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Speed bumps trigger heated debate in Uniontown

| Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Uniontown City Police Chief Jason Cox restored order to the city council meeting Wednesday night when Oakland Avenue area residents became engaged in a heated argument over the recent installation of speed bumps.

Michael and Christine Schock of Oakland Avenue told council members they have been threatened and harassed because they asked the city to install the speed bumps in an effort to slow traffic down and keep motorists from using the street as a shortcut between routes 40 and 51.

“We just want to make you aware that this situation could become a legal matter,” Michael Schock told council members. “We've hired an attorney to represent us.”

“No one has been harassing you,” an unidentified man screamed. “That's not true.”

As the argument continued, Cox approached the residents as he took action to restore order at the meeting.

“This is a city council meeting where important decisions need to be made,” Cox said. “The next person who speaks at this meeting will be arrested.”

A standing-room-only crowd then calmed down as the council meeting continued.

John Over of K2 Engineering, the city's engineering firm, said he recently conducted a traffic study in the area.

Over told the crowd he was recommending that council designate one-way streets in the neighborhood in an attempt to slow down traffic and make the neighborhood safe. Another option would be to install additional speed bumps that meet PennDOT regulations in the neighborhood.

“I know you really don't want to hear this because it's going to make it more inconvenient for the people who live in the neighborhood, but those are really our only options,” Over said.

Instead of continuing to debate the issue at the council meeting, Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike suggested that the city schedule a public meeting to allow the residents to voice their opinions on the controversial issue.

“The meeting will be set within 30 days and it will be advertised in the local newspaper so everyone knows when it is,” Fike said.

As the meeting continued, Attorney Thomas Shaffer showed up to represent the Schocks, his clients.

“We wanted our attorney to come to make sure that what happened was part of the record for tonight's meeting,” Christine Schock said.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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