2012-03-15 / Letters to the Editor

Conanicus Avenue speed limits confuse drivers

I was glad to have the chance this week to point out to a police officer the confusing situation of the speed limit on Conanicus Avenue near the police station. Heading south down the hill towards town is a posted 30- mph sign. However, for the past couple of weeks, coming north up the hill has been an electronic notice board warning that the speed limit is 25. I asked why this was and what the actual speed limit is. I also asked where the delineation is between the 30-mph zone and the 25-mph zone.

The officer with whom I spoke to said this had been asked before. He said it was not clear even to him, but suggested it’s best to just drive 25 or lower at all times. He said it was something that should be addressed.

Before I could begin to feel a bit better, he went on. What I gathered from the rest of the conversation was that there is a significant push to issue more tickets, that the impetus for this rests both with key personnel in the police department and without outside sources related to some consulting grant or something.

In other words, having confusing signage might be in their best interest because they could catch more speeders. That day according to my observation and report from others there were at least four police cars monitoring speed along the roads into town. Notice, the push is to issue more tickets, not to curb a spiraling problem with speeding.

This raises some questions for me. I do not support speeding or reckless driving or endangering other drivers or pedestrians. I assume this is the reason for speed limits. Does Jamestown have a significant problem on weekday afternoons with reckless endangerment on the roads leading into town? Is this based on something other than any record gathered by the aforementioned electronic sign which informed me on several occasions I was traveling at a speed quite different from what the indicator in my 2011 car said I was traveling?

I support fines for speeding if they deter present and future speeding. I do not support them as a source of budget support for the police. If ticket money goes to support public safety education and trafficenforcement equipment, then OK. But I hate to think traffic tickets are being considered as general revenue.

Finally, with regard to the seat belt enforcement push that’s on, again, I wear my belt and expect others to do so. I assume my insurance company wants this as well. However, I think it can easily be enforced by noting whether or not the belts are being worn on other traffic stops and accident investigations rather than dedicate staff and vehicle time to patrolling the streets looking for seatbelt scofflaws. Is there no more significant crime in town? If not, in this time of budget tightening, do we need so many officers and vehicles?

Finally, Jamestown police work for the citizens. Their job is to protect people and property by enforcing laws, but not to use ambiguous situations to catch people in situations that are frankly not too dangerous in order to wring some funding for the department.

Also, I have not been stopped or issued a ticket, but am concerned about an environment that borders on entrapment. I thought this might be of interest to other citizens, as well as to officials in the city government and police department who might want to know this impression is being given.

Robin Yeager
Coronado Street

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