Ballenger Creek Speed

The Frederick County Office of Transportation Engineering has announced that the speed limit on Ballenger Creek Pike will be reduced from 40 mph to 35 mph on June 24. This sign is just north of Corporate Drive.

Drivers on a section of Ballenger Creek Pike may have to hit the brakes soon, as the county prepares to reduce the speed limit on the stretch of road.

The speed limit will be dropped from 40 mph to 35 mph on about 3 miles of the road, from just north of Crestwood Boulevard to Elmer Derr Road, beginning June 24.

A recent speed study at Lambert Drive recently found that speeds in the area were more than the posted limits, Washington said.

The speed limit in school zones at arrival and dismissal times will also be reduced, from 35 mph to 30 mph.

The area is home to Tuscarora High School, Ballenger Creek Middle School and Tuscarora Elementary School.

Once the change goes into effect, plaques will be added above the speed limit signs at major intersections for several months to draw attention to the change, said Thomas Washington, project manager for the Frederick County Office of Transportation Engineering.

The change will help create more consistency between Ballenger Creek Pike, New Design Road and English Muffin Way in the area, Washington said.

The Ballenger Creek Pike corridor has had a lot of development, he said.

Tuscarora High School also means there are many student drivers in the area, he said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(10) comments

ljohnsonmead

Great Idea~~~ Everyone is zooming through there. Just slow down a bit and then go on.

mrnatural1

On any road or highway, the speed limit should be set using the established civil engineering standard of "the 85th percentile speed". That is roughly defined as the speed 85% of drivers would travel at (or below) given good conditions and no threat of enforcement. IOW, a *reasonable* limit.

Unfortunately, speed limits are often set by pandering politicians. The posted limit may end up being the 40th percentile speed, making criminals out of 60% of drivers, for no reason other than to placate some constituents making a lot of noise.

I'm not suggesting that's the case with Ballenger Creek Pike, but it happens a lot.

And of course no fixed limit is correct for all potential conditions. In good weather, when traffic is light, a higher limit may be appropriate. In bad weather it should be lower. Some areas use electronic signs so that the limit can be changed, but they are expensive, so they are usually used in areas that have frequent fog and/or snow.

Ideally, the limit would be "reasonable and prudent" which was the case in Iowa, Montana, and a few other Western and Midwestern states back in the day.

msmith6276

Good point - the best example is N. Market in front of the Banner School. The traffic department made the point in front of the council that speed limits should not be dictated by the politicians - the council went ahead and lowered the limit (which seem to be pretty much ignored)

mrnatural1

msmith6276,

What you describe is very common -- when politicians ignore civil engineers and long established procedures, speed limits are often set at well below the 85th percentile speed, and as a result many responsible, safe drivers ignore them.

When speed limits are set below the 85th percentile speed, it can actually be quite dangerous -- especially on highways -- because it creates two groups of drivers: a) the group that obeys the letter of the law, no matter how ridiculous it may be, and b) those who prefer to drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent.

Neither group is 'wrong', but it can create a dangerous, stressful situation in which some drivers stick to the limit, say 55 mph, and others naturally want to travel near the 85th percentile speed, which might be (say) 70 or 75 mph.

As for the situation on North Market, I'm not familiar with what the limit was, should be, or is currently, but if it is set below the 85th percentile and cops are writing tickets left and right, that is the classic definition of a "speed trap" -- a road that is posted at well below what the limit is on similar roads, so that if drivers happen to miss a sign they will likely be "speeding".

Brookhawk

Virtually everyone driving on any road around here is going 10+ mph over the limit. Reducing the speed limit will mean only that they are going 15+ mph over the limit. When I do 55 on US 15 I'm nearly run down, unless the traffic is so congested it crawls. Get north of SR 26 and almost all drivers are doing 70+. Get real with enforcement if you want to get people to slow down - and make some money for the county at the same time. Not that I expect that to happen.

richardlyons

I fail to see how lowering the speed limit will reduce speeding on that stretch of BC Pike. You change drivers bad behavior (maybe) through enforcement.

Ozonemare

Yes.. that parking on the side of the road is dangerous

KMRD1

Hope “No Parking or Stopping†signs are added at Tuscarora High so parents don’t drop their kids off out on the road.

DickD

They do it all the time right now. It's difficult to drive during the time students are getting out.

mrnatural1

Dick and KMRD1, Our property taxes pay for school buses. Why aren't kids using them? This subject came up before regarding the same practice in Middletown. Most people have EZ-Pass transponders (or can easily get them if they don't). Perhaps the school system should start assessing a fee for parents who insist on driving their little darlings to and/or from school. I'm sure some have a legit need, and they could be exempt, but any kid who can ride the bus should ride the bus, period. If the parents dropping off and picking up kids is making it difficult to drive, then something needs to be done.

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