MOUNT VERNON — Recent reports of speeding motorists in residential neighborhoods have raised concerns of Mount Vernon area residents regarding the safety of pedestrians and even other motorists. This issue of speeders was addressed recently to neighborhood residents and city officials.
“I’ve seen kids go flying through here at about 50 to 60 miles per hour,” said West Vine Street resident Don Hyatt. “Some others will go right through the stop signs, never stopping. We have been fighting this for a while and have gotten nowhere. I think we need more police protection in the city and county.”
“I’ve been getting reports of speeders on West Vine Street just past the railroad tracks,” said Mount Vernon City Councilman Chuck Dice. “I’ve had Safety-Service Director Dave Glass post a speed trailer there so drivers can be aware of their speed.”
Dice said reports were coming from residents on West Sugar Street where drivers are often reported speeding between 7 to 8 a.m. “I imagine they are trying to get to work at Rolls-Royce on time,” he said, and has asked for a speed trailer to be posted there as well.
Dice added that he was aware of some speeders on West High Street, particularly in the area of the (Riverside Park).
“We’re concerned with the traffic near the park,” said Dice. “We want everyone to stay under the speed limits because there are a lot of kids in this area. I presume they have a tendency to speed up right there with it being right on the edge of town.”
Not aware of any speeding problems on the west side of town, Mount Vernon City Councilman John Fair remains concerned with the traffic speed on East High Street.
“An issue was brought to council last year to consider lowering the speed limit on East High Street to 25 miles per hour,” said Fair. “The issue was defeated by a 4-3 vote, but the problem still remains of speeding vehicles and truck concerns. It’s not a state route; but it is a widened street, so it looks the same as [U.S.] 36.”
A flashing yellow light was installed last year near East Elementary School in attempt to keep traffic at a slow speed. “What do we need to do to enforce the law?” asked Fair. “Maybe write more tickets?”
With no massive influx of speeding reports documented by Dave Glass, the speed trailer has been moved to various locations lately. “We move this trailer to troubled areas when we get reports,” said Glass. “You will never catch them all (speeders); and this trailer’s purpose is to be an educational tool. I believe the police chief is keeping an eye on the situation.”
Mount Vernon Police Chief Mike Merrilees urges residents to inform the police department about cases of speeding problems. “I get complaints regularly and let my officers know of problem areas,” said Merrilees. “Letting us know of a particular time and place is always helpful. While we currently have a staff of four or five officers working at a time, we’ll be glad to show our presence and write some tickets for the safety of our citizens.”