Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is speeding a problem in Bellevue?

Resident, police chief say motorists pose a threat

Express Staff Writer

Although they may seem to be about as regular as clockwork, complaints related to excessive in-town speeding do generate quite a lot of discussion when they arise.

The latest instance came to light during a Bellevue City Council meeting last Thursday when city resident Dan Higgins expressed concerns with what he characterized as reckless driving taking place on sections of Pine Street.

The speeding problem takes place where Muldoon Canyon Road, which is outside of the city limits in Blaine County, enters the city and becomes Pine Street near Ridgeview Drive, Higgins said. Many drivers don't recognize that they've entered the city and so continue speeding, he said.

Saying he's a father of two children, Higgins asked the council to do something to curb speeding before tragedy strikes.

"Somebody's going to be hurt," he said.

Higgins attributed much of the problem to a lack of stop signs and speed signs at appropriate locations.

"People are going by at 45 (mph)," he said.

Not having an around-the-clock police presence is also an issue, Higgins said.

"Unfortunately you can't have people patrolling 24 hours," he said.

Some residents in his neighborhood have discussed the possibility of installing speedbumps to slow the traffic down, Higgins noted.

"I'm fine with that," he said.

Installing speedbumps on certain streets in the city is an idea that needs to be looked into further, Bellevue City Councilman Steve Fairbrother said.

"That's something we really need to address," Fairbrother said.

Asked what should be done to address speeding in the city, Bellevue Police Chief Tim Green said that just adding more signs won't take care of the problem entirely.

"People don't care," he said. "People are not paying attention."

Echoing Higgin's concerns, Green admitted that speeding in Bellevue is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. With so many kids traveling on city streets, an accident is bound to happen if something more isn't done to control the problem, he said.

"It's just a matter of time," Green said.

Thursday's discussion generated a number of other possible ways of addressing the problem. These ideas include installing additional stop signs on targeted intersections, placing unattended speed enforcement trailers at specific points throughout Bellevue and installing signs at the Bellevue city limits indicating that motorists have entered the city.

Bellevue Mayor Jon Anderson also suggested that the city could approach Blaine County to possibly work with it to install speed signs on county streets at entrances to the city.

"I could make a suggestion to the (Blaine County) Commission," Anderson told Higgins toward the end of the discussion.

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