Isn’t It Time for Garden City to Increase the Speed Limit on Chinden?
Take It To the [Speed] Limit
It was the fall of 1975 when the Eagles first dared us to "Take It to the Limit."
The hit song off their fourth studio album, One of the These Nights, reached no. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also made some of us feel like Jimmy Johnson behind the wheel for the next four decades.
Unfortunately, traffic cops never did (and never will) see things that way. Eagles fans or not, they enforced speed limits and issued tickets like it was their job.
The Who, How, & Why of Idaho Speed Limits
Listen, we get it. Speed limits exist to tame our inner Nascar driver. Whether it's 25 or 65 miles-per-hour, the Idaho Transportation Department points out a municipality's posted speed limit is the "maximum speed that is safe to drive when there are no obstacles or distractions, and the pavement is dry."
But after earning a few stripes on our driving record, several of which we could've disputed in court but were too busy/lazy to do so, we wondered: who decides how fast we can drive? It sure as heck isn't Randy Meisner, Glenn Lewis, or Don Henley. And beyond who, how does this person or entity decide what's considered safe?
Per federal guidelines, the Idaho Transportation Department passes the buck to traffic engineers. The smart fellas in hardhats ballpark speed limits based off how fast or slow 85% of motorists drive in a given region. They reason that "laws restricting the majority of drivers encourage violations, lack support, and generally fail to produce changes in driving behavior."
Garden City Missed the Memo
It appears Garden City traffic engineers missed the last part of that memo. The 35 mph speed limit they slapped on Chinden Blvd. between Glenwood and the I-84 ramp dramatically restricts the majority of drivers and encourages violations up the yin-yang.
In case you missed it, Tiny Garden City Made Big Money in Speeding Tickets Last Year. The underdog of the Treasure Valley racked up $57,000 in revenue in 2022. For context, it outdid Meridian which has 10 times as many residents!
According to the Idaho Press, the Garden City Police Department polices Chinden Blvd. agenda-free. They're simply enforcing the posted speed limit. Roger that, but don't the numbers indicate it's time to increase the cap? The speed limit for the majority of Chinden Blvd. is 50 to 55 mph. Because the stretch between Glenwood and I-84 largely features big businesses and hardly any foot traffic, what's the hold-up?
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