What's Up With That? Car dealer's super-slow street is private

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

Northeast 66th Avenue, south of 40th Street, is a very short street between the Ford and Alan Webb car dealers. Yesterday I discovered the road has a 10 mph speed limit — I noticed because there has been a city cop at the end with his radar gun. Come on, is this not a blatant speed trap? Even school zones with children present are 20 mph. There are no houses, just businesses. A 10 mph zone seems crazy.

— Anonymous

Not a blatant speed trap, A. But then, traps aren't supposed to be blatant.

According to the city of Vancouver, there is absolutely no "speed enforcement" on dead end Northeast 66th Avenue. It's possible, however, that police park there to monitor what's zipping by on 40th Street or up and down 66th Avenue to the north.

But there's no speed trap on the dead end itself, because that's a private street. It's a little puzzling that when we called the Alan Webb office to ask, we heard in no uncertain terms that the street is public. "It's 10 mph because of our service traffic and delivery," a receptionist said. Which does make sense.

But Loretta Callahan of Vancouver Public Works dug up a plat map, dated 1998, that shows the plan for the whole area: several Alan Webb buildings alongside the cul-de-sac street. There's that word, in black and white, referring to this little segment of Northeast 66th Avenue: private.

"This is a private road and a privately owned (speed limit) sign," spokeswoman Kim Kapp of the Vancouver Police said in an email. "Speed enforcement of any signage property owners may install on private property is not enforceable by law enforcement. Therefore, there was no speed enforcement occurring." If it was a public street, she added, state law would require the speed limit to be no lower than 20 mph.

Kapp added that she checked with both VPD traffic and patrol units. "It is obviously a dead-end street and private property on the south side of 40th," she said. "An officer could park there, however, and use radar for speed enforcement on east/west bound traffic on 40th since 40th is a public street .... (or) on 66th north of 40th since that is public."

Callahan added that The Columbian's query alerted the city that there must be a missing "Private Road" sign on this street, and it will now be added.