PDT Staff Writer
Scores of children walk across 14th Street between Robinson Avenue and Waller Street every day. At the same time Portsmouth Mayor David Malone and his administrative assistant Jeannette Langford, say those children are being endangered by speeding vehicles, so they will be asking Portsmouth City Council for $1,342.90 to place speed humps at four locations on 14th to attempt to protect the children.
“It’s very dangerous on that street as cars come around Robinson, or even Waller, heading east,” Malone said. “They basically speed through the street, and this issue was taken before the (City) Traffic Committee, and the Traffic Committee has approved this request for a speed bump (hump). It’s very much needed for the safety and the well being of our children there in that community.”
Sixth Ward Councilman Steve Sturgill asked Malone to research the issue and find out how many citation had been issued in that area, which Malone agreed to do.
Langford, representing the citizens of that area, took the issue to the City Traffic Committee, which recommended the action be taken.
“Many of the children that cross that street live in Farley Square, but also they have the Community Action Head Start program in Farley Square as well,” Langford said. “We stand out there and watch them trying to cross those children across the street and cars will speed right past at the time they cross the street.”
“It would not do any good to put an officer there unless they could stay there from early in the morning until late in the evening,” Langford said. “I don’t think we have that kind of manpower to just designate a police officer there.”
Langford said children playing in Bannon Park cross at the intersection in front of the Community Center, and over 100 children involved in the summer outreach program, sponsored by the Scioto County Counseling Center, cross there every day as well.
“I have watched it, and I have had the police department there. They supported it when it went to the Traffic Committee, because they also have seen what goes on when those little children cross the street,” Langford said.
“We’ve had many requests for speed bumps and I’m afraid we will really have an abundance of requests, after this is done,” Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb said. “And I was wondering if there was anything else that we could do - maybe a designated crosswalk or something.”
“They’ve already done that,” Malone said. “And it’s still an issue with the cars. Your concerns were voiced at the Traffic Committee as well.”
Langford told Council the Traffic Committee understands that the outgrowth of the move will be more requests for speed humps in other parts of the city, but told her they would consider each on its own merits.
“Their (Traffic Committee) determination is that this is about children whose lives are at stake,” Langford said. “And if someone wants to have a speed hump on their street just to have a speed hump, they (Traffic Committee) have no problem turning them down.”
Speed humps are usually 12- to 15-feet long and four-inches in height. Usually, they are painted to identify a vertical change in the road and there should be advance warning signs from both directions. There are many municipalities across the country which have successfully installed these humps even though they create local controversy.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org