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Housing plan residents seek to curb speeding

| Thursday, July 11, 2002

Some Sewickley Farms housing plan residents want Marshall Township officials to do something about speeding in the neighborhood.

A group of Sewickley Farms residents asked township supervisors Monday to install speed plateaus in the housing plan. However, supervisors decided a policy outlining when and where speed controls are needed must be established beforehand.

The policy would aid the township in responding to future requests regarding speed controls, township Manager Neil McFadden said.

Supervisors unanimously voted to hire a traffic consultant, at a cost of about $2,000, to draft a "traffic-calming" policy to set guidelines for such measures as speed bumps and speed plateaus.

Speed plateaus are considered "traffic-calming" devices that — like speed bumps — compel motorists to drive slowly. They differ from speed bumps, which generally have a steeper incline. Plateaus typically are 22 feet long, and rise about 3 1 / 2 inches over 6 feet, level off for 10 feet and then decline to road level.

Once the policy is set, township officials said they will consider whether speed reduction measures are needed at Sewickley Farms.

Residents there first sought supervisors' help earlier this year.

Supervisors said then the matter would be re-examined after completion of a traffic study. Results of that study showed approximately one in seven motorists traveling through the plan drove at least 10 miles over the 20 mph speed limit, McFadden said.

Sewickley Farms resident Lisa Greenler also presented supervisors with a petition indicating residents in 91 of the plan's 107 homes backed speed plateaus.

Supervisor Chairman Tom Madigan, however, said the study meant little because officials had no comparable data showing speed plateaus were warranted and called for the establishment of speed control criteria.

In the meantime, McFadden and Pine-Marshall-Bradford Woods police Chief Robert Amann will consider installing more speed limit signs and perhaps a "Watch Children" sign in the neighborhood .

Amann said that after hearing complaints, police targeted the area on several occasions, but to little avail because the plan offers few places for police to hide. Police have cited about 40 people this year for failure to obey stops signs in the plan, Amann said.

While most Sewickley Farms residents support speed plateaus, some don't. Three people argued Monday for alternative measures, including more signs and frequent police patrols. They worried plateaus would damage their vehicles, increase traffic noise and possibly cause accidents and said the speed control devices were unsightly.

Resident Shari Brady, who lives along Fox Ridge Court, doubted speed plateaus would be effective.

McFadden and other township residents said that proposed speed plateaus would need to be painted bright colors and they would be eyesores.

However, Greg Davis of Sewickley Farm Circle said he thought people in the neighborhood should be more concerned about the safety of 144 children under age 13 who live there than about how the plateaus would look.

"We have a major (speeding) problem here," Davis said. "Aesthetics is not the issue, safety is the issue."

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