Subdivision residents concerned over speeders
by James Phillips
May 09, 2012 | 1499 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents of one Jasper subdivison are tired of speeders and approached the Jasper City Council Tuesday looking for ways to slow traffic on Ridgebrook Drive.

Michelle Smothers, a resident of the Ridgewood subdivision, presented council members with a petition signed by people who live in the area, asking for help with the speeding problem.

“We’ve had a problem with speeders for a while,” she said. “We’ve even seen cars racing side-by-side.”

Smothers told members of the council that a pedestrian was struck on the road in April in a hit and run incident.

“The guy stopped long enough to complain that his truck was dented and then sped off,” she said.

Smothers said her daughter and a friend were forced to leap into a ditch recently to avoid being hit by a speeding car.

“It’s to the point where we stand out in our yards and scream at them (speeders),” she said. “We don’t know what else to do, so we are here, before you, asking for help. We need speed tables desperately, because they (drivers) do not stop (at the stop signs).”

Johnny Rollins, council member for District 2, said the issue has been a problem for as long as 20 years.

“It is a long straight road,” he said. “We added stop signs a few years back to hopefully control traffic. In the last two years, we paved the road, but, if anything, that may have encouraged speeding, because you have a better surface to run on.”

Rollins told Smothers and other Ridgewood residents that they should be commended for trying to solve the problem.

“You’ve done the right thing by coming here,” he said. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Until we get public attention on it, we’re not going to get anything done. I do think we need to put some speed tables along that straight road.”

Sandra Guthrie said she has lived in the Ridgewood area for more than 20 years and referred to herself as the “block granny.”

“When we moved there, the children of that community didn’t have to worry about getting ran over. I watch after the children and I have always done it,” she said. “I have the horror of a child being ran over on this road. I hope and pray ya’ll will do something, because if one of them children out there get run over, I don’t know what I’d do.”

Public Works Director Joe Matthews told council members that he was familiar with the situation and would have a complete recommendation at the next council meeting on May 15.

Traffic issues were also an issue for Police Chief Connie Cooner Rowe at Tuesday’s meeting. Rowe said the large amount of traffic issues around the city, including several fatal wrecks in recent months, has led her to possibly designating an officer and a vehicle to handle traffic.

Rowe said she was considering using the Chevy Tahoe formerly used as the chief’s vehicle as a traffic vehicle.

“I’ve given real serious thought to a traffic vehicle,” she said. “As soon as I fill two open spots, I could assign a patrolman to work nothing but traffic, particularly we can concentrate on areas of numerous complaints, including speeding in certain areas.”

Rowe said the traffic officer would not have a regular schedule and be used on Friday and Saturday nights as well as holidays.

“This would deter traffic violators and have an impact on accidents. I feel like we need to address it on some level as a mater of public safety.”