On my way to church this past Sunday, I caught myself driving down Sheyenne at a rate higher than the posted speed. I was thinking about how Sheyenne Street, south of I-94 is wide open and I was very comfortable going the speed I was, along with the other vehicles. It’s a common occurrence, and it’s gotten to a point that a vehicle going the limit is almost more of a hazard than someone following the law of the road.
I turned on to 40th Ave and traveled the last little bit to church at the limit. Seeing the limit there was 40, 5 mph higher than Sheyenne. The road is narrower, and I felt comfortable going the limit, maybe even a bit slower.
What’s the difference?
Sheyenne Street is over-engineered. There’s reasons why roads are made so much bigger than they need to be. It’s about potential expansion of the area and increased traffic. However, with road diets becoming so popular now, one literally happening at the other end of town, one would think you’d want to build a road a bit smaller. I know I do.
You may be asking why. Well, having a large road hits your pocket book at least three times (potentially). First comes the maintenance of the larger road. There’s more to clear, more median to mow, more area for trash to collect and sweep up. That hits your property tax. We’re talking about West Fargo, so there’s always the Special Assessment (at least for now). With increased pavement and width of road comes greater expense for the building of the road, now hitting your pocketbook twice. Now, if you’re like me, and drive at a speed with the flow of traffic and you’re comfortable with (not always compatible), you may be unfortunate enough to drive by a police officer that catches you and gives you a ticket, and that’s your third time.
So why do I bring this up? As a commissioner I will be asking the need for such large roads if any projects are presented. Why are things over-engineered, why must we build a road built for 45 miles an hour but set the limit at 35? We need to watch the spending on projects and be good stewards with the publics’ money. One thing you can count on from me is I’ll be asking why we need to have a road designed for a speed higher than we’re intending to put it at.