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Published December 08, 2009, 11:31 AM

Columbia Road Speed Limit Raised

You may have noticed while driving down Columbia Road the speed limit has been increased by 5 miles per hour. The city recently made the change which they say will actually make driving safer.

By: Steve Bodakowski, WDAZ

Driving down Columbia Road in Grand Forks, cars may be cruising by a little faster. That's because the speed limit has been changed. From 35 to 40 miles per hour.

Linda Keehr :"I had no idea the limit was increased."

Kasha Dolondea: "I think its was necessary for Columbia road considering it is a main road."

The city says a radar study last fall showed people were already driving 40. The new signs just make the limit official.

Jane Williams: "If you look at the percentage of drivers on the road we look at the 85-percentile from the top, 15 percent down those drivers you look at that and there is where you normally find your reasonable and prudent drivers."

That means 85 percent of drivers already drove 40 or more. Williams says in fact its safer to raise the limit, because it keeps cars grouped together instead of having some crawling at 35 and others cruising at 45.

Jane Williams: "40-miles per hour is not something you'll be able to drive all the time its just a optimal speed limit then for weather conditions you adjust the speed down."

The limit was only changed from the Columbia Avenue Bridge south, going North from there its still 35 miles per hour. But not everyone is convinced the increase is a good idea.

Linda Keehr: "The faster the speed is posted the faster people will go I have teenagers myself and lower is better."

The city says they're not too concerned about people driving faster than 40 with the speed limit now higher. Studies show 40 is the average speed already being driven, not faster.