CENTERBURG — Traffic on Union Street was the primary discussion Tuesday night when the Centerburg Village Council safety committee met at town hall. Union Street resident Roxanne Quinn shared her concern with the committee and multiple actions were discussed.
Quinn had addressed village council on Oct. 1, expressing concern for traffic safety on Union and Preston streets. Quinn later spoke to the News explaining that her concern peaked when the family’s dog was struck and killed by a speeding vehicle on Sept. 23.
The dog, a 85-pound Lab/Rottweiller mix named Bea, was familiar in the community as a winning 4-H competitor at the Knox County Fair and a dog agility performer at the Oldtime Farming Festival. Quinn said the family received condolences for their loss.
“I understand my dog ran into the road and accidents happen,” Quinn said, “but the guy was going so fast, he couldn’t stop until after both sets of wheels ran over Bea.”
At that earlier meeting, Quinn said, “That could have been a child.” Quinn expressed concern for the residents of the community as well has her own children, daughter Molly, 11, and son Brad, 9.
The Quinn family has lived in their Union Street home for one year and she said she has seen four seasons worth of problems.
The Safety Committee meeting includes Mayor Diana Stockmaster, Dave Beck, Ronda Seligman, James Coffey and village administrator Phil Lohmeyer.
Quinn reviewed her concerns and she thanked the committee for placing a portable speed radar display on the street earlier this week to advise motorists of their speed in the area of the reduced school speed zone. The signs are reputed to effectively calm traffic by alerting drivers of their actual speed compared to the posted speed limit.
Stockmaster advised her that the sign would be moved this week to note the speeds vehicles travel further down the street. She also explained to the committee that she had spoken with Centerburg schools superintendent Mike Hebenthal about the designation of the street as a school zone since the new high school was relocated.
Hebenthal, the mayor said, and the sheriff’s department deputies who patrol the village, do consider it a school zone.
She said Hebenthal was going to talk to football coaches to encourage them to remind athletes of the speed limit and safety. But Quinn noted that much of the activity on the street extends all year and not just during football season. She also said she thought the excessive speeds were attributed more to motorists using the street as a cut-through and from other traffic.
Quinn said the street is heavily traveled and pointed out that in addition to athletic fields, there are three playgrounds, Head Start daycare programs, and the senior citizen center located adjacent to the street.
“There’s activity all day long,” she stated, “and as soon as the daytime activities wrap up, there’s sport practices.”
She also said that she has filmed activity on the street and last Thursday recorded 135 vehicles in 90 minutes. Some vehicles even fail to stop at the stop sign, she said.
Quinn also said she was doing research to identify the dates of three cases of children struck by vehicles on Union or Preston streets in the last decade, indicating there was a genuine concern in the area.
The committee agreed and the mayor knew of cases involving children and stated, “It has been a constant discussion.” Stockmaster said speed bumps were not an option because they would set a precedent that other residents might request.
Stockmaster said the fire department expressed a concern in the past and as a result the road was widened and resurfaced and ‘No Parking’ signs were posted for football traffic so emergency vehicles had safer access.
The street had also been discussed for one way traffic but residents were opposed.
Quinn said two organizations were willing to hold fundraisers to pay for a solution and suggested perhaps a solar-powered sign. The mayor said she would talk to the Hebenthal about a flashing school zone sign.
In the meantime, the committee agreed to ask deputies to patrol the street more frequently. They will also explore ‘Children at Play’ signs and establishing a crosswalk for pedestrians.
Beck stated, “I think it’s good to have the patrol there to slow people down.” He also noted, “We can enforce the rules but people are responsible for their own actions.”
Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about safety in general, but particularly in the area of Union and Preston street where the lure of outdoor activity can be a safety concern.
For the rest of the story
The rest of this article is available to Mount Vernon News subscribers. To continue reading, please log in or purchase a subscription. Click here for the October 26, 2012 e-edition. The article will only be available for thirty (30) days.
Contact Pamela SchehlEmail
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.