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Residents raise concerns about higher speed limit

December 06, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - For anyone who has driven Shafer Park Drive faster than the posted 10 mph, a Boonsboro Town Council decision to change the speed limit might mean more tickets.

During a contentious discussion about possible traffic changes, the Town Council voted Monday night to raise the speed limit on Shafer Park Drive from 10 mph to 25 mph. Some residents said drivers already take the road too fast. Police Chief Jeff Hewett argued raising the speed limit finally will put teeth in the restrictions.

Hewett told residents the lower limit was not enforceable, according to Maryