Of all the criticisms Michigan roadways receive in their perpetual history of construction, reconstruction, and inevitable deconstruction, perhaps the most unassuming is that of the deceptive and costly speed trap.
Such was the case on a strip of the NB Chrysler Service Dr. to I-75 in Hamtramck where David Cherry was stopped and ticketed for exceeding the posted 25 MPH speed limit. Cherry who would later go on to challenge the questionable speed limit in court said in a statement to local news, “You know I had just a sense of injustice after I got stopped,” as it turned out, Cherry’s sense of injustice was perfectly justified when the conditions of the roadway were further examined.
The stretch of the NB Chrysler Service Drive in question is located in a non-residential district without intersections on any its three lanes (none of which are designated for parking). When Cherry presented this evidence in court, (he represented himself) an unlikely supporter arrived in favor of the defendant-that man was the newly appointed Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino. Recognizing the unnecessary and exploitative speed-limit, Garbarino was determined to change the rules of the road even in his own city; he said, “The fact that you brought it to our attention, we realized it had to be done and we wanted to get it done straight.”
Prior to the conclusion of the case and the resulting dismissal of Cherry’s ticket, several other experts were interviewed as to the legitimacy of the speed limit.
Lieutenant Gary Megge of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services Division stated, “I’m not aware of anything that would give that 25 any enforceability”.
Jim Walker of the National Motorists Association explained that all speed limits must be decided upon by the results of an engineering study designed to calculate the appropriate speed, and in regards to Cherry’s case said, “Twenty five is not logical and I would think that it’s probably, technically, not legal.”
With this outpouring of support in favor of changing the speed limit, Garbarino announced, “[We] conducted a speed study and determined that we did need to change the speed limit, which we’re in the process of doing now”. Shortly thereafter, the speed limit on the strip of NB Chrysler Service Drive where David Cherry received his ticket, was upgraded from 25 MPH to 40 MPH, while the SB Chrysler Service Drive running directly parallel was upgraded from 25 MPH to 35 MPH.