SCHENECTADY — An effort from a group of Woodlawn residents to raise awareness about speeding issues on Kings Road has resulted in increased police enforcement in the area, as officials seek a lasting solution for the problem.
Neighbors Tracey Collins and Kevin Brown addressed the Schenectady City Council during the board’s April 24 meeting, noting the constant stream of cars traveling over the 30 mph speed limit outside their homes at the intersection of Queen Philomena Boulevard and Kings Road.
Collins placed large boulders outside his property after a string of accidents from speeding drivers resulted in approximately $3,000 worth of damage to his property.
The residents requested that the city install at least two stop signs along Kings Road in Woodlawn and increased patrol units in the area.
After the council meeting and a forum with Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford at a Woodlawn Neighborhood Association meeting in late April, the residents have seen an improvement in police presence in their neighborhood, they said.
Collins said on Tuesday that there has been steady enforcement from Schenectady patrol vehicles daily in the afternoon and early evening over the past several weeks.
“They’ve been stopping the speeders, but it’s still a major issue once the officers leave,” he said. “I know they can’t be there 24/7, but once the people know the police are out of the area, they’re definitely still speeding up, especially a lot of the big trucks.”
Sgt. Patrick Irwin, spokesperson for the Schenectady Police Department, on Tuesday said that police units are monitoring the area for speeding drivers.
“We have increased patrols as well as placing a patrol car during peak commuting times in the morning and evening to address speeding,” he said.
During the council’s meeting on Monday night, City Councilman Carl Williams said he is seeking legislative solutions to the problem.
“Actions are being evaluated,” he said during the meeting. “As we look to do traffic studies, which are unfortunately a required aspect of this work, I ask that neighborhood in particular to be patient. I’m also evaluating additional means to see if there are ways we can utilize technological assistance where we recognize where staffing is very much sometime that we have to work around in putting actual police officers in these neighborhoods.”
The city had previously installed sensors on lampposts above Kings Road to monitor the speed that vehicles are traveling along the roadway.
“Some of the sensors that are in place now give us more detail with traffic counts and other things,” McCarthy said on Tuesday. “We’re just starting to be able to pull some of that information and actually use it. So we’re doing some analysis for Kings Road and other spots in the city.”
McCarthy said the data would be used in a traffic study and to support police enforcement of speeding zones.
The mayor said there are potential barriers to installing stop signs along Kings Road that the community members are requesting.
“We’re looking at all of the options,” McCarthy said. “What guides this is the [federal] Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices and you cannot use stop signs to control speed.”
Collins said that with the increased police patrols he is sensing positive momentum for reducing speeding in Woodlawn.
“They’re definitely slowing the speed down a bit,” he said. “I spoke with Carl Williams yesterday [Monday] and he told me he’s trying to do some legislation to get us some stop signs, which we’re hoping happens. Because we definitely need to put a complete stop to it. If we can get them to stop for a few seconds and then reaccelerate and stop again, I’m hoping and praying that it would make a big improvement on Kings Road.”
The homeowner said he wants to stop speeding along Kings Road before a fatality occurs along the road.
“I’m not going to stop until we have a solution on this issue,” Collins said on Tuesday. “I’ve had my property destroyed seven times and I’m not looking for an eighth.”
Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TedRemsnyder.