Drivers confused by two speed limits on same Marysville road

MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- Most people would jump at the chance to set their own speed limit, and some drivers in this Snohomish County city are wondering if that's the case.

"Why is the speed limit different depending on which direction you're driving," said driver Charles Knoedler. "I think that's ridiculous."

That is the case on 51st Ave. NE, just south of 152nd St. NE, on the northern end of the Marysville city limits.

A speed limit sign posted in the southbound lane says 40 mph, while a sign in the northbound lane reads 35 mph. The signs are on different sides of the road about a third-of-a-mile apart.

Some residents find it baffling.

"It just doesn't make sense," said driver John Shields, who lives near one of the signs. "My attitude is most people on 51st don't obey the speed limit anyways."

Repeated calls to the city for an explanation went unanswered, but a city traffic engineer wrote a post online in response to a citizen's inquiry.

The engineer wrote that it may have been a simple oversight from when the city annexed this part of town a few years ago from Snohomish County. But there was no definitive answer.

A Marysville Police commander said he was not aware of the conflicting signs and sent one of his officers to check it out.

He said he's concerned about the possible confusion and will take up the matter with the city's traffic commission and the public works department, the two organizations that set speed limits.

Police only enforce whatever limit is posted, the commander explained. He said despite the apparently conflicting speed limits along that stretch of road, drivers would not be cited as long as they obeyed the posted sign in the direction in which they're traveling.

The city traffic engineer said a public works crew will make changes to the signs in the next several weeks, though it's unclear exactly what they plan to do.