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Speed Limit

"STOP —or at least slow down — and THINK!"

 

 

Mowbray Arch on The Hague has a combination of qualities not found on typical residential streets, and these should justify a lower speed limit than 25mph.

Mowbray Arch is a long curve bending around The Hague. This limits drivers’ forward visibility. Plus the right-of-way is narrow where cars are parked on one side of the street, and particularly narrow where they are allowed to park on both sides.

Mowbray Arch is in a quiet residential neighborhood.  For its entire length along The Hague it borders a public park (with park benches and public trash receptacles and "park closed sunset to sunrise" signs), namely the bank of The Hague. This scenic area is a magnet for sightseers, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, picknickers, and many kids from the neighborhood. Consider, too, that drivers these days are often distracted by their smartphones, making their driving on such a street even more hazardous to pedestrians. Also consider that cars these days are much qauieter than they used to be when the roar of their engines warned they were coming from some distance away.

Everyone who walks along The Hague has seen cars speed by on Mowbray Arch. Some of us, pedestrians as well as cyclists, have even come close to being hit. But even the current speed limit of 25 mph is too high (by the way, drivers, that means a 25 mph maximum speed limit, not minimum). A 15 mph max makes more sense, especially considering that most drivers seem to routinely exceed the speed limit by 5-10 mph.

Another measure would be some excessive-speed detecting cameras. Ticketing the speeders would surely modify their behavior — and make Mowbray Arch safer. But how likely are the members of the Norfolk City Council to vote for anything so controversial?

 

"The City does not have a process for the consideration of the change of speed limits on City streets below the City statutory code of 25MPH on residential streets" — Norfolk Cares

DUH, time for a process for coming up with a new process?

 

Mowbray Arch (yellow) and the arched part (orange), where reduced speed may be most important:

 

Yes, between the sidewalk and The Hague, it is indeed a public park:

 

A Cautionary Tale...

On November 17, 2018, a bright, sunny day, a City of Norfolk Public Works truck proceding southeast on Mowbray, and carrying a load of traffic cones, bounced off a power pole, mowed down a lamp post, plowed through about 60 feet of soft soil (and some new wetlands plantings covered by straw) on the bank of The Hague before plunging into the water. The three Public Works employees in the truck ended up plenty wet, but apparently otherwise unharmed. A plucky and heroic 70-year-old landscaper who happened to be driving by stopped his pickup truck and dove into The Hague to pull them out.

No one was on the sidewalk in the path of the truck at the time, but what if...

 

Rumor has it that the driver claimed he inadvertently hit the curb, which caused the truck to bounce. He then over corrected and accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake peddle. One has to wonder how fast he was going before he took a big chunk out of a power pole, mowed down a lamp post, then ploughed through about 60 feet of soft, wet soil::

 

The hapless power pole that the truck sideswiped:

 

A bent steel spike:

 

Wood from the pole in the form of splinters, plus fragments of glass and plastic from the trucks side mirror, were strewn 40' or more across the ground:

 

Poswer company worker comforts a fallen lamp post. Last rites were necessary::

 

The next day, another casualty, the new wetlands plantings the City had just installed a couple of weeks before. That straw laid over the little plants didn't provide much protection from truck tires and the large steel plates put down (near center of photo) to support the tow truck:

 

Salvagable?

 

At least its load of traffic cones remained dry:

 

That night a large commercial tow truck fished the unruly City truck out of The Hague:

 

At least the mishap provided a great metaphorical image for Norfolk.

The floating paper could be the Dear John letter from the Army Corps of Engineers' flood mitigation division. Not sure what the floating blue feather in the foreground repesents (NOTE TO SELF: Research Native American apocalypse symbols):

 

 

MowbrayArch.com

 

 

 

 

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