Neighborhood safety should go beyond concern about the violent crimes that daily fill our newspapers. We must also concentrate on reclaiming our streets from dangerous traffic that equally threatens our lives and property.
While we may be aware that more people die and are injured in traffic accidents than in all serious crimes, we often ignore the statistics that tell us the vast majority of all traffic mishaps occur within a two-square-mile radius of the victim’s home.
At 9800 and 10100 Lanshire, the statistics hit home.
Lanshire is not a major traffic artery; it is a residential street. Even so, since 1988 cut-through speeding has caused the deaths of one woman and numerous pets, and several collisions and near misses. Many residents are afraid to let their children play in their own front yards.
By 1992, after much talking and fruitless complaining to my neighbors, I decided to take action. We requested a traffic survey, which the City provided at no cost.
The survey confirmed our fears. Between 500 and 600 vehicles were crossing Lanshire daily between Ferndale and Audelia at an average speed of 50 miles per hour.
After much thought and additional studies we learned our only alternative was road humps.
Kerry Elder, transportation planner for the City, was helpful in our effort. He can be reached at 670-4221. Through him, we obtained a copy of the City’s Road Hump Policy, an eight-page document, along with petition forms and his advice on how best to achieve our goal.
Getting two-thirds of the concerned homeowners’ signatures was easy. The real difficulty was the cost.
The City’s 1993 fiscal budget funded the top two of 32 streets petitioning for road humps. Lanshire was 18 on the list, which rates each street’s need based on the percentage of excessive speeders and the number of accidents reported during the previous year.
We were told that if we wanted road humps, they would cost $5,000, and we would have to raise the money.
In October 1992, we set about raising the money. One year, one garage sale/bake sale, and numerous door-to-door requests later, we had raised $4,000. We worked very hard, but we also enjoyed ourselves and, best of all, we met all our neighbors in the process.
We went to City Hall with $4,000 of the $5,000 we thought we needed, only to discover that funding for street humps was increased in the 1994 budget, which would fund either all or 80 percent of the cost for every street on the petitioning list.
In our case, that meant we needed $1,000. The garage sale alone netted more than $1,300.
Individual contributions were refunded and the remaining cash was set aside for a neighborhood “hump” party to be held after the road humps are installed.
Elder recently informed me the project should be completed late this spring. My neighbors and I are looking forward to living on a safer street where people know each other and work together for common good.