Hey you! Slow down!
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:09 PM
"Your speed is...Each vehicle fills in the blank.And one by one, they drive past - not speed past, or roar past, but drive past. Most are within 5 mph of the 25 mph speed limit.That's a rare sight, Grow Avenue neighbors say.People are driving with their brake lights on - you never see that, said resident Todd Egan.The instrument of change this week, on a street where residents have lodged ongoing complaints about speeding drivers, was a radar gun hooked to a large digital display, both mounted atop a private vehicle at the roadside.The apparatus was borrowed from Bainbridge Police, and used for several hours on Monday to monitor traffic in both directions.They want to speed, but they see (the sign) and they slow down, said Dave Corn, one of a group of neighbors who have been monitoring traffic for weeks. It has a great effect.As bystanders watched, the eyes of most passing drivers were drawn to the sign as it announced their speed on a bright display. Many braked abruptly, with several looking frantically about to see if there was a police officer parked across the road.Today, there wasn't. But that may not always be true.Bainbridge Police Chief Bill Cooper is still lobbying for funding for a new patrol officer to handle full-time traffic duty.You can get all the technology you want, but it doesn't take care of enforcement, Cooper said.Until then, there are the sign boards. The one used on Grow Avenue Monday has been collecting dust in a police department closet for several years, largely because there was no one to set it up and man it, Cooper said.Cooper credited the Grow Avenue neighbors for helping bring the issue of speeders to the fore, and inspire the police to dust (the sign) off and get it out. Ferncliff-area residents will use the device next to monitor speeders in that neighborhood, and the department will make it available to others as well.Cooper said Monday that the department has received state grant funding of $1,443 for a second speed display for radar monitoring. And police hope to get city council approval to purchase a third, more sophisticated display. That $6,800 device would not only display speeds, but would record a variety of traffic information that would be useful for traffic engineers looking at overall vehicle use in an area.The proposal is being reviewed by a council committee. "