32nd Street: a dastardly scheme or ribbon of safety?


32nd Street: a dastardly scheme or ribbon of safety?

I have been driving down 32nd Street quite a bit lately. So why is the speed limit so low (25 mph) for this wide, straight road with a large median? Certainly it should be at least 30 mph, like College Drive. Also, the cops like to hang out at the mini-storage and trap speeders driving 30 mph as they head into town from East Animas Road (County Road 250). Is this done to raise more money for the city or to frustrate drivers or what? Your investigative skills on this matter are much appreciated! – A Concerned Local

The real question here is why anyone would rush down 32nd Street? Especially when the section from the bridge to North Main is in atrocious shape.

Why just the other day, Mrs. Action drove up to north City Market to get a gallon of milk. After enduring a particularly violent buffeting on the return trip, she discovered the milk had turned into cottage cheese.

A cynical conspiracy theorist would conclude that the city of Durango secretly owns all of the tire-alignment shops in town as well as cornering the market on shock absorbers.

Thus, with the city’s police force vigilantly writing tickets on one end of 32nd and the burro-trail maintenance schedule on the other, it’s the perfect but nefarious cash-generating system.

See what happens when an electric co-op franchise fee is rejected and the city has to figure out how to come up with a million bucks a year?

Of course, that’s a “cowpie of distortion,” to borrow a phrase from President Obama.

And that doesn’t answer your question.

So why is 32nd Street posted at 25 mph? The main reason is that 32nd might seem like an arterial access road to you, but it’s really a residential city street, and residential streets are 25 mph in accordance with long-standing traffic-engineering standards.

Granted, it’s a wide street with bike lanes and a big ol’ median, but it’s still a residential street with many driveways.

Since you bring up College Drive, the speed limit there ranges from 25 to 35. Where there are homes and driveways, such as along North College Drive, the speed limit is 25. There are also speed bumps that make 32nd Street seem downright smooth.

The speed bumps were installed because the neighborhood was sick of boneheads pretending to be NASCAR drivers.

Any further talk of raising the speed limit on 32nd might inspire neighbors there to petition for speed bumps, too. Ain’t nobody gonna like that!

Also, Action Line recalls back in mid-’80s or sometime there about, 32nd Street was 30 or 35 mph. There’s a vague memory of a child on a bike being hit by a speeding car and the city responded by lowering the limit to its current 25 mph status.

That could be totally inaccurate, so please write in if you remember the details or confirm that Action Line is off his rocker, which is most likely the case.

Regardless, there is a child-safety issue currently on 32nd Street. Next time you drive the road, look for the sign alerting us that a hearing-impaired kid lives nearby. We should all drive 24.9 mph just for that reason alone.

As for the constabulary citing scofflaws, they are only doing their job. If the police don’t enforce the law, pretty soon we’ll have speed creep.

Speed creep isn’t that out-of-state motorcyclist who crossed the double yellow, offered a one-fingered salutation and passed Action Line, who was driving the posted speed limit adjacent to Sunshine Gardens.

Speed creep is the tendency for traffic to go faster and faster if left unchecked by law enforcement.

Let’s look at 32nd Street as a ribbon of calm and an opportunity to slow down, breathe deeply, drive safely and enjoy the scenery.

Make 32nd Street your happy place instead of a source of frustration or angst.

Which is especially important for jostled jalopies coming off the Animas River Bridge or roiled roadsters about to run the gauntlet across the railroad tracks.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you please take the studded snow tires off your vehicle. It’s June for cryin’ out loud.

32nd Street: a dastardly scheme or ribbon of safety?

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