher limits.  These are the only 70 mph speed limits on non-NTTA roads in Dallas County.
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dfwmapper

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2014, 12:55:04 PM »

These are the only 70 mph speed limits on non-NTTA roads in Dallas County.
SH 161 between the PGBT and the PGBT Western Extension is 70mph, as is the bit of SH 121 between Sandy Lake/Grapevine Mills and the south end of the SRT.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2014, 04:32:33 PM »

These are the only 70 mph speed limits on non-NTTA roads in Dallas County.
SH 161 between the PGBT and the PGBT Western Extension is 70mph, as is the bit of SH 121 between Sandy Lake/Grapevine Mills and the south end of the SRT.

Thank you for the corrections.  I knew about SH 161, but it skipped my attention because it connects two NTTA sections.  I'd forgotten about the stretch of SH 121 you mentioned.  Those sections had lower speed limits in 2001 and no environmental limits were established there, leaving TxDOT free to increase limits when they found it suitable.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 04:42:42 PM by wxfree »
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2014, 12:54:35 AM »

We're basically there.  It should be done in the spring.  Most of the planned changes are shown on maps in this file.  Some roads still need to be studied more.  The numbers in the squares show planned speed limits on roads that don't have environmental speed limits.  There are quite a few increases there, too.

http://www.nctcog.org/trans/committees/rtc/documents/Item_9.rtc111314.pdf
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 01:12:46 AM by wxfree »
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dfwmapper

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2014, 06:00:22 AM »

Loving those changes to the eastern portion of LBJ and everything in Ellis County. Next step is for NTTA to follow in Austin's footsteps and raise all the toll roads to 75 where appropriate.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2014, 02:05:02 PM »

Loving those changes to the eastern portion of LBJ and everything in Ellis County. Next step is for NTTA to follow in Austin's footsteps and raise all the toll roads to 75 where appropriate.

The maps show NTTA roads that had environmental speed limits (those that existed in 2001 and had speed limits of at least 65) as "to be studied," even where the speed limit is already 70.  NTTA had its environmental speed limits removed some years back, by offsetting emissions increases with the improved efficiency of all electronic toll collection.  The maps suggest that they're looking at further increases.  Only the ESL roads are labelled on the maps, because the maps show the disposition of ESL roads, but they're presumably also looking at the newer roads, too.
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2015, 03:26:15 AM »

The first, as far as I've seen, of the speed limit increases has been officially adopted.  The Weatherford city council has increased the speed limit on I-20 within the city from 65 to 70, as recommended by TxDOT.  According to the most recent information I've seen, TxDOT is expected to approve speed limit increases across the Fort Worth and Dallas districts at the end of this month, including I-20 across the rest of Parker County.  Under Texas law, a city can adjust speed limits on state-maintained roads within its boundaries, although a speed limit approved by the state commission supersedes one approved by a city, so cities generally rely on TxDOT recommendations or pass ordinances affirming TxDOT minute orders so that the city can prosecute speeding offenses in the municipal courts (and thereby keep the fine money instead of losing it to the county through state law enforcing JP courts).
http://www.weatherforddemocrat.com/news/council-approves-speed-limit-change-meets-new-staff-member/article_95569fba-9c55-11e4-8269-235c61e5f953.html
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2015, 05:43:39 PM »

The minute order is now available.  I've analyzed it and produced a map.  This map shows only increases in speed limit.

Yellow means 70, red diamonds mean 65, red lines mean 75.

Points of interest: 70 on US 75 will begin at Spur 366.  65 on I-35E will begin near the Mixmaster.  65 on I-30 in Dallas will begin near Fair Park.  65 on I-30 in Fort Worth will being near Hulen St. 65 on US 175 will begin at SH 310.  I-35W will be 70 all the way across Tarrant County, but existing work zone speed limits supersede that increase through work zones.

It will be neat to have all 70 or higher routes across the area both east-west and north-south.

http://www.patternsandprinciples.com/otherfiles/rs/postesl.jpg

I think I have this figured out now.  I'm not certain what happens when an environmental speed limit (or a regular speed limit, for that matter) is cancelled and not replaced with a new one.  I'd guess that means it goes back to what it was before.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 08:11:33 PM by wxfree »
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MaxConcrete

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2015, 07:15:06 PM »

I'm pleased to see these changes, but some seem illogical to me.
Why is I-45 in south Dallas county (semi-rural) 65mph, but I-635 and US 75 Central Expressway 70 mph? If any freeway should be 65, it is Central Expressway due to the number of ramps and tight space.

Still, I'm not complaining. I-45 was 55 mph in south Dallas County until recently, and then 60 mph all the way to Corsicana.

dfwmapper

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2015, 07:53:10 PM »

Link to the MO?
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wxfree

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Re: Higher Speed Limits Considered in near Dallas Freeways
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2015, 08:21:06 PM »

Link to the MO?

http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/commission/2015/0129/14g.pdf

Some of the environmental speed limits were not cancelled.  Some of them were cancelled and replaced with the same speed limit.  Some of them were cancelled and replaced only inside city limits, to supersede any city ordinances that enacted the lower speed limit.  Some were cancelled and not replaced.  Some environmental speed limits were cancelled even though they don't seem to exist.

Some of the control section numbers used are incorrectly shown on the statewide planning map.  If you want to figure out what's been done where, you'll need to compare the minute order with these old documents that archive the enactment of the environmental speed limits.  The control section numbers in the minute order align with the ones shown in these documents.  I downloaded these from the NCTCOG web site.

This is a map that shows where the reductions were enacted, and it shows the Segment ID numbers used in the other document.  http://www.patternsandprinciples.com/otherfiles/rs/ESL_Map.pdf

This is a list of the reductions.  This is where you see the correct descriptions of the control section numbers and mile points (note that the descriptions are approximations; the mile points are exact).
http://www.patternsandprinciples.com/otherfiles/rs/TXDOT%20Speeds%201201.pdf
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 09:20:06 PM by wxfree »
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