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Police radar sign to curb speeding

February 10, 1999

Radar signBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




BOONSBORO - Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman and residents in Boonsboro say cars speeding on Alternate U.S. 40 through town is a problem.

Horror stories about rear-end collisions and near misses with children getting off school buses are common, they say.

Mayors from Funkstown, Sharpsburg and Smithsburg have voiced similar complaints, most recently during a January meeting of the Maryland State Police Hagerstown Barrack Advisory Council meeting.

In response, Hagerstown Commander Lt. Bruce Smith got a portable radar sign from the Maryland State Highway Administration. The sign, which posts speeds of passing traffic, will be rotated weekly among the towns.

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The sign will not be used to ticket speeding motorists, but to raise public awareness, said Smith.

Meanwhile, state troopers and Washington County Sheriff's deputies will crack down on speeders in each of the towns, said Smith.

"I think it's a great idea. It will remind people of how fast they are going," said Kauffman, who said he was pleased with the cooperation from state police.

Sharpsburg Mayor George Kesler said he looks forward to the radar sign going up on the square on Main Street.

"It's a chronic problem, it's posted at 25 miles per hour but people go 30 to 35 and faster," he said.

"Maybe it will make some of them think about how fast they are actually going," he said.

Funkstown Mayor Robert Kline said that town's problem area is on Alternate U.S. 40 near the post office.

Traffic in that 25 mph zone tends to go 40 to 45 miles per hour, he said.

On Tuesday, the sign went up in Boonsboro on Alternate U.S. 40 just beyond the Md. 67 intersection. It will remain there until Monday.

As cars traveled down South Mountain on Wednesday afternoon, many motorists slowed as they approached the sign in the 30 mph zone.

A clerk at the Citgo, who refused to be identified, said she spent several hours watching cars go past the radar sign on Tuesday.

"Most of them were going about 42 miles per hour," she said.

"Speeding is a big problem. Cars coming flying through here, especially the big trucks," said hairdresser Marty Gish, who has lived in Boonsboro and worked there for 30 years.

Gish said she doesn't think the sign would make a big difference.

"They're not going to stop because of a sign," she said, suggesting more speed traps are needed.

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