Editorials

Chisholm Trail drivers deserve predictable speed limits to avoid tickets

Chisholm Trail Parkway entrance from Montgomery street in Fort Worth, TX, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016.  Along the 27.6 mile toll road the speed limit changes numerous times. Critics say there would be fewer speeding tickets if the speed limit were constant.
Chisholm Trail Parkway entrance from Montgomery street in Fort Worth, TX, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. Along the 27.6 mile toll road the speed limit changes numerous times. Critics say there would be fewer speeding tickets if the speed limit were constant. Star-Telegram

We’re hearing from readers who don’t understand the need to change speed limits five times along the 27.6 mile Chisholm Trail Parkway.

And we have to agree, hitting a new speed limit every five to ten miles is at the very least confusing, and may well be a big reason law enforcement agencies have issued more than 2,000 speeding or warning tickets in the past four years to Parkway drivers.

The speed limit on the North end of the Parkway near downtown Fort Worth is 50 mph. It then shifts to 60 mph; 65 mph; 70 mph; then down to 55 mph at the roadway’s southern end at U.S. 67 near Cleburne.

Sam Patty of Joshua, was among frustrated readers who told us:

“Limited-access thoroughfares are generally treated with common speed limits. I would suggest decreasing the number of speed changes and placing rumble strips across the lanes to alert drivers to upcoming speed-limit changes.”

Kathleen Henson of Fort Worth said: “...many on-ramps do not have the speed limit posted in that portion of the road. There are areas where I have no idea what the speed limit is as I drive. There should be speed limit signs posted just after each on-ramp.”

We do understand this toll road bisects neighborhoods with residents who were promised the Chisholm Parkway would not operate like a noisy expressway with drivers blitzing through at 75-80 mph. To be fair, that is no doubt what rankles some Parkway drivers. They’re used to toll roads where you can step on the gas.

The North Texas Tollway Authority, which manages the Parkway, says the current speeds are the result of a traffic engineering study that determined what’s safe given the winding configuration of the road.

Still, we’d like to see greater consistency of speed limits — instead of five maybe three. And we’ve heard enough to make us think traffic managers need to review posted warnings — especially at the ramps — to ensure the rules are clearly marked and drivers have ample opportunity to react.

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