Above: High Hawk Drive – the double yellow lines extend on High Hawk from Arrowhead to Deerfield.
David Fried has lived in the same house on High Hawk Drive for 27 years. He had never attended a Town Council meeting or complained to local officials about the speeding issue until October, when he woke up on a Monday morning to brand new double yellow lines on his classic wide suburban street.
The town had the lines placed on High Hawk between Arrowhead and Deerfield drives in response to a number of complaints about speeding in the area. But for Fried – and two others who spoke during public comment at the Oct. 25 Town Council meeting – the lines have caused a different problem and Fried said his research – including a call to the state Dept. of Transportation – found no support that double yellow lines would help slow cars down.
“It’s a wide road and it’s been a pleasure to live on a wide road because there are no sidewalks here,” he said in a recent interview. “We walk our dogs, kids use it. We use the road pretty heavily.”
But with the new lines, cars that used to veer around walkers are more reluctant to cross over the double line (a traffic violation), so they are passing pedestrians more closely than before.
Town Manager Andy Nota, meanwhile, said there were a limited number of options when it comes to speeding. Roads like High Hawk almost invite speed because they are wide and smooth.
“As I drove through it numerous times in the past several weeks, I had to actively keep my foot on the brake to stay below 25 mph,” Nota said last week. The speed limit is 25 mph. He said he saw drivers cutting corners and weaving toward the middle of the road, gaining speed.
“We’d received a number of calls from a number of neighbors who were concerned about their safety, the safety of their children,” he said. “That triggers a process.”
That process? They bring out the tubes – those black snaky-looking things that stretch across roads. They look simple but can actually take in a lot of information, including times, speeds and types of vehicle.
“Our initial data was that there was a significant amount of speeding over 25 mph,” Nota said. “One way to inexpensively slow speed is to visually narrow the corridor.”
The double yellow lines, with corresponding white parking lane lines, were “the least expensive way to visually constrict the roadway and for us to follow up with testing.”
Some of the residents assumed the striping was done at night because the town was trying to do it secretly. Nota said that was not at all the case. Rather, he said, road striping is almost always done at night, when traffic is at its lightest.
The tubes are again in place now to measure if the striping makes a difference but the blowback from residents has been significant enough that Nota said the lines would be removed. They are latex and can just be pulled up, he said. After testing. Sometime in November.
Fried, however, thinks the town needs a whole new approach. Regarding the current testing, he said the town installed new speed limit signs next to where the tubes are placed. A medical doctor who does a lot of research, Fried said you can’t change the variables and expect an accurate result. In other words, if data shows cars have slowed down, will it be because of the striping or the speed limit signs?
He also questioned the decision to look at just one section of the road.
“If they want to address speed,” he said, “they should do a more thorough examination of the whole neighborhood. If you really want to do something about speed, truly investigate it,” Fried said. “A police officer giving out some tickets, that will make people think twice about speeding.”
Nota said the town planned to schedule a workshop for residents of neighborhoods with traffic complaints (complaints about speeding are up in several neighborhoods).
“Hopefully, we can find some common ground.”
Speeding has been a persistent problem since this past summer. There have been complaints regarding speeding in a few neighborhoods. I am hoping that the council will have an informational meeting regarding speeding fairly soon to address these concerns for the whole town with real discussion. Please slow down when driving through neighborhoods.
How about portable speed bumps laid across the roads at issue, at key intervals. These are used successfully in other states with same issues. The speed bumps can be taken up from December to late February should they pose an issue for town plows, as was told to us years ago. Let speeding motorists hit one going 40-50 + mph and see their transmission drop… it will slow them down for sure. Twenty plus years in our neighborhood and no other options have made any difference with increasingly speeding cars ( radar, mobile speed monitoring signs, neighborhood watch and reporting speeders , police sitting and waiting during peak traffic time.. nothing works) Speed is seemingly an issue everywhere, and not limited to a select group.of drivers. Cole Jr. High / Cedar Ave. area is a perfect example of how speed bumps and signage makes a difference and affects change to speeding cars, and to potentially avert any tragedy.
Speaking Of Speeding ! King Street is so bad no one ever stops! No one cares ! Summertime is the worst ! The valet parkers are texting while speeding all along Duke St !
Please add CORA STREET to the neighborhood studies, a well known cut through for those working at St. Elizabeth Assisted Living off Grandview. Most of those speeding live out of town, coming off Rte 95 and cut through many if our neighborhood streets to get to work the fasted way possible.
Speeding starts with the voluntary compliance of residents. When this no longer works, educational and enforcement techniques have proven to be successful in long term driving behavior modification of motorist. Historically, when citation data is analyzed over 85% of violaters live in the identified area.
Donald Mong, EG Retired Police & Traffic Accident Reconstructionist