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Is there a speeding problem on Washington Street?

Mike McIntosh says there’s a speeding problem on Washington Street and he’d like the Chelsea City Council to find a solution.

Mike McIntosh

He and his neighbors are so frustrated by what they say is a serious problem, and he handed the City Council a petition signed by about 40 residents who live on Washington Street, Clardale Court, East and Summit streets.

He asked the City Council to help resolve what they see as a serious speeding issue on Washington Street – a road where Council Members Rod Anderson and Ann Feeney as well as Mayor Jason Lindauer live. Council Member Frank Hammer lives on East Street that feeds into Washington Street.

McIntosh said he’s spoken to the City Council Members as well as the Chelsea Police Department about the situation, and although there’s been temporary relief when police officers are deployed to set up speed traps, once the officers leave, the speeding resumes.

“Have you noticed that no one plays on the street; it’s a residential street that’s become a bypass,” he said.

McIntosh said his request was “not an affront to the police department,” but the city needs to find a way to put a permanent end to the problem.

“I know the chef’s sent cars there, but it’s not sustained,” McIntosh said, adding that he realized that officers couldn’t be on Washington Street all the time, but something more permanent needs to be done.

McIntosh said the speeders aren’t any one group of drivers, but motorists in general.

Chief Ed Toth said that a traffic study was done recently and the fastest car was clocked going 34 miles per hour. The speed limit on the street is 25 miles per hour.

“Perception is reality,” Toth said, adding that there are options such as a “smart trailer,” but one of these costs about $10,000. and if it’s placed in the same spot for too long, it tends to be vandalized. In addition, sometimes people purposely speed up to see how fast they can get it to register.

Ed Toth

“Enforcement isn’t the only option,” Toth said, “Education is another,” adding that he’d send a car out there.

Council Member Anderson requested that Toth put together some data, “not a complex measurement, it’s not going to court,” and then look at the alternatives for a solution.

However, Council Member Cheri Albertson took exception to his request.

“As a point of order,” she said, “No one Council Member can give direction to the police chief,” adding that a directive must come from the City Manager or through a vote of the City Council.

Toth said that residents who witness speeding should take note of the license plate or a make and color of a car and report it to the Police Department and an officer can make “a courtesy call” to the driver, if the person lives in the city.

He said that there are a lot of activities currently taking place at the ball fields off Washington Street. “There are baseball tournaments, and players come from all over the Midwest. They run from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.,” he said.

Plus, there tends to be more traffic on the road prior to school starting and after school as well as during the summer.

In fact, with Old US-12 closed in one direction, some local drivers are using Washington Street as an alternative route.

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2 thoughts on “Is there a speeding problem on Washington Street?”

  1. The petition only included signatures from those living on either Washington Street or Clardale Court with the single exception being one individual who regularly bikes on Washington Street and requested the opportunity to sign. The total of 40 is the approximate number of houses on Washington Street. The total number of house on Clardale Court is 8. I knocked on all doors. Of the 8 homes on Clardale Court 5 signed, 1 said no and 2 didn’t answer the door. On Washington 26 homes signed, 4 said no and the rest didn’t answer the door. The percentage in favor of council action is 87% of the residents who gave a response either in favor or against. The percentage in favor based on all homes is 62.5% in favor of enforcement. Education may be one tool but this problem has exited for over 2 decades. Enforcement and education in tandem perhaps but no enforcement and the problem will continue. Does the city have a traffic master plan?

  2. Mr. McIntosh has put in a lot of effort identifying a critical City problem and should be commended, not confronted with a wall of silence.

    I believe the need for additional traffic control can be validated at a relatively modest cost (say, <$5K). Surely we can find this amount in a $1.2 M police budget.

    Rod Anderson
    Chelsea City Council

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