Police to crack down on Bridge Street speeders

Bridge Street in the Ashtabula Harbor is a busy place, attracting shoppers and diners. Recent complaints of people driving faster than the 25 mph posted speed limit have resulted in the city police cracking down on speeders.

ASHTABULA — Amid complaints by merchants and residents that motorists are flouting speed limits on Bridge Street, city police said Thursday they are going to crack down on speeders.

“We will provide extra patrols,” said Chief Robert Stell.

Police will monitor certain intersections, stop signs and crosswalks. Anyone going faster than the 25 mph speed limit will be stopped, he said.

The high-visibility enforcement came about after Bridge Street merchant Toni Carlisle asked City Council for help at Monday night’s meeting.

“What can we do to slow cars down?” she said. “It’s a real issue ... it’s dangerous.”

Merchant Jenny Luhta, said she’s seen people almost get hit because drivers don’t stop at the crosswalks. She asked about portable speed bumps or flashing signs.

Ward 2 Councilman August Pugliese said a few years ago the city put up signs on the crosswalks and motorists ran over the signs, destroying them.

“We will try to do what we can,” City Manager Jim Timonere said.

The manager and council members suggested a number of possible solutions, including signs that show what speed the motorist is traveling, additional signs warning drivers to slow down and having a police officer sit down there.

Timonere said people slowed down when the city had traffic cameras. 

 “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,” he said.

After much controversy, traffic cameras were voted out of Ashtabula by a 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.

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