03 Apr Interactive Speed Limit Signs Tell You To Slow Down in Montesano
New speed limit signs at the East and West entrances welcome you to Montesano, as long as you’re not speeding. If you haven’t been by lately, Police Chief Brett Vance explains “They are speed radar signs that flash your active speed. They change colors from the higher speeds to the lower speeds and of course, green is good.”
The Evolis radar speed sign sits above the speed limit sign and shows your speed on a tri-color LED display, in red if you’re speeding, and green if not. Below that, a two-line reader board tells you to “SLOW DOWN” until you’ve reached 25, then Welcomes you to Montesano.
Vance said system frees up his officers, “You know our goal isn’t to go out and write tickets every day. Unfortunately, it’s a part of our job to enforce traffic laws but if we can get people to slow down without enforcement action; even better.” He couldn’t say exactly how much he’s saved the city by not having to place an officer in those locations all day, but he quickly agreed it was more than the $2,500 price tag per sign.
They still have their old radar trailer, but Vance said it’s just not useful anymore. He added, “Our trailer was built.” The tires go flat the batteries don’t last and it has to be towed to the scene and chained in place.
These new signs have a solar panel for charging a 12-volt battery that powers the two readouts, a radar, and a computer that allows Vance to enter any message he wants. He said any message he wants, “I’m able to change the wording, ‘Welcome to Montesano’ or course, ‘slow down’ and things like that. I can put anything on there. I hope that someday I can say ‘Congratulations Bulldogs State Champs.’ You know, ‘Merry Christmas’ I mean you can change it for holidays.”
If you’re using this time to ask about the placement of the signs, Vance notes that the speed limit everywhere in Montesano is 25 MPH. And on the condition of the roads; the repairs to Pioneer were stalled by the weather as we reported in October.
The signs also keep track of all the traffic that passes them, putting a traffic study at the chief’s fingertips. The signs were partially funded by a grant from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation last year. Vance said his department matched those funds and purchased the poles.
The chief said he’s working on getting more, “Yeah, I’m excited about it, I’m excited to get more of them around town I think it’s definitely a good community thing.” He’s hoping to go out for another grant to fund more, the first at the State Route 107 entrance into the city, followed by one at each end of Beacon Avenue and eventually one or two on McBride.