I have been living in St.Charles for less than two years on a "back road"
that runs parallel to a busy North-South road. For whatever reason, more and
more people are finding this "short cut" and speeding down our small road.
Some speed, some disobey no-passing laws and some even ignore stop signs.
Many are younger-looking people and many are huge gravel or dirt trucks. It
poses a great danger to play around with these drivers and a lower speed
limit may deter some of them to take this route. In the short time I've
lived here, there have been at least three deaths from people treating this
street as a highway. My question to you would be HOW can a group of
neighbors, backed with signed petitions or whatever, arm ourselves to fight
for a lower speed limit and more patrolling by the local county sheriffs?
Thanks for your time and thanks for a very interesting column.
-Ed, Unincorporated St.Charles resident
Ed, it sounds like you already have an idea of how to tackle this problem. I would try and get documentation of the problem ready, that being police reports, pictures or videos, newspaper articles, personal or signed written testimony, or anything else you can think of. Signed petitions are another great way to get your point across. Then approach your local officials with the information. Depending on who maintains the road, that might be the city council, county board, or township board. Present your information along with as many residents that can appear. You can request that a study be done of how many vehicles are going through the area, and at what speeds. A vehicle count and speed survey could be conducted, either by the local government, highway supervisor, or yourselves. I would also contact the police agency, in this case the Sheriff's Department. Tell them you would like to meet with the community policing officer if one is available. His job is to solve community problems exactly like this. He or she may be able to guide you in the process.
This sounds like a very serious problem and I would expect that your community leaders would want to be responsive to prevent further tragedy. By the way, contacting the media could also be very effective. Sometimes dangerous situations such as this can be overlooked until citizens like yourselves call it to the attention of our leaders and present them with information that shows that action is required. I wish you good luck with your effort. Randy