Speed Limit Sign Design Guidelines

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City Guidelines Regarding the Installation of “Speed Limit” (R2-1) Signs
Traffic Services Division of the Department of Public Works

Governing Document Reference:

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD), 2009 or latest edition and the Overland Park Municipal Code (OPMC), Title 12 – Traffic, Chapter 12.04.

MUTCD Requirements:

“Speed Limit” (R2-1) signs shall display the speed limit as establish by law, ordinance, regulation, or as adopted by the authorized agency based on an engineering study. The speed limits displayed shall be in multiples of 5 mph. The speed posted should be the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic rounded up to the nearest 5 mph increment.
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“Speed Limit” (R2-1) signs, indicating speed limits for which posting is required by law, shall be located at the points of change from one speed limit to another. At the downstream end of the section to which a speed limit applies, a “Speed Limit” sign showing the next speed limit shall be installed. Additional “Speed Limit” signs shall be installed beyond major intersections and at other locations where it is necessary to remind road users of the speed limit that is applicable.

City of Overland Park Guidelines for Installation:

A field investigation is required to determine if a “Speed Limit” sign is to be installed. Overland Park Municipal Code 12.04.033“Speed Limitations; Restrictions” establishes appropriate speeds on particular streets. The general guidelines are as follows:

Street Classification Posted Speed Limit
Divided Thoroughfare 45 mph with limited access
Divided Thoroughfare 35 mph with minimal access control
Undivided Thoroughfare 35 mph
Collector Streets (36’ back to back) 30 mph
Collector Streets (< 36’ back to back) 25 mph or 30 mph
Residential Streets 25 mph unless narrow or substandard curves
Downtown Areas 20 mph

On Residential Streets:

It is not the intent to install “Speed Limit” signs on residential streets within sub-divisions where the primary traffic is generated from citizens that reside within. “Speed Limit” signs are generally installed on residential streets at locations where traffic would be entering from a street that has a higher posted speed limit. The intent is to provide the motorist information in regard to an impending change in posted speed, which may otherwise be difficult to perceive. “Speed Limit” signs are not normally installed on cul-de-sac streets.

On Collector Streets:

“Speed Limit” signs are generally installed on collector streets at locations where traffic would be entering from a street that has a higher posted speed limit and at intervals not to exceed approximately 1/2-mile intervals. Additional signs may be installed by request if deemed necessary for excessive speeding violations in order to support better enforcement. Changes in speed limit can be achieved upon a spot speed study indicating the 85th percentile speed and as approved by the City Traffic Engineer.

On Thoroughfare Streets:

“Speed Limit” signs are generally installed downstream of thoroughfare-thoroughfare intersections, and downstream of collector street intersections or at approximately the ½ mile points. Additional signs may be installed by request if deemed necessary for excessive speeding violations in order to support better enforcement. Changes in speed limit can be achieved upon a spot speed study indicating the 85th percentile speed and as approved by the City Traffic Engineer.

Exceptions to any of the above requirements may be made if sufficient evidence exists for speeding as gathered by using the “stealthstat” monitoring equipment. The data should be gathered over a 48-hour minimum time period.

Upon investigation of a citizen request, if it is determined that the area is adequately signed according to this suggested guideline, the appropriate location information is forwarded to the Overland Park Police Department for enforcement. If enforcement is not successful in reducing the speeds of the traveling motorist, the location will be reviewed to determine if it meets the warrants for traffic calming measures as established in the Traffic Calming Policy.

Signing Standards:

The “Speed Limit” (R2-1) sign shall have black letters and border, on a retro-reflectorized white background and shall be 24” x 30” on conventional roadways with single lane approaches and on multi-lane conventional roadways with speeds less than or equal to 35 mph. On multi-lane conventional roadways with speeds greater than 35 mph, the sign shall be 30”x36”.

Applicable Overland Park Traffic Ordinances – Chapter 12.04:

12.04.033 Speed Limitations; Restrictions.
(a) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual hazards then existing. Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hill crest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, fixed object, vehicle, or other conveyance lawfully on or entering the highway or lawfully on private or public property.
(b) As used in this Section, “daytime” means from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset; and “nighttime” means any other hour.
(c) Except when a special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with paragraph (a) of this Section, the limits specified in this Section or established as hereinafter authorized shall be maximum lawful speeds, and no person shall operate a vehicle at a speed in excess of such maximum limits:

(1) All vehicles 20 miles per hour in any business district.
(2) All vehicles 25 miles per hour in any residence district except where posted otherwise.
(3) All vehicles 20 miles per hour in any park under the jurisdiction of this City.
(4) Unless posted otherwise, all vehicles 30 miles per hour on streets or highways on which an engineering and traffic investigation has been conducted in an urban district.
(5) Unless posted otherwise, all vehicles 55 miles per hour on arterial streets on which an engineering and traffic investigation has been conducted.
(6) All vehicles on any separated multilane highway, as designated and posted by the Secretary of Transportation, 75 miles per hour.
(7) All vehicles 65 miles per hour in all other locations unless posted otherwise.

