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Let’s do more than scream about speeders

By Joe Parker

President, Bird Rock Community Council

I’ve become the person I said I’d never be. I’m the annoying guy standing in the street yelling at speeding drivers to slow down in our busy neighborhood.

I used to be embarrassed by the change in me, but not anymore — after all, I’m just a father looking out for my family, so who can blame me? What does bother me is that others have not undergone the same change — residents in our own community who simply refuse to take a moment out of their busy lives to slow down. Most days I’m incredulous as I witness the same scene over and over again — parents with children in tow, driving through stop signs, exceeding safe speeds and careening wildly around blind corners, all with no apparent regard for such high-risk behavior. Do these people speed on their own streets, too, or just mine and others? Worse, what do they say to their children as they glare at me while I’m waving my arms begging them to slow down?

To be sure, Bird Rock has undergone many changes over the years, and substantial infrastructure such as roundabouts, medians, improved striping and sign-age has been deployed in an effort to slow traffic and make our community more walk-about friendly. We continue these efforts in the business district by addressing lighting issues, malfunctioning crosswalk signals and much-needed plant abatement in median areas, all aimed at improving the visibility of both drivers and pedestrians. I’m grateful for the dedicated volunteers who undertake these difficult tasks, and I thank those who take the time to express their appreciation to them.

Bird Rock is now entering its third phase of traffic-calming measures. This year, the BRCC will undertake studied surveys of our neighborhoods in an effort to bring safety back to our residential streets as we deal with the continuing problem of traffic diverting through them. One aspect of this program will be to increase our residents’ awareness of the need to slow down as our children and others take to the streets to play, exercise or just enjoy a nice walk.

Maybe standing out in the street waving my arms isn’t the best way to get the message out. However, it has helped me understand how serious the problem is, and the fact that deploying more infrastructure doesn’t change bad habits; it only regulates them. So the next time you see me, just remember, my heart is in the right place, I’m not only thinking about my family; the Bird Rock Community Council is thinking about yours.