Locals prevent Inverness speed-limit increase

04/18/2013

Friendly signs posted along the roadside in Inverness Park warn drivers to drive carefully. “Slow down and it relax,” the signs read. “Share the road,” says another.

But the town’s limited-visibility driveways, many marked with convex mirrors, and its retail hub—a hive of pedestrian activity and a stopover for bicyclists and motorists visiting Point Reyes National Seashore—are crosshatched with the winding stream of a treelined, wildlife-traversed primary road, Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, without marked crosswalks.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors declined on Tuesday to pass an ordinance that would increase the speed limit from 40 to 45 miles per hour on a two-mile section of the boulevard between Inverness Park and Inverness. The increase was suggested to bring the county in compliance with a state law that requires speed limits to be set at a “prevailing rate,” the speed driven by 85 percent of drivers.

But county engineers revisited the issue after receiving six complaints from local residents as well as opposition from the Inverness Ridge Association, the Inverness Association and the Marin County Bike Coalition. State law allows adjustments to speed if they are based on local hazard findings, according to the county’s transportation manager, Bob Goralka.

The town’s precarious intersections and the death of a 79-year-old bicyclist last week hung over the supervisors’ deliberations Tuesday as they considered the ordinance.
No one spoke in support of the speed-limit increase.

County officials said the old limit was unenforceable due to the fact that it was based on an outdated survey, but the new limit can be legally enforced by radar.