ASHTABULA — City officials are looking at ways to slow down motorists on West Avenue, Main Avenue and Bridge Street.
Ward 4 Councilman Michael Speelman, who chairs council’s Safety Forces Committee, said at Monday night’s City Council meeting that his committee looked into more signage to stop speeders.
“It costs about $3,500 for signs [that flash how fast motorists are going],” he said. “Police know speeding is a problem, but they also have a drug problem to deal with. The chief says he’s aware of it.”
The speed limit on Main Avenue and Bridge Street is 25 mph, and 35 mph on West Avenue, but many business owners say most drivers go faster than that.
Bridge Street merchant, Jenny Luhta, said she’s seen people almost get hit because drivers don’t stop at the crosswalks.
Speelman said he’s received complaints about motorists speeding, and in the past, suggested repainting crosswalks and erecting more crosswalk safety signs.
City Manager Jim Timonere said speeding vehicles is a citywide issue. Signs have been used in the past, but were “consistently blown away by vehicles,” he said.
Last month, Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said officers would patrol and ticket speeders on Bridge Street.
“When they are faced with fines, hopefully their attitudes will change,” Timonere said. “There is no doubt we saw reduced speeds when we had traffic cameras in the area and the communities that still have them see the benefits.”
After much controversy, traffic cameras were voted out of Ashtabula by 61-39 percent in the November 2011 election. That meant in order for the police department to continue using the cameras it would have been required to place a police officer at every photo enforcement location it planned to use.
At the time, Stell said there’s no need for a camera if a police officer is on site, so the speed cameras were removed.