The city may start to take a couple of safety measures to address the issue of speeding near Airport Road and Kees Street.

In the later months of 2017, city staff was approached by concerned citizens living on 5th Street between Airport Road and Kees Street.

One major complaint were drivers speeding in their cars on Fifth Street in both directions, Lebanon Police Department Chief Frank Stevenson said.

Several steps have been taken to address the issues brought forth, he said. 

Through the past several months, city staff have taken several steps in attempt to identify when the speeding is occurring and if the speeding is occurring as described, Lebanon City Engineering Supervisor Ron Whitlatch said.

A traffic study was conducted within the area on beginning the week of Oct 18, 2017 and concluded on Nov. 24, 2017. The traffic study results indicated that the around 50 percent of vehicles were at or below the posted 25 mph posted speed limit with the 85th percentile of cars above 25 mph.

Based on the traffic study as well as the location being near schools, city staff prepared documentation for ODOT, requesting this area be designated a school zone, which would lower the speed limit to 20 mph during school days.

That request was denied, Stevenson said. 

Along with taking steps to identify when and if speeding is occurring, Lebanon Police have also conducted several pro-active measures. Focused patrols were conducted throughout several weeks in this area by utilizing the motorcycle officer as well as patrol officers, when available.

As a result, one person was issued a citation and several people were warned as they were going 30 mph to 34mph.

Lebanon Police also utilized the radar trailer, a tool used for letting drivers know what their speed is and what the posted speed limit is.

An unmanned Police Vehicle was parked within the area on a couple of occasions to help perceive police presence, Stevenson said.

That only worked for a about an hour, he said, as people realized there wasn't a cop in that car in was not longer a deterrent.

A neighborhood watch group was formed to assist communication between neighbors and police.

Several safety checks of the neighborhood and surrounding area were also conducted by Lebanon Police to help identify potential areas of concern.

Through these safety checks, several recommendations were brought forward to include, but not limited to: turning on porch lights at night, trimming surrounding trees.

The four options presented to the council were speed limit reduction, install speed bumps, add curb extensions, and a permanent radar sign.

All of those options cost money with installing permanent radar speed signs as the cheapest. 

City Councilor Rebecca Grizzle noted that whatever the council elected to do, it will set a precedent because many residents through the city will want whatever they choose for that area. Grizzle said she even had a letter from constituents in hear neighborhood who had signed a petition asking form traffic calming measures, specifically speed bumps. 

"Keep in mind it is a cost, and we are pretty street fund poor," Whitlatch said.  

The city council, by consensus, agreed to install permanent radar signs along fifth street, and upon councilor Robert Furlow's suggestion will run a test to see how much these measure do to actually combat the problem. 

Two residents from that area spoke during citizen comments. Those citizens have been working with the police chief to work on these issues. 

The residents in the area have radar guns where they can clock how fast people are going through the area.

"We're still working on the best, safest way do to that," Stevenson said. 

Ron Whitlatch said that through their traffic study it is 15 percent of people who are speeding through the area. 

City Manager Gary Marks noted that near the city of Tumolo there is a radar sign that informs people to slow down if they are over the speed limit. Marks said that from what he has seen there, that has been effective. 


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