Letter
January 18, 2016

Speed traps create bad visitor experiences, affect revenue

Dear Editor,

My friend John and I were pulled over in Woodstock, Vt., at 10:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve. John has a Rhode Island license place, therefore, I wasn’t surprised. I have a Massachusetts license plate and was pulled over in Pittsford, Vt., on the 4th of July, 2014. My parents and siblings have Connecticut license plates and have been pulled over in Plymouth, Vt., in years past, too. But now we all know where the speed traps are.

But that’s not the point. I am a former Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Walk Boston, a pedestrian advocacy group. The point is to drive safely, regardless of where you come from, and where you are.

I fought the 4th of July, 2014, speeding ticket and won. I had a folder full of “evidence” that the signage in Pittsford was not up to snuff, the way that it is in Woodstock, Bridgewater, and Plymouth, Vt. Some Vermont towns do an excellent road signage display, which lets you know you are entering a congested area. But it only gets noticed after the fact. Coming from the city, you know that you have pretty much two speed limits—street or highway. In the city you “feel” you are in a congested area because you see pedestrians. In Vermont, a “congested” area is explained to you by a police officer after he pulls you over to give you a ticket. And it needs to be explained further as to what you missed in signage, because road signage is boring!

An engaging way to slow people down would be something like: 1) Adding speed texture in the road when approaching congested areas. 2) Larger than life signage, or shaped signage. 3) Day glow/glow-in-the-dark bumpy post holding speed signage. 4) Being helpful, the sign has a lamp post attached, or a bat house attached.

But none of these suggestions would work if Vermont cost justifies the ticket money they bring in. I analyzed the Ritz Carlton case in my MBA program. I can’t remember the exact figures, but having roughly 5 percent of customers having a bad experience can filter through 50 percent of the potential business, causing an adverse effect in revenue.

Let’s be smart about all of the costs here, and the adverse effect being pulled over by the cops really has.

Best intentions,

Anne Kirby, Milton, Mass., and Killington, Vt.

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1 Comment

  • Speed traps are simply evil, something the National Motorists Association has fought against for 33 years. Enforcement for profits is 100% wrong, 100% of the time. Little towns that use these evil practices should lose either their own police department as happened in Waldo, Florida – or be written out of existence as a legal entity like New Rome, Ohio.

    Tourists who get robbed in a speed trap should never go back, and should let all their friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. that Town X should never be visited. Residents who object to their town being a speed trap should stop shopping in local stores and tell the managers they will return when the store managers force the predatory speed trap practices to end.

    There are NO valid excuses for speed traps, anywhere, anytime, for any reason.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

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