WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — People trying to calm speeding in their Winston-Salem neighborhoods are learning that getting people to lay off the gas is a slow process in its own right.
In the Sherwood Forest area of Winston-Salem, some say they’ve had too many close calls.
“One, they went through here, hit the stop sign, went through the center of the yard,” said Wendy Prior, while standing near her driveway. “We had another lady that jumped the curb, went over and kept on driving.”
Prior and others requested that the police department do a traffic study in their neighborhood and she says it confirmed what they thought all along, adding that about 1,600 drivers take her stretch of road every day.
“We have high levels of speeding at certain times of the day,” she said.
Police say the majority of drivers were traveling within 5 miles per hour of the 25 mile per hour speed limit. But for Prior and neighbors, it’s the outliers – the people going about double the speed limit – that stand out.
“There’s a lot of people and a lot of foot traffic, so it’s dangerous,” she said.
The City of Winston-Salem says there is a process to request speed calming in your neighborhood, beginning with a call to City Link. The request will then be sent to the city DOT, which will collect data, evaluate and work with residents.
The city will then do a qualitative assessment to see if the streets qualify for traffic calming, then will form a traffic calming task force made up with people representing the streets or neighborhoods to come up with solutions.
Following, there will be a neighborhood meeting to present the ideas. If there aren’t any specific changes, the plan will be brought to police, fire and EMS for review.
Traffic calming measures cannot increase the departments’ response times by more than 60 seconds.
“They just don’t want us to slow them down too much,” Prior said. “Safety’s important, the thing is I don’t think one speed bump is going to slow them down more than 40 seconds.”
If the first responders sign off on the plan, the neighborhood will have to vote and approve it by a 70 percent margin.
“It is not an easy process,” Prior added.
If passed, the plan will then go in front of the city council for approval and funding.