A flashing speed sign that you may have seen pop up in your Prairie Village neighborhood over the last year is doing a bit more than just letting you know if you are over the limit. The sign, which is owned by the public works department, also is collecting data about your driving.
Not you personally, of course, but it is grabbing a count of your speed, and the time of day. It produces a report that sorts the data in a variety of ways including number of cars per hour, the number and percent of violations, average speed and minimum and maximums.
The data sort also produces a speed report sorted by how many cars traveled within each 5 mile per hour speed range. Prairie Village Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft said the data lets the department know exactly what is happening related to speed and volume of traffic.
The sign moves around the city and usually stays on location for three to four weeks. Recently, it was on 64th Street and 64th Terrace in response to a complaint about that intersection and speeds. The data from those streets did not warrant a new stop sign that had been requested.
Sgt. James Carney of the Prairie Village Police Department traffic unit said the battery-operated public works sign is typically used in conjunction with the police department to verify if a speeding complaint is legitimate and help police determine if enforcement is warranted or if some other traffic calming steps could be effective.
It is not uncommon, Carney said, to get a complaint that “cars are racing down our street at 50 mph all day long” when the data shows that it is one or two drivers using the street as a cut-through. The police department also still has its speed trailer that flashes speeds, but does not record data.
The flashing speed signs are appreciated by residents, Bredehoeft said, and have an impact on speeds just by reminding drivers.