Police watching for speeders on West Muirlands

By Dave Schwab

“Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” and like you don’t want to get a ticket on West Muirlands Drive where residents are continuing their campaign for lower speeds.

New city signs have gone up in the past couple of weeks that show the speed limit at 30 mph and neighbors have posted their own warning signs.

Compounding their troubles with people using the street as a shortcut from Faye Avenue to Nautilus Street, has been ongoing construction this summer to replace existing 1950s-era cast-iron pipes with plastic pipes. It’s now nearing completion, a city spokeswoman said.

Mark McCullough, San Diego Police Department spokesman, said both ends of the street have the signs showing the new allowable speed. In order to qualify for radar enforcement, the speed limit had to be increased from 25 to 30 mph.

Gary Pence, a senior traffic engineer with the city who has worked with the neighborhood in recent weeks, said, “Once people realize they can, and will, get tickets down there … We’ll see if it results in lower speeds; maybe even lower the (traffic) volume.

He added that “we’re taking it step by step, doing the least restrictive measure (speed limit change) and see if we get some acceptable results.”

Gina Tapper, one of several West Muirlands neighbors who has taken up the effort to slow drivers, said “Residents are no longer going to put up with this speedway … This is a residential street, not a street where people can go 50 or 60 mph. It’s just a matter of time before somebody gets killed.”

It was Tapper who found a new way to discourage speeders — lawn signs costing $10 printed on both sides urging people to “Drive like Their Kids Live Here.”

She ordered them from Connecticut resident Petulia Pugliares, who founded Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, a company with a mission to provide a safer environment for children and families.

“We live off a fairly busy road with crosswalks within a mile of two elementary schools at a four-way stop sign that drivers were not stopping at but slowing down and causing accidents and near misses,” Pugliares said. “I was nearly hit by an automobile, and at that point I said enough is enough, and I thought “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” would be a powerful message that would hit home for most people.”

Pugliares designed a couple of signs, put them on her street corner, they got noticed and have since been spreading nationwide.