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Here’s a question from a reader:

I’m wondering if you can clarify the speed limit on Stony Point Road between Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Blvd. North. If you are heading south on Stony Point, just a bit after Rohnert Park Expressway, there is a sign that says “End 50 MPH.” There is not another speed limit sign posted heading south after that one sign.  To me, that means I can go 55 mph.  Is that right?

If you are heading north on Stone Point from Petaluma Blvd. north, there is a 50-MPH speed limit sign around where the pumpkin patch is located.  After that, there is not another speed limit sign from there to Rohnert Park Expressway.  Does that mean that heading north on Stony Point, the speed limit is 50 all the way but heading south after that sign “End 50 MPH” it is 55?

The signage on that road could certainly be improved! Thanks, Judy

The answer comes from CHP Officer Jon Sloat, who said it does mean you can go 55 mph south of the sign and the northbound speed limit also should be 55. Perhaps the “End 50 mph” sign for northbound traffic got knocked down.

Similar questions have come up for other roads, and the CHP has said the default speed limit on rural roads generally is 55 unless otherwise posted or unsafe for conditions, including weather, curves, etc. Just because the sign may say you can go 55, or whatever, if driving conditions are unsafe for that speed, you can get ticketed.

Here’s another question from a reader:

Every morning I drop my daughter off in front of Herbert Slater Middle School in Santa Rosa. Many drivers make a U-turn on Sonoma Avenue in front of school after dropping their child off. I thought it was illegal to do so? Thanks, Renee

The answer is from Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lance Badger, who said that because Slater is in a residential area, it’s legal only if no vehicle is approaching from either direction is within 200 feet (unlikely during school rush hours), if the turn is made from the lane closest to the center line  (so no U-turn from the curb) and there’s no sign prohibiting it.

For other schools, some have no-U-turn signs. Some might be in business districts, where U-turns generally aren’t allowed.

As for me, the start and end of the school day are chaotic enough in front of schools with cars and kids everywhere, so why throw in one more possible danger with a U-turn. Be safe. Skip the U-turn and go around the block.

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If you have a question for the Road Warrior, please email it to jim.fremgen@pressdemocrat.com

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