Highway 9 Speed Limit Reduced to 30 mph

Highway 9 speed limit has been reduced to 30 mph. Too slow?

If you ride on Highway 9, you may notice the speed limit has been reduced to 30 mph from 45 mph between the town of Saratoga and Skyline Boulevard. Shocking!

I read this in the San Jose Mercury News Mr. Roadshow daily column by Gary Richards. I ride Highway 9 all the time, but can’t remember what the speed limit sign said when I was there a couple weeks ago. I’ll check it out. [Confirmed. Radar Patrolled no less]

Five names are associated with a rant against the speed reduction. They wonder if cyclists were behind the reduction.

Gary contacted Caltrans and they told him an engineering survey resulted in the speed reduction for — you guessed it — the protection of cyclists who frequently use the road. I don’t think any cycling organization requested the change. Cyclists use the road in numbers on the weekend, but not on weekdays.

Gary wants to hear from cyclists and motorists to get their reaction. I responded that I think the speed reduction is too much. I like 40 mph. I can easily reach 40 mph on my bike during the descent.

I don’t mind cars driving by at 45 mph going uphill, but going downhill at 40 mph and seeing a car whip around you doing 65 can be unnerving. Because you need to give yourself room for maneuver, I don’t recommend riding to the far right on a high-speed descent.

The writers noted that the speed limit on Highway 9 to Santa Cruz is 45 mph in most sections. I’m not going to complain too much about 45 because there isn’t so much traffic on that stretch of road.

So what do you think? Take this survey and I’ll send the results to Gary. All three of them.

5 Responses to “Highway 9 Speed Limit Reduced to 30 mph”

  1. Bill Bottenberg Says:

    As a regular commuter on Hiway 9 from BC to the Valley I have to say that this change is really wrong for several reasons:
    1) the natural downhill speed in the section from the Gap down to the bridge is way above 30 mph, it is near 40-43; so it’s is all brakes to achieve 30 mph; there was no consideration by the engineers of wear and tear on equipment or drivers.
    2) the curvature of the road is not so dramatic in this section that there is not a natural progression from faster to slower, all curve sections can easily be met with 30-40 mph
    3) this is part of the infamous ‘speed trap’ patrolled by the Santa Clara Sheriff, so now the revenue for the county just goes up
    4) there is little/no provision for turn-outs on the way down. This is part of the insidious plan by the state engineers to control traffic to their plan; all across the mountain and hill roads of the state thay have removed dotted lines and have provided *no* turn-outs for slower traffic to pull off
    5) and most importantly, bicyclists? where are they??? the density of cyclists at any time is near zero. And they pay road taxes?? I think not.
    I am unhappy,

  2. Ray Hosler Says:

    Bill: Only 1 quibble. Cyclists pay road taxes. They drive cars too.

  3. Jim Huffman Says:

    Does anybody have any dates on when this transition occurred from the higher speed to the lower speed? I’m fighting a $400 speeding ticket and I need some history on this change.

  4. Ray Hosler Says:

    I would guess the first week in March or maybe the last week in February, 2011.

  5. JohnU Says:

    Speed survey by traffic engineer Michael Ko dated Oct 2009. He did not follow the 85% rule when dropping this to 30mph. The directive dated June 2009 stated that the 85% rule “SHALL” to be followed when traffic engineering, make the speed change. Michael Ko of district 4 did not follow the directive and so the 30 mps is invalid. Call Mr Woods in district 5, santa cruz, to get the scoop.

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