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Shiny Numbers on White Signs Befuddle ATL Motorists

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Who says kindergarten lessons don't apply to real life? This week, the AJC ran a glaring indictment of the comprehension skills of Atlanta drivers, relaying how some local commuters find the variable speed limit signs installed recently on the top-end perimeter "confusing." While Atlantans aren't accustomed to following speed limits, it stands to reason that a large posted number preceded by "speed limit" means the odometer of their car should not exceed said number. The article points out that, while there is a method to the madness, the "existential" logic behind the speed limit seems to elude Atlanta motorists. Keep in mind: The omnipotent forces (the computers are taking over!) that control the signs know about traffic conditions farther down the road; if the speed limit is decreasing, it should be taken as a warning sign. Additionally, the conspiracy theorists have lit up Facebook, concerned that the signs are a ploy for police to give more tickets. What they seem to forget is that the normal speed limit was raised from 55 to 65.

There have been glitches, sure, but the four reported instances were fixed overnight on Tuesday. With those four malfunctions representing 5 percent of the new signs, the success rate would place this project on the "shockingly functional" end of the "government-ability-to-do-things-correctly" spectrum (it's totally a thing).

Typically, Atlantans believe that all new things are inherently bad, which is ironic in a city that thrives on change. While "New Coke" might have flopped, the best advice is to give these signs a chance — or avoid driving the Perimeter altogether. If glitches persist in a few months — when the city has provided plenty of other reasons to be upset, and the apparent anxiety of change has worn off — then we can pass judgment.

— Micheal Kahn

· Drivers confused by variable speeds on I-285 [AJC]

[Above image via dot.ga.gov]