Dear Traffic Commission

Dear esteemed members of the local traffic commission:

It has come to my attention that you have used a great deal of our hard-earned tax dollars to put up a great many of these remote, radar-gun warning signs in the area. You know, the ones which display your speed as you pass by and get progressively more excited and frantic in their displays as your speed allegedly goes more and more over the posted speed limit. For brevity, I’ll refer to them as “robo-radars.”

I have a few observations to make about some of the individual devices.

The one by the high school is pretty good. It sets the gold standard for the others. As far as I can tell it is pretty accurate, judging by the speedometers on my cars. It flashes if anyone is going over the speed limit. We get the message and we feel appropriately shamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. We promise to do better next time, every time we set it off. Really, we do.

The one down by the freeway is completely inaccurate. I’ve gotten to the point where I will very deliberately cruise by it at 35 (it’s a 40 mph zone) with no one else on the road so it can’t be giving me information based on another car. It consistently reads about 41 or 42, even when I’m doing 35. We ignore this one since it’s a lying bastard, not to be trusted. We call it “Larry the Liar.”

The one up by the reservoir is also annoying. It’s actually on the same pole as the “Speed Limit 40” sign, yet still goes bananas, flashing and warning us to slow down, while displaying a (reasonably accurate) speed of 36 or 38. If I want to get scolded and judged when I haven’t done anything wrong, I’ll start going back to church. We call this one “False Positive Fred.”

The one by the shopping center? It’s seems to be broken as well, completely unable to display a speed of over 45. (It’s also in a 40 mph zone.) I first started to suspect this one when I saw cars roaring past me like I was standing still, but no one ever got a reading of more than 48. I’ve now tested it myself and verified this. Please fix this machine — if I’m going to be out there on a residential street doing 75 to test your machine, it would be nice if you cared about it working correctly.

Finally, when I go running toward and past one of these signs, it never registers my presence. Never lights up, never flashes, never gives any reading at all. I’ll admit that I’m not running that fast (before you make any snarky comments, let’s see your butt out there doing five or six miles one of these days) but I’m not running that slow either. I thought at first that it might be because your robo-radars have a lower limit set in their design, beneath which it ignores movement. However, going out and driving by one exactly as fast as I run, the display lights up and gives me a speed. (To the guy in the BMW behind me while I conducted this test, thanks, I think you’re number one as well!)

I can only assume that this particular robo-radar is looking for a metal surface to get a return signal from, and my pasty, flabby carcass isn’t getting the job done. In order to test this theory, I intend to wrap my body in tin foil and run past it again. I’ll get back to you on the efficacy of the technique, if the cops haven’t gotten back to your first. Or the men in white coats.

In summary, you seem to have spent a lot of money on warning signs that give false positives, are highly inaccurate, and are totally useless in timing my marathon training. We can only be grateful that you didn’t hook your inaccurate robot minions to cameras and automatic ticketing systems like the freakin’ idiots in Arizona did. (No, I did not get a speeding ticket in Arizona, but only by driving in such a fashion as to make half the state indicate that they think I’m number one as well.)

If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced consultant to help you troubleshoot the problem and research potential solutions (i.e., I want to get paid to run past these thing swaddled in Alcoa’s finest), you have my number.



1 Comment

Filed under Farce, Freakin' Idiots!, Los Angeles, Running

One response to “Dear Traffic Commission

  1. Ronnie

    I especially like their names


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