August 2, 2006
Complaints from his constituents have one Augusta commissioner working to slow down speeders near schools.
How safe are your children off of school grounds?
Nearby streets act as fast shortcuts for speeders.
Speed bumps, traffic circles, stop signs, and sidewalks...county officials are exploring all kinds of options to slow down speeders near schools.
"It seems to me it's a simple solution of just putting in some stop signs," says resident Dan Silliman, who for 25 years has watched drivers ignore a 30 mile per hour speed limit.
To better demonstrate what Dan means, we put a radar gun into the hands of those whose safety is most at risk: the neighborhood children.
One nine year old caught a driver whizzing by going 50.
"At that rate of speed, it could be a serious accident waiting to happen," says commissioner Joe Bowles. Bowles and traffic engineer Steve Cassell are working to update Augusta's seven year old traffic calming ordinance.
"I plan to at least bring it before the commission over the next few months," Cassell says.
Cassell is brainstorming which traffic-slowing options would best fit Augusta's neighborhoods...options like the speed humps on Crane Ferry.
"We still have the occasional SUV that goes flying over the speed bump, but it has been very effective," says resident Natalya Thrash.
Dan, on the other hand, proposes more stop signs--a safety measure he says he'd be glad to pay for.
"How much could they be? A piece of metal and a post?"
And perhaps it is a tiny price to pay in order to prevent children from having to police their own playtime.
Joe Bowles isn't the only person receiving complaints. The Traffic Engineering Department receives four to six phone calls a day from folks wanting speed bumps.
Because any changes would effect city and county vehicles like fire trucks, the department is conducting a study.
That study may include neighborhood petitions.
One four-year study in the San Francisco area found that speed humps dramatically reduced injuries to children living near them.
The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found children living within one block of a speed hump are 50 to 60 percent less likely to be injured by a car, compared to children whose streets don't have the humps.