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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Maumee speeding targeted

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

On any given day, on every street in Maumee, someone speeds.

Along River Road or Dudley Street, East Wayne or West John, or dozens of other streets or alleyways, motorists are ignoring the posted speed limit.

Police Chief Robert Zink says the speeding situation is no secret. The police division routinely gets phone calls and e-mail from people complaining about speeders.

But, he notes, it's not just a Maumee problem. Speeding on residential streets is a problem across the country, he said during a recent meeting of City Council's safety committee.

City officials talked about the problem and what is being done to address it in response to criticism from Councilman Brent Buehrer, who says Maumee police should give more attention to the matter.

Mr. Buehrer told the committee that when he first ran for council seven years ago, traffic speed on residential streets was a top concern of voters, and he said that is one of the reasons he ran for council.

Residents continue to express concerns about speeders on city streets, he said, and it would appear, based on the number of citations issued to speeding motorists in recent years, that the city isn't focusing as much attention as it should on the problem.

Mr. Buehrer said six citations for speeders on Clinton Street were issued in five years. But, 908 residential speeding tickets were issued from 1998-2002, he said. Of those, 242 were issued on River Road.

Chief Zink said that several steps have been taken to reduce the number of motorists who disobey the speed limit, and there are ongoing programs.

The purpose of speed enforcement is to change drivers' behavior and to make roads as safe as possible, Chief Zink said. Police officers focus enforcement efforts on streets and intersections where the highest number of traffic crashes have occurred, he said.

It would be impractical, he said, to focus on every street every day. Instead, he said, the police have to focus attention where it is needed the most.

Although Mr. Buehrer said that some residents have complained that the police have failed to respond to their concerns about speeders, Chief Zink said that the police do not ignore residents' concerns.

Speed trailers often are set up along streets where residents have complained about speeders. Officers attend seminars to learn how to deal with speeding on neighborhood streets, the chief said.

Although efforts are being made to address the issue, there is room for improvement. But the division's efforts shouldn't be measured by the number of traffic tickets, Chief Zink said.

Police have a new tool to use, a motorcycle leased for $1 a year. It will be equipped with a laser to check on speeding.



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