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Slow Down!

Drivers in some parts of downtown Del Mar have to slow down.
The city recently redid a stretch of Camino Del Mar between 9th and 11th Streets. The restriping work included new on-street parking and wider bicycle lanes. A subsequent engineering study found that the average speed had dropped about 3mph. So, in a 4-0 decision, the City Council voted to reduce the speed limit from 35mph to 30mph in some areas, and 35mph to 25mph in other areas.
Officials indicated that further street work and speed limit reductions may be forthcoming.
Setting the Speed Limit
Assuming that cars were travelling just slightly below the speed limit, lowering the speed limit by 10mph does not seem warranted by the engineering survey. The lower speed limit may be more about downtown redevelopment or complaints from a determined neighbor more than sound engineering practices.
According to the law in California, the speed limit must be set at the 85th percentile of the average speed on most non highway roads. Assuming the average speed was 32mph, the speed limit should be no greater that 27.2mph. In that scenario, the speed limit should be set at 30 or 35. But there is flexibility for cities when in a business district, school district, or school zone, and/or there have been a higher frequency of accidents in the area. But oftentimes cities, and particularly small cities like Lamont or Shafter, do not follow all of the procedures in setting a lower speed and your ticket could be thrown out of court.
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