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Orem may raise city street speed limits

OREM — On many Orem streets, most of the motorists are violating the speed limits. So the city is proposing to raise the limits.

A steering committee appointed by the City Council recently recommended increasing the speed limits on most of Orem's secondary thoroughfares.

The changes, which have been in the works for the past two years and still need City Council approval, are part of revisions to the city's transportation master plan.

The increased speed limits are based on the speed that 85 percent of the vehicles travel at or below. The proposed changes also take into account street conditions and the locations of parks, schools and other facilities that generate large amounts of pedestrian traffic.

"We feel simply that this is the right way to go and that safety will be increased," said Chris Tschirki, Orem transportation engineer.

The ability to enforce the new speed limits would be improved, said police spokesman Lt. Doug Edwards.

Rather than writing tickets all day for drivers speeding on those roads, officers would be able to enforce a posted speed limit that most drivers already drive.

"It's going to be easier on enforcement," Edwards said.

The changes are proposed for streets designed to handle higher speeds, said Bill Fairbanks, chairman of the citizens committee.

"Drive behind people on those roads and see how fast they're going," he said. "People driving down those roads are already doing those speeds."

The affected streets cut through neighborhoods and are bordered by homes, schools and parks, including the city's new skate park.

That worries Madeleine Eggertsen, 88, who lives across the street from the skate park. She said children are always coming and going from the skate park.

"I don't think it's right. There's too many kids," Eggertsen said. "If they raise the speed limit, they'll go even faster."

Tschirki said that isn't the case. Most people drive at speeds at which they feel comfortable regardless of the speed limit. If they raise the speed limit, people would drive as fast as they have in the past, he said.

"Most people drive in a safe and practical manner," Tschirki said. "They feel comfortable at that speed. They're not lawbreakers."