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Slow down, especially in residential neighborhoods

Staff Report • Feb 15, 2013 at 8:30 AM

A front-page story Monday about a family pet struck down by a speeder in a residential area of Johnson City has moved us to repeat something we say to drivers over and over again on this page: Slow down. The speed limit is 25 mph in all residential zones of the city.

Speeding is usually ranked as the No. 1 problem in neighborhoods all across this nation, and Johnson City is no exception. To those drivers who regularly speed through residential areas (often while texting or talking on cell phones) we ask: What’s the hurry? Is getting there a few seconds earlier worth risking your life or that of another?

Children play in these neighborhoods. People walk their dogs on these streets. The callous and thoughtless actions of speeders have real consequences. Just ask Kate Zimmerman, a resident of West Maple Street, who watched in horror recently when her dog, Honey, was struck by a hit-and-run speeder in front of her house. Her 9-month-old border collie later died en route to the veterinary hospital.

Speeding is a particular concern of Zimmerman’s and other residents in the “Tree Streets,” who have seen their neighborhood used as “cut-throughs” by motorists who don’t live there. Johnson City officials have tried to educate the public on why driving too fast through residential zones (particularly in those areas that lack sidewalks and offer on-street parking) is so dangerous to pedestrians, children and pets.

No police department in this country has all the resources it needs to patrol every neighborhood in its jurisdiction for speeders. That’s one reason officials in some cities have implemented neighborhood speed-watch programs that ask citizens to report speeders. Offenders are later sent a letter politely reminding them to slow down.

Police in Johnson City also ask residents to report speeders in residential areas. The city has also installed roundabouts, speed humps and other traffic-calming devices to slow down motorists.

None of these measures would be needed if drivers would simply do one thing — slow down.

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