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Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

sf bay area
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Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

The highway patrol and Sedona police are "lying in wait" at their crafty little spots. We got a speeding ticket our first morning there, and it really put a damper on our vacation. The place we were pulled over was absolutely set up as a speed trap! No doubt about it. After that, we noticed them pulling people over left and right, issuing tickets. Relentless!

Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

I don't know if I'd call it "relentless" - but the way to avoid getting a ticket is to simply obey the speed limit. Many of the areas of Sedona, and certainly the highway through Oak Creek Canyon, are NOT conducive to speeding. Unlike most of the freeways in California, the smaller roads/highways through Sedona and OCC go through residential and tourist areas, and speeding along them is especially dangerous.

I'm sorry that the ticket put a damper on your vacation - that's unfortunate, b/c Sedona is a gorgeous place. I do understand being a tad irked about "speed traps". I'm not sure where you were, though - to me, a "speed trap" is where the speed limit all of a sudden drops 10-20 MPH where you wouldn't expect it, or where you're going downhill into a very small town. But it happens, and yes, you need to be paying attention. Patrol cars waiting where you simply can't see them is NOT a "speed trap" IMHO - they just want people to slow down and obey the limit.

Case in point:

My husband and I were driving from Phoenix to Pinetop recently, and we went through Payson. I warned my husband several times about not speeding, told him there were speed cameras to watch out for, and that the speed limit can change quickly. (He does like to drive fast, and he admits it.)

Just outside of Payson on Hwy 260, the speed limit increases to 55 or 65 (can't remember which) and then out of the blue a few miles later changes to 45 near a very small "town" - and they have a camera positioned shortly after the change. Yes, my husband got flashed. Speed trap? Yep - but it's also the driver's responsibility to pay close attention. (And yes, I did make the mistake of saying "I told you so" to my husband. Oops.)

But that didn't put a damper on our vacation. We still had a great time up north. I hope that one ticket doesn't mar your memories of Sedona, either.

tucson az
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2. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

I'm usually at the other end of the spectrum when driving in Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon ..... going too slow. Not sure why anyone needs to speed in the midst of such splendor. It's hard for people to understand, but what appear to be speed traps are there for safety reasons among others. What's the point of the message? You did it to yourself. It's not the Police's fault that you got a ticket.

sf bay area
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3. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

The point of the message? To warn other tourists.

sf bay area
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4. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

From your own citizens

Susie from Sedona states "We are giving out a lot of speeding tickets"

Ken Altman, Sedona fine arts dealer states "Receiving a traffic ticket for going 5 miles an hour above the speed limit is a serious negative for visitors. It discourages them and they go back home and spread the word that Sedona is not a friendly place to visit."

It's about the MONEY, not the safety.

P.S. I wonder if McCain's daughter received a ticket from the same smarmy cop (who suffered from short-man syndrome) that pulled us over.

Tucson, Arizona
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5. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

No one should have to be warned to not speed, regardless of the place.

Los Angeles
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6. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

We know, sadly. Same thing happened to us (twice - once near Tombstone, although that time it wasn't speeding, I had stupidly forgotten to put my registration renewal sticker on my California license plate over the weekend where it expired - sharp-eyed, eager Arizona cops).

Been stopped several other times for minor violations - but only once for speeding.

If you go the speed limit in Arizona, you're fine. That's exactly what they want you to do - and they'll pull over as many people as they need to, to remind them, that's for sure (especially in areas like Sedona, where people walk across roads, and the limit is definitely *not* 65 mph - or even 55 mph and people coming off the interstate have failed (in large numbers) to get that.

Now, that's a speed trap from the tourist's point of view - but from a local's point of view, it's exactly what they want community police to do. They all know to go the speed limit - there really, really are reasons.

Since they've upped enforcement in Arizona in 2006 or so, traffic deaths have fallen something like 18%. Speed traps, as you call them, also trap drunk drivers who, among other things, tend to speed.

Los Angeles
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7. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

I'm sure local business owners totally empathize with tourists - in public!

So does the occasional local who gets pulled over. I hate being pulled over myself.

On the whole, though, that's the only thing that keeps a leadfoot like me from speeding.

Phoenix, Arizona
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8. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

Quote: "It's about the MONEY, not the safety."

In Sedona, I don't think that's entirely true. Again - the roads through Sedona are packed with tourists, little kids and elderly people crossing the road in Uptown, and drivers trying to park in places along Oak Creek Canyon or slowing down for a photo op (NOT a recommended thing to do while driving, by the way). I agree with what Cookie said - the police are there to keep the roads safe, and keep the speeders to a minimum.

Now, the traffic cameras every two miles along the freeways in Phoenix? THOSE are to make money, because they don't necessarily prevent accidents IMHO - they almost do the opposite, b/c of the crazy drivers who SLAM on their brakes when they see a camera, regardles of what speed they're going. But, I digress...

Anyway, try to remember Sedona for what it really is, not for your ticket.

Andover, MA
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9. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

I got a ticket myself, the first speeding ticket I have had in over 25 years, while visiting Sedona recently. I was driving through the village of Oak Creek minding the 35 MPH speed limit. On leaving Oak Creek, the road opens up into a two-lane (in one direction with no oncoming lanes anywhere in sight) straightaway where 35 MPH clearly is an unreasonable speed limit. The contrast between driving through the village (one lane with side streets, businesses, and roundabouts) and driving on the road leaving the village (no merging traffic, no oncoming traffic, nothing but red dirt on each side of the two lane highway) is glaring, and yet the speed limit is exactly the same. Knowing this, the AHP waits (hidden) at that spot to trap tourists in order to, I suppose, help pay for all of the construction we have to drive through between Oak Creek and Sedona.

Yes, I was (inadvertently) speeding, but I was also driving perfectly safely given the road and the conditions.

There is another speed trap on entering Sedona on highway 89A from Flagstaff. The speed limit is 40 MPH until you round a bend into Sedona and are very suddenly presented with a 25 MPH sign. I had to practically slam on the brakes to get down to the speed limit, and yes, sure enough, a couple of police cars were "lying in wait" (as libertyliz so aptly puts it), with one of them giving out a ticket to another hapless tourist.

One of the interesting things about this is the the 40 MPH road is one lane (in each direction), a winding road, with no divider between the oncoming lanes, and yet the speed limit is 40 MPH, higher than the much safer road leaving Oak Creek!

Yes, these are speed traps. Yes, I was traveling over the speed limit, got caught, and donated my money to the widening of the road. And yes, it tainted my memories of visiting the beautiful, but way too touristy (and getting more-so by the day) area of Sedona.

Los Angeles
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10. Re: Sedona/Oak Creek Speed Traps!

Yep - does sound like Arizona! We got stopped four times in one trip.