Petaluma, California Speed Traps
Leaving town heading towards 101 S. entrance; the stretches before and after the roundabout.
On 1/31/12 I posted a Petaluma speed trap location. This is a follow up and the Sonoma County Superior Court speeding violation case held on 3/7/12. After 6 months of research I submitted a legal brief with documentation proving that the Petaluma DPW Engineering and Traffic study which set the 30 mph limit was invalid. Commissioner Ornell took the case under advisement and ruled Not Guilty.
There is a strict methodology for doing Engineering and Traffic Studies. Many local communities, Rhonert Park, Santa Rosa and even Petaluma when they choose to do so follow the correct methodology. Speed studies must be done on Off-Peak hours between 9am-4pm during Free Flow traffic conditions. The E. Washington 2009 Traffic study was conducted at 8:15am-8:40am. Documentation was submitted from local DPW Engineers verfying Off-Peak methodology. Previous Speed studies on E. Washington set the limit at 35mph. It was lowered to 30 mph as a justification for alledged increase in vehicular collisions. Interestingly the records obtained through the Ca. Public Records Act do not conclusively verify that. Local communities are under intense pressure to raise revenue due to economic conditions. The Petaluma City Council and Police Department rubber stamped the 2009 Speed Study without giving it a second thought.
I would strongly suggest anyone receiving a speeding violation to look carefully at the Engineering and Traffic Study methodology in terms of when it was conducted.
There is a radar/lidar speed trap here on Washington St. between the Blvd and Howard where it turns into Bodega. Cop hides behind a bush somewhere about Keller St. (across from the Phoenix theater). The speed limit is 25 mph (unsubstatiated by traffic surveys) and is 4-lanes wide open. Ticketed for 36 mph here, standard flow of traffic.
I received a speeding ticket, on August 11. I came off 101S at Washington St. exit. Right at light into traffic from overpass. Cop pulls me over within a few hundred feet before Ellis St. Tells me I was doing 42 in a 30 zone. 30 mph on a major 4-lane connecting road to 101, downtown Petaluma! Asked me if I knew the speed limit. Since I live in Santa Rosa, and spend 95% of my time driving there, I said, “No.” All the 4-lane connection roads in Santa Rosa to Hwy 101(Guernville-College) are 40/35 mph. Cop gave me a ticket. More revenue for Petaluma. Now, it gets interesting. The Petaluma DPW Civil Engineers who do the Engineering and Traffic Studies are not licensed as Traffic Engineers. That is a separate license through the Board of Engineers in Sacramento. They are unqualified. The studies are bogus. The radar used in traffic studies to set speed limits must be done with free flow traffic, not peak commuter times, early am. late pm.. Peak traffic bunches cars together which leads to inacurate reading. The studies can be challenged which no one does. The Petaluma City Government rubber stamps them, people go to Court with a poor defense, and hope for reduced fines. It doesn’t have to happen. You can fight the power! Get Nolo Press, Fight your Ticket and Win in California. If enough people do this the Local governments and Police will get the message . Fight intelligently EVERY ticket! Do the homework. Demand your rights under the California Public Records Act of 2004. Make the local Prosecutor earn his/her money.
Cop sits in the PGE parking lot and points the radar up the hill towards the freeway overpass if you are coming from Petaluma Blvd heading towards McDowell.