Woman says Scottsdale police enforced wrong speed limit at intersection

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SCOTTSDALE -- Some drivers say the Scottsdale Police Department has been enforcing the wrong speed limit on one of its streets.

The speed limit is 35 miles per hour, but Scottsdale officers are enforcing it as a 25-mph zone and they've been writing tickets to drivers.

Cathy Turchan considers herself to be a pretty safe driver.

"I've never been in a car accident," she said.

But Turchan was stopped by Scottsdale police recently for speeding along a stretch of Via Linda just off of 90th Street.

It's a stretch of road that Turchan thought was 35 mph, but cops told her it was 25 and gave her a ticket.
"People are receiving tickets and not questioning the Scottsdale Police Department because they assume they know the speed limit of the streets that they are enforcing," Turchan said.

Here's the problem. As you drive in the nearby residential area, the speed limit is in fact 25 miles per hour. However, as you keep traveling west you'll come into a commercial area where businesses are located and the speed limit actually increases to 35.

But Turchan claims cops don't realize it's a 35-mph zone.

"They need to educate themselves because I think it's only fair that if you're going to get a ticket, then it should be a lawful ticket," Turchan said.

In an e-mail from the city's engineering department, a traffic engineer confirms that the speed limit is in fact 35.

3 On Your Side decided to speak with Scottsdale police about their speed enforcement.

"Basically, what our officers were doing was utilizing the last known sign," said Dave Pubins with the Scottsdale Police Department.

The last known sign is 25 mph, but for whatever reason there is no sign at all indicating the increase to 35.
"I can't speak to the oversight," Pubins said. "There very well could have been a sign that was there and now it's not or maybe it was stolen."

After 3 On Your Side brought the issue to the Police Department's attention, they made a decision.
"At this point, we have notified our officers that we will not be doing speed enforcement in that two-block area," Pubins said.

At least, not until the correct speed limit sign is installed.
In the meantime, Scottsdale police continue to downplay the issue saying all drivers who were cited for speeding were driving faster than 35 mph anyway, so it doesn't make a difference.   

But Turchan says it does make a difference. She was cited for going 19 miles over the speed limit when she was actually just 9 miles over, meaning her fine was higher.

"The speed limit here is 35 and they're writing tickets saying the speed limit is 25," she said.

And here's the latest, the city of Scottsdale has now installed a 35-mph sign, which will hopefully clear up some of the confusion for drivers and officers.