FDOT secretary gets ticket; speed limit changes

Published On: Feb 13 2013 04:17:33 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 09:24:47 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida's Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad was ticketed on a Tallahassee road for doing 44 mph in a 35 mph zone.

A short time later, DOT commenced a study of road conditions and decided to raise the speed limit to 45. Prasad said he wasn't the only one who complained.

For more than two decades, the speed limit on Thomasville Road, which connects the state Capitol with the city's affluent neighborhoods and Interstate 10, was posted at 35 mph.

Radar operations were frequent.

"They always had someone pulled over," motorist Will Messer said.

Then one night, police stopped the wrong guy.

"I was at fault, so she wrote the ticket and I did the driver's ed. All is good," Prasad said. "Started getting a lot of phone calls about people getting ticketed going through that stretch."

He ordered a study.

The mathematically weighted study came back saying the road could handle a limit of 47 mph.

"Our study did show that it was artificially constrained," Prasad said.

The city complained, saying the higher limit went against their efforts to create a walkable environment. Prasad prevailed, and the speed limit is now posted at 45 mph.

Business owners say the police have disappeared.

"We haven't seen them recently. Not since the last six months ... when they changed the limit," business owner BJ Joshi said.

Details on how many tickets have been issued along the mile stretch are not readily available.

In a letter protesting the speed change, the city of Tallahassee says it directed increased enforcement of the area in an effort to create more pedestrian traffic. The letter cites new construction and asks the DOT for a new study once a new grocery store opens in the area.

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