Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Santa Monica Radar Speed Signs Inform Drivers That They're Going Too Damn Fast.

Signs serve the secondary purpose of gathering traffic flow statistics

 

Santa Monica police officer John Gallagher with speed sign.

Officer John Gallagher has worked for the Santa Monica Police Department for 18 years. He loves the traffic division, which he has served for the last eight years.

“I enjoy traffic. There’s nothing I’d rather do,” he says while installing a radar speed sign on 9th street. The sign is located just two blocks down from Roosevelt elementary school. Parents and children may frequently be seen walking North in the morning, and South from school in the afternoon.

Officer Gallagher says the sign is intended to do two things: inform drivers of the speed at which they are driving, and gather statistics on the speed at which traffic is moving through a neighborhood. Reaction to these statistics might include speed bumps or a stop sign for the neighborhoods future.

A radar speed sign is an interactive sign, generally constructed of a series of LEDs, that displays vehicle speed as motorists approach. This according to Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radar_speed_sign

The purpose of radar speed signs is to slow cars down by making drivers aware when they are driving at speeds above the posted limits. They are used as a traffic calming device in addition to or instead of physical devices such as speed humps, speed cushions, speed tables, and speed bumps.

The devices have been referred to by a wide variety of names, a partial list of which follows: driver feedback sign, radar signs, Vehicle Activated Sign (UK), changeable message sign, Your Speed sign, radar feedback sign, speed radar sign, radar speed display, speed feedback sign, traffic calming sign, speed display board, dynamic speed display (DSDS) or variable message sign.

Radar speed signs are often used in school zones, sometimes in conjunction with Safe Routes to School programs, in construction zones, or on busy residential roads. Some college and corporate campuses use radar speed signs to slow traffic as well. Many plants are using these signs to monitor forklifts and other type trucks. There are steps to placing a radar speed sign.

Speed display signs are sometimes used in conjunction with physical traffic calming solutions. They are also used on streets that cities do not want to put physical measures on either because of snow concerns or traffic volume. Often, cities will use these signs to test streets to determine the need for further traffic calming.

 

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