Council hears complaints about speeding vehicles

By on July 31, 2019

Speeding is a problem that plagues many neighborhoods in Lititz Borough.

At the July 30 meeting of Lititz Borough Council, several residents of South Oak Street asked the borough to do something about speeding on their busy street.

David Good of South Oak Street had a good reason to seek help. Earlier this year, his car was totaled when a careless driver hit his vehicle that was parked on South Oak Street. Although Lititz

Borough Police did not cite the driver for speeding, neighbors are convinced that speed was a factor.

“Our street is getting more and more busy,” said Good, who reported that drivers tend to exceed the 25 mph posted speed limit, weave in and out of parked vehicles, and numerous parked vehicles have their mirrors knocked off, or worse.

For the last few weeks, Lititz Borough Police have placed a speed box on South Oak to let drivers know what their speed is. That has been helping, said Good.

“It at least makes drivers aware that they are speeding,” he said.

According to Lititz Police Chief Kerry Nye, police have also been increasing their presence on South Oak, resulting in several speeding citations. The speed sentry boxes help as well, and at busy times, speeders have clocked speeds as high as 35, 40, 45 mph, or more. A check after the meeting showed several drivers traveling at 28, 30, 35, or more, and at least one was traveling at 46 mph.

Lititz Police Officer Claud Neer (right) was released from his probationary period to become a full-fledged Lititz Borough Police officer. Neer joined the Lititz department in July 2018 and was sworn in by Mayor Timothy Snyder (left) at that time. Photo by Laura Knowles.

 

 

A driver travels 28 mph on South Oak Street where residents have complained that drivers exceed the 25 mph speed limit, weave in and out of parked vehicles, and have reported that numerous parked vehicles had mirrors knocked off, or worse.

Lititz Borough Council said goodbye to council member John Bear, who is resigning because he is moving from Lititz Borough to Manheim Township. Bear has been on borough council for two years.  Photo by Laura Knowles. 

 

As a first step, Nye suggested that the borough extend the double yellow lines on South Oak from Plum Street to Kissel Hill Road. That should help to reinforce to drivers where their lane is and encourage them to stay in their lane.

Borough Council agreed and the double yellow lines will be painted in the next month or so, when repaving is done on nearby Landis Valley Road.

One of Good’s neighbors, Ben Hartranft said that the double yellow lines would be a good start. He hoped that the speed boxes could stay up for a few more weeks, since they do seem to increase awareness by drivers.

Other suggestions, such as a four-way stop sign, would not meet the PennDOT criteria for a four-way stop sign, because there have not been enough accidents there. In 2017, there were three accidents, in 2018 there were none, and in 2019 there were two. That is less than the number needed to consider a four-way stop sign.

Nye did suggest that a crosswalk might be put in at Plum Street, which would require cut-ins to the curb to allow for accessibility. The crosswalk would also need to be reviewed to make sure that intersection is safe enough for pedestrians to cross there.

The possibility of speed bumps could be considered. They are located on North Oak. However, borough council member Scott Hain noted that speed bumps force drivers to slow down, but then they speed up as soon as they have crossed the bump.

“This is a problem on many streets in the borough,” said Nye, noting that residents of Second Avenue, Cedar Street, and other streets have been complaining of the same issues.

One resident of Sixth Street expressed his concern about speeding on his street, which will eventually be extended through to Route 772 and Clay Road, thus increasing traffic.

Ron Roda related a story about a young child who was chasing a ball into the street in front of his home, and was rescued by a neighbor before running into the road to retrieve the ball.

“What is a car count compared to a human life?” asked Roda. “If I have to come here very month, I will, until something is done.”

One of the things Nye would like to have done is to allow Lititz Borough Police officers to use radar. According to Nye, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not permit municipal police to use radar to enforce speeding. He asked that people contact their Pennsylvania officials to encourage them to vote for municipal police radar.

In a police-related matter, Lititz Police Officer Claud Neer was released from his probationary period to become a full-fledged Lititz Borough Police officer. Neer joined the Lititz department in

July 2018 and was sworn in by Mayor Timothy Snyder at that time.

Lititz Borough Council said good-bye to council member John Bear, who is resigning because he is moving from Lititz Borough to Manheim Township. Bear has been on borough council for two years. It was his second stint as a council member, having served previously on council before being elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives several years ago. Council did not indicate when the council position will be filled.

Prior to the meeting, a public hearing for conditional use was held. Borough Council approved the request of Mike and Cindy Brubaker to demolish an out building in their recently purchased property at 40 South Broad Street. Although the building was listed as being a historic accessory building, an inspector verified that it was in a dilapidated condition with structural damage to support walls. The building is also too close to the alley.

The Brubakers plan to rebuild the garage with the proper setback from the road and in a style that will match the house’s historic character.

“I think it will fit in well,” said Elijah Yearick, director of community planning for the borough.

Yearick also reported on Comcast’s progress in correcting complaints from some Lititz Borough residents on the work being done by Comcast’s contractor. Yearick indicated that mistakes have been corrected on the borough-wide project that will eventually allow Comcast to provide internet services.

He noted that is some cases, sod that was planted to cover the areas that were dug up has died due to the recent high heat. The contractor is contacting homeowners to replant new sod to replace the dead sod. There are still issue to be corrected on Laurel, Peach, and Apple, and Comcast said it is planning a better community outreach program on upcoming work.

