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Another cop on duty
Digital signs warn speeding drivers
radar speed sign
The City of Great Bend’s first radar speed sign was in operation on North Main Monday, digitally advising motorists of their speeds. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

The Great Bend Police Department Monday announced the arrival of two radar speed signs, to assist with traffic control and traffic data monitoring. In the 2020 budget for the Great Bend Police Department, the Great Bend City Council approved the $8,365. 

These signs will initially be  posted in the 3000 block of Main Street (which is in operation now) and the 1400 block of 10th Street (which has yet to be installed) and will run 24 hours every day, Police Chief David Bailey said. The Street Department will place these signs in these areas as their schedule permits.  

“One of the many duties of law enforcement is to help keep the roads safe,” he said. “However, officers cannot be everywhere, all the time. Radar speed signs serve as an extra officer, 24/7.”

Enter the signs that reinforce speed limit awareness by alerting drivers of excessive speeds. 

“Posting a radar speed sign at the entrance of the city limits will send a message that speeding will not be tolerated in Great Bend,” Bailey said. “Drivers will slow down, making the city streets safer for everyone.”

An effective tool

“At some point in your driving career you will exceed the speed limit, and most of us will get a ticket at least once in our lives,” he said. “That doesn’t make you a bad person, but there are ways you can help prevent that.”

One needs to be more diligent about speeds and the posted limits. “The Radar Speed Signs will help to remind citizens and visitors to watch their speed while traveling through the City of Great Bend,” he said.

Radar speed signs, also known as driver feedback signs, are traffic calming devices designed to slow speeders down by alerting them of their speed, he said. “They are being used across the country, and around the world, because they are effective at slowing speeding drivers down.”

Tests repeatedly show these signs are effective, Bailey said. They indicate:

• Speeders will slow down up to 80% of the time when alerted by a radar sign.

• Typical speed reductions are 10-20%.

• Overall compliance with the posted speed limit will go up by 30-60%.

• Radar speed signs are particularly effective at getting “super speeders” — speeders driving 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit—to slow down.

Bailey said he has money in his 2021 budget for two more signs.

Traffic data collection and reporting 

The radar signs purchased for Great Bend have a computer program called “Street Smart,” the chief said. The traffic data-reporting software allows the city to report, organize and analyze the traffic data collected from the radar speed sign locations. With the data conversion tool, the information collected by the radar speed sign is loaded into Excel-ready, parsing the information into 35 charts and graphs with just a few mouse clicks.

“These radar speed signs were designed to make roads safer for pedestrians and drivers, regardless of location,” he said. They work on streets, highways, campuses, school zones, parks, residential areas and work zones, anywhere excessive speeds are a problem. 

The signs are easily programed. The Radar Speed Signs are Wi-fi enabled allowing for quick and easy sign operation and data download. 

“They also give officers the ability to better manage their time and the flexibility in how the Great Bend Police Department can monitor and enforce speed limits within the City of Great Bend,” Bailey said.

The signs can manage multiple speed limits during the day and have an option to add a relay switch that will trigger beacons to go on when speeders are detected. This will come really handy when school is in session, and school zones are enforced.