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2007-01-25

City to crackdown on lead-footed motorists

By David Arny

A proposal to install speed bumps on two city streets in an attempt to curtail speeding was temporarily set aside by the Bandera City Council Jan. 18 in favor of increased enforcement of the posted speed limit by city police officers.

After speaking to residents living on Cypress and Pecan Streets, as well as receiving information from interim police chief Neil McLean, council member Jason Williams made a proposal for installing the traffic control devices, citing the success in reducing the number of citizen complaints regarding speeders on Montague Street after two speed bumps were constructed there several years ago.

Williams referred to the pedestrians which were being endangered by the reckless disregard shown by some motorists driving at high rates of speed in the area, particularly students walking to and from Bandera Middle School. He acknowledged that speeding was a city-wide problem, but said the streets under discussion were a priority due to their proximity to the middle school, the playground at Pecan and 11th Street and the Boys and Girls Club near Eighth and Cypress Streets, among other busy locations.

When asked by a fellow council member whether lowering the speed limit would help, council member Williams expressed skepticism and when the suggestion was made that the radar trailer- the mobile roadside device which flashes the speed of oncoming traffic- owned by sheriff’s office be used, McLean said the instrument can actually have a reverse effect; inspiring some drivers to accelerate while having their speed documented by the flashing sign.

Officer James Brantley cited a recent event on Cypress Street, when a late-night speeder struck and killed two deer, which could have been easily avoided had the driver been traveling the proper speed limit.

McLean suggested that residents who call authorities with complaints about speeders on their streets try to give more detailed descriptions of the offenders’ vehicles in order for officers to more closely observe those drivers’ actions on the road.

Despite the fact that the Bandera Police Department is currently operating with the position of chief still open, another officer on leave and personnel being required to work longer than normal hours, it was agreed that a daily concentrated patrol of targeted streets begin in an attempt to curtail speeding. Citations will be issued to drivers who disobey the 30 mile-per-hour posted speed limit and warnings will not be given in designated areas.

Motorists with a “need for speed” should be prepared for steep fines if they are caught. County-wide guidelines call for $142 in fines and court costs for exceeding the speed limit by 1-10 m.p.h. and $296 for driving 26 m.p.h. or more over the limit, with a sliding scale in between.