Yearick also confirmed that the dreaded Spotted Lanternfly has been officially spotted in the borough. Among the areas where the tree-killing invader from Asia have been located are behind Bullshead Pub, on Raspberry Lane, behind Turkey Hill, and Pennwyck Drive. The invasive insect is a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries.

As young nymphs they are black with white spots. Then they turn into red, black and white older nymphs. The moth-like adults are light gray with spots and wings that open into white with dark spots and red accent wings.

Jordan Garner of the public works department has spotted most of them in Tree of Heaven trees, which are also native plants from Asia, and a favorite hangout for the spotted lanternfly. Plans are underway to remove several trees in the borough. As for the fate of the spotted lanternfly, anyone who finds them is asked to kill them immediately.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

2 Comments

  1. Mike

    August 2, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Radar can make MANY errors and fails the Daubert Test. Pull up Radargate Revisited to see. Can’t tell which car made the reading, either. Absurdly low speed limits, tickets at 6 mph above them.

    Speed limits should be set to the 85th percentile free flowing traffic speed, but they are not. This means more crashes, tickets to safe drivers, and the wrong drivers.

    PennDOT’s own data shows that the roads have never been safer. I do have a simple solution. Make ALL tickets only points, no fines or surcharges. See who wants radar then. In the end, money talks and that is 100% of what this is about. Want full compliance, then post PROPER speed limits!

    Better get ready to pay up to drive anywhere!

    Check out the National Motorists Association and oppose this misguided radar push.

  2. Tom McCarey

    August 4, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    The general population have been misinformed about RADAR and “speeding.”

    The Legislature is considering legislation that is anti-safety and anti-driver, part of the enforcement-for-profit-not-safety racket that has infected Harrisburg: their desire to give RADAR to municipal police.

    RADAR should be banned in Pennsylvania and not extended to municipal police. There is no epidemic crisis of speeding, only an epidemic crisis of highway engineering malpractice allowing well meaning but misinformed politicians to seek more and more money from safe drivers.

    RADAR is not about highway safety, RADAR is about raising revenue. RADAR guns are notoriously inaccurate, for instance, clocking trees at 90 MPH, and being unable to distinguish between cars. Claiming that the ticket money doesn’t go to the government is a red herring: 80% of ticket money will go to the state – a big incentive to arm police with RADAR guns. And saying that some of the ticket money goes to “good causes” in order to build support for RADAR is plain deception. For the attorneys reading this, RADAR fails the Daubert Test concerning the admissibility of evidence in court.

    Every police traffic report requires three entries for “cause of accident,” and “excessive speed” is almost always listed as one of the three whether or not the driver was actually speeding: it’s a throw-away entry. This gives NHTSA and the “safety” lobby carte blanche, by manipulating their “statistics,” to raise the roof about all those maniacs slaughtering people on the highways, which is not true.

    Not to mention that PennDOT declared , in 2016, that Pennsylvania’s roads are the safest they have ever been.
    And according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS ) maintained by NHTSA/FHWA, the 2017 fatality rate for PA was 1.12 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The national average was 1.16 for 2017. PA is doing OK — better than average — in that respect. Are drivers suddenly running amok? I don’t think so.

    Speed is a cause of accidents 5% of the time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) [DOT HS 811 059 National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey]. The Florida Department of Transportation puts it at 2%. Speed as a cause of accidents when traffic is free flowing is a rare event, yet this is when the majority of citations are written. Speed traps are staged where it is safe to drive faster, making it easy to write tickets.

    Yet, 50 years of government propaganda and misinformation about highway safety makes it easy for the “safety” lobby to declare that unless we give local police RADAR guns, everybody’s going to die! And far too many otherwise reasonable people agree, so that in the end, the special interests who profit from RADAR, the RADAR manufacturers, auto insurers, governments, the police, and the courts, get their go-ahead to unfairly tax (ticket) drivers.
    Posted speed limits are at the bottom of all of this. What is the safest speed* and who decides? An engineering concept known as the 85th Percentile Speed* very simply says that 85 out of 100 motor vehicles will travel at or below a speed which is reasonable and prudent. It is the safest speed* with the most compliance. But posting limits at the 85th Percentile Speed* makes the job of the police, that is, to collect taxes for the government, very difficult indeed since 85% of drivers are not speeding.

    The Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) found that 90% of the time speed limits in Pennsylvania are posted 8 to 16 miles per hour below the safest speed*. The politicians’ response to complaints from uninformed and misled constituents about “speeders” is to push for arming all police state-wide with RADAR guns, while keeping posted limits too low and withholding NHTSA, FHwA and other statistics showing that there is no speeding crisis.

    Hunting down drivers with RADAR guns will not improve highway safety, and the unfair and unnecessary enforcement of too-low limits will foster contempt for law enforcement. Money is the one and only reason for arming municipal police with RADAR guns.

    Until speed limits are set at the safest speed* using proper, time-tested highway engineering, as called for in Title 75, highway safety will not be improved. RADAR guns will only raise money, they will not improve highway safety.

    RADAR guns should not be given to municipal police.

    I urge all drivers to tell their Representative to vote NO on Senate Bill 607 and to vote NO on all RADAR bills or we will get speed traps everywhere. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Tom McCarey Member, National Motorists Association
    The opinions expressed in this letter belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the NMA or the NMA Foundation

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