ShareThis Page

North Huntingdon replacing outdated electronic speed signs

| Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, 4:30 p.m.

Simply letting speeding motorists know how fast they're traveling often is enough to get them to slow down, but three roadside radar devices that North Huntingdon Township have used to warn motorists are cumbersome and outdated, said North Huntingdon police chief Chief Andrew Lisiecki.

“We set them up on the side of the road near speed limit signs when we get complaints about speeding in a neighborhood,” the chief said. “But even the two portable units, which need to be mounted on a telephone pole, can be a bit heavy for one officer to handle. And the batteries are no longer holding a charge like they should.”

The third “Your Speed” electronic sign is mounted on a trailer that is pulled by one of the department's SUVs, he said, adding that it can take an hour or more to transport the devices to a location and set them up. The units being used are between eight and 12 years old.

Last month, township commissioners agreed to buy three new portable radar speed display units that weigh 10 pounds instead of 35 and have the added capability of taking photographs of passing vehicles.

A trade-in program offered by the supplier, State College-based All Traffic Solutions, enables the township to get the new devices for a total of $10,500.

Information from the new units can be retrieved wirelessly from the police station, Lisiecki said. With the old units, data such as the number and speed of vehicles that pass could be downloaded only after the units were returned to the police station or if an officer connected a laptop to the devices.

The old units also lack safeguards against tampering.

“A couple of years ago we had one of them stolen and another was beat up pretty good,” Lisiecki said. “These new units will send an alert to the police administrator if someone tries to tamper with them.”

Though the devices can clock a vehicle's speed using radar, state law prohibits municipal police departments from using radar to cite motorists who exceed the speed limit. When it comes to issuing speeding tickets, the township clocks drivers using the VASCAR, or Visual Average Speed Computer And Recorder, system; ENRADD, or Electronic Non-Radar Detection Device; or a stop watch.

Although speeding in residential neighborhoods is among the top complaints North Huntingdon police receive from residents, Lisiecki said data doesn't support it is a major problem in the township.

“We recently set up a device along a road where we received a lot of reports of speeding and over the course of a week, we counted about 400 vehicles going through the area,” he said. “But only two of them were driving fast enough to be cited.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.