Survey reveals drivers speeding near high school

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


As part of the Washington City Council?s push to address traffic concerns, the Washington Police Department discovered well over half the drivers on the main road leading to Washington High School were violating the 25 mph speed limit.

Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman expressed surprise when he learned the results of the two-day survey of motor speeds along South B Avenue at Van Buren for southbound traffic. The study showed 4,072 vehicles had driven past the speed trailer in that time and that only 920 were obeying the speed laws. The study also showed that 271 motorists were traveling over 15 mph faster than the speed limit. One vehicle was clocked going between 56 and 60 mph through the residential area. Six vehicles were clocked going between 50 and 55 mph, doubling the speed limit.

?We have to get this turned around,? Goodman said. ?This definitely shows we have a problem, so we are going to be hitting this very heavily.?

The study was done April 19 through 21. It also showed peak usage was from 5 to 10 p.m. on April 21, which had 1,144 vehicles. The reason given was events occurring at the school.

Goodman said the police department is going to begin having officers using radar and lidar (a detection system that works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser and makes it easier to single out a vehicle) on the road. He said South B Avenue is a heavily populated area, including times when high school students are walking along the roadway, and speeding along the street is a safety concern.

?I think people can expect some heavy enforcement on that street,? Goodman said.

He commented that speeding tickets are around $135 for a normal ticket.

The trailer was put out after the council discussed concerns on Avenue B and South Avenue C as part of its study on traffic concerns in town. Goodman gave the results to the council during its April 24 workshop.

At the time the council was discussing banning parking along one side of the roadway to solve the problem of traffic congestion. Several people who lived in the area had asked the council to leave parking on both sides of the roadway, saying that is what helped slow cars down.

Goodman said the use of the speed trailer was a good way for the police to assess what was going on.

He said the trailer is not a speed camera and doesn?t record vehicles passing by. He said that in the summer the police department tries to keep the speed truck moving around.

?We are never short of places to put it out,? he said.