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The Jan. 31 Ravalli Republic reported that the County Commission will ask DOT to consider a speed limit reduction on the Woodside Cutoff, from 60 to 45 mph. This was encouraging news for pedestrians, motorists, and most everyone else that uses Woodside. I say "most everyone" because the article cited several commissioners as expecting protests over a lowered speed limit. Really? Protests?

The Ravalli article described the Cutoff stretch between US 93 and Eastside Hwy as being 2 miles long. That may be true, but right now, when heading east from US 93, the speed limit drops from 60 mph to 45 mph after about 1.3 miles. And in the first mile, a driver crosses three marked pedestrian crossings and a very narrow bridge.

If it were possible for a driver to instantly hit 60 mph from US 93, travel the entire 1.3 miles at 60 mph, and then instantly slow to 45 mph at the speed limit marker, it would take him/her about 80 seconds (1 minute and 20 seconds) to cover that distance.

If a vehicle had the same instant acceleration and slowing, but with a speed limit of 45 mph, my rusty math figures it would take about 105 seconds (1 minute and 45 seconds) to cover the same distance.

This means that reducing the speed limit from 60 to 45 mph could cost a driver of that magic, instant-speed vehicle 25 seconds. Are we really degenerating to the point that 25 seconds of my time is so much more important than public safety that I will protest the idea of a lower speed limit?

Frank Prochazka