Old Trail Speed Limit Unreasonable
Friday, September 28, around 2:00 in the afternoon, while coming home from picking up my daughter from preschool, I was stopped by a group of police officers in Old Trail in a speed trap. The officers were writing tickets to three cars at a time, catching drivers going down hill as we entered Old Trail Drive from Route 250. They were shooting radar from across the hill, just before the first roundabout, just out of sight from cars coming from the highway.
Old Trail Drive has always been intended to be a central artery of Crozet, meant to relieve traffic on both Jarmans Gap Road and Route 240/Crozet Avenue. When entering from the stoplight at Western, the speed limit abruptly changes from 45 to 25, on a wide, downhill stretch well before where the houses begin. I drive this road several times a day, and rarely, if ever, have I been behind a driver who is able to restrain him or herself to a speed below 25 mph on this downhill stretch. However, I am very careful not to go too fast when pedestrians or bikers are on the road, and never speed by the time I am at the roundabouts and the populated stretches of Old Trail Drive. However, this speed trap was set up to unfairly catch drivers entering from the highway, where they ticketed as many cars are possible (with fines upwards of $200). The speed limit should be changed to 35 mph on this stretch.
What really infuriated me about my encounter with these officers, however, was that when I expressed my frustration for being ticketed in a trap as I entered the new speed limit from the highway on a downhill, one officer (the one who was holding the radar gun, not the one who had written my ticket) interrupted to ask me, “Do you live in Old Trail?” To which I replied, “I live in Crozet.” He then asked, “So you are just using this as a cut-through?” And continued to say, condescendingly, “The residents of Old Trail would appreciate it if you would slow down,” and went on to imply that the speed trap had been requested by the residents of Old Trail.
As a member of ACAC-Crozet, a customer, client, and patient of the other offices and businesses of Old Trail Village, and frequent pedestrian in the area, I was offended to hear him imply that my address had anything to do with my right to be traveling down Old Trail Drive that afternoon as a “cut-through.”
If county police officers have end-of-month quotas to fill with traffic tickets, they would serve the community better with speed traps in areas where the posted speed limit is reasonable, and where it is routinely and dangerously abused, perhaps even 100 yards farther up Old Trail Drive itself.
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