A new interactive speed sign that clocks motorists and flashes at speeders is slowing down drivers on South Ann Arbor Street.
The sign was installed on an existing speed limit sign at the intersection of South Ann Arbor Street and Pleasant Ridge Drive. As southbound drivers approach the sign, it tells drivers how fast they are driving. If drivers are traveling five miles-per-hour over the speed limit, it flashes at them. If they are speeding 10 miles-per-hour over the limit, a strobe light will flash at them.
“They’re a great tool for slowing down drivers,” Police Chief Larry Hrinik said. “Many communities have taken advantage of the technology.”
Saline City Council member Dean Girbach lives on South Ann Arbor Street. He noticed an immediate impact.
“So cool. The city staff surprised us all with a small interactive speed sign at Pleasant Ridge and South Ann Arbor. I hoped we would some day, but this is spectacular,” Girbach said. “Cars are already paying attention and hitting the brakes.”
Girbach’s neighbor Kristine Frey agreed.
“I'm happy something has been done, finally! There are far too many walkers, dogs, kids on our street and people fly through and/or speed up as they approach Pleasant Ridge or the hill,” Frey said.
Not everyone agrees.
“My truck tells me how fast I’m going. That’s just my take. Why waste money on a sign that most people will ignore anyway?” asked Tyler Nesmith.
The Saline Post spend a few minutes watching drivers interact with the sign on April 5. Cars weren’t driving recklessly. But a majority were traveling a few miles per hour over the limit. As they approached and saw the sign, they slowed down.
That’s how it’s supposed to work, Chief Hrinik said.
“People generally know when they are exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount. But if you’re driving five or even 10 miles over, you may not know it. This sign makes drivers aware of it and they slow down,” Hrinik said.
The sign on South Ann Arbor Street is a demo version loaned to the city for four weeks. The sign will spend two weeks on South Ann Arbor Street before it’s moved to a new location.
Hrinik said The Saline Police Department is asking for two signs in the new city budget. They cost $3,500 to $4,000, Hrinik said.
The signs also have the ability to provide the SPD with useful data about the number of drivers to speed.
“It provides wonderful print outs about average speeds that can be indexed by the time of day,” Hrinik said. “If the data shows that people are speeding too much on North Maple Road at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, then we can have the sign out there, or we can step up enforcement.”