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Woodstock PD's radar speed trailer

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Woodstock PD's radar speed trailer

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
September 28, 2009

Woodstock Radar Trailer

Woodstock PD still has its radar speed trailer, and it still works. Today it was on northbound Clay Street near Clay Academy (formerly known as Clay Elementary School).

When Clay was an elementary school, you could always find students on the sidewalks before and after school. The 20MPH school speed limit made sense then, for the safety of the children. The school zone by Clay is a 20MPH zone, but the speed limit is only in effect "when children are present" and then only between the hours of 7:00AM and 4:00PM on school days.

When children are not present, the speed limit on Clay Street is 30MPH, so the first thing that got my attention at mid-day when I approached the trailer was the 20MPH regulatory speed limit sign mounted on the trailer. The speed limit at the trailer, when no children are present, is 30MPH, yet most drivers slowed to 20MPH.

The 27MPH speed displayed on the trailer is for a car approaching the school zone but not yet in it. The car, which I could see behind me, had not yet reached the zone.

Legally, the 20MPH speed limit sign on the speed trailer had no effect. A speed limit sign posted without action and approval of the City Council is meaningless. It would have been better to have the added message about the school zone, but all that wording might topple the trailer.

The other problem was that the speed trailer was parked out of the street on the "parkway", the grass median between the street and the sidewalk. Usually the trailer is parked on the street, as it was recently in the 500 block of North Madison Street, and often it is protected by traffic cones.

The proper place for the speed trailer on the street. Vehicles have been ticketed for being parked on the parkway (except for the vehicle in the 900 block of Clay all day today), and no less should be required or expected of City-owned vehicles or equipment. I'm sure it was just a minor oversight and decision to place it out of the street, when there would be less chance of its being run over by a distracted driver. But it belongs in the street, just as does any vehicle.

Jeep Liberty

If you would like the speed trailer to be located in your neighborhood, send an e-mail to speedtrailer@woodstockil.gov Provide the police department with the location and a brief description of the extent of the speeding problem or reason you'd like it there.

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