(d) The maximum speed limit upon streets or portions of streets abutting school property or adjacent to school crosswalks in those areas designated as school zones shall be the speed limit posted on appropriately erected signs giving notice of the speed limit in said school zones. The maximum speed to be posted within each school zone shall be determined by the City Traffic Engineer provided the speed limit shall not be less than 20 miles per hour. Maximum speed limits within school zones shall be effective and subject to enforcement by law enforcement officers during those time periods set forth on appropriately erected signs giving notice of the effective hours of enforcement or during those times a flashing yellow beacon is in operation with appropriately erected signs indicating the school zone speed limits are enforced during the times the flashing yellow beacon is in operation. The City Traffic Engineer shall determine the times of enforcement for school zones within the City, provided such speed limits shall apply only during the hours in which students are normally en route to or from school.
(e) Whenever the City Traffic Engineer shall determine upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that any speed limit hereinbefore set forth is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist upon any part of a street which said City Traffic Engineer shall determine and declare a reasonable and safe speed limit thereon which shall be effective at all times or during the daytime or nighttime or at such other times as may be determined when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected on such street, pursuant to K.S.A. 8-1560 and K.S.A. 8-2002.

(History: Ord. TC-1260,RRR §9, 2011; TC-1260,ZZ §1, 2003; TC-1260,MM §6, 96; TC-1260,R §1, 89; TC-1260 §32, 84) See: 12.04.002

12.04.034 Minimum Speed Regulation.
(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(b) Whenever the governing body determines on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any highway or part of a highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the governing body may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, and that limit shall be effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or variable signs.

(History: K.S.A.8-1561; Ord. TC-1260 §33, 84)

12.04.035 Special Speed Limitation on Motor-Driven Cycle.
No person shall operate any motor-driven cycle at any time mentioned in 12.04.144 at a speed greater than 35 miles per hour unless such motor-driven cycle is equipped with a head lamp or lamps which are adequate to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of 300 feet ahead.

(History: K.S.A.8-1562; Ord. TC-1260 §34, 84) See: 12.04.182 & 12.04.187

12.04.036 Charging Speed Violations.
In every charge of violation of any speed regulation in this Article, except violation of O.P.M.C. 12-.04.033(a), the complaint, also the summons or notice to appear, shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven, also the speed limit applicable within the district or at the location.

(History: Ord. TC-1260,KKK §3, 2007; K.S.A.8-1564; Ord. TC-1260 §35, 84)

12.04.037 Racing on Highways; "Drag Race" and "Racing" Defined.
(a) No person shall drive any vehicle in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or for the purpose of making a record, and no person shall in any manner participate in any such race, competition, contest, test or exhibition.
(b) No person shall operate any motor vehicle in a manner that unnecessarily causes an exhibition of speed or acceleration.
(c) "Drag race" is defined as the operation of two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to out-distance each other, or the operation of one or more vehicles over a common selected course from the same point to the same point, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of such vehicle or vehicles within a certain distance or time limit.
(d) "Racing" is defined as the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to out-gain, outdistance or prevent another vehicle from passing to arrive at a given destination ahead of another vehicle or vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long distance driving routes.
(e) Exhibition of speed or acceleration is defined as the operation of a motor vehicle in such a manner that causes an unnecessary rapid acceleration of the vehicle as evidenced by any or all of the following physical manifestations of acceleration:

(1) Unnecessary tire squeal at the time of acceleration;
(2) Observation of smoke from tires of the vehicle at the time of acceleration;
(3) Observation of the tires of the vehicle losing traction with the road surface;
(4) Observation of the front part of the vehicle being elevated at the time of acceleration;
(5) Observation of the vehicle moving laterally at the time of acceleration;
(6) Loud engine noise at the time of acceleration;
(7) Observation of dirt and other road surface materials being thrown by the tires of the vehicle at the time of acceleration.

(History: Ord. TC-1260,M §1, 89; KSA 8-1565; Ord. TC-1260 §36, 84) See: 12.04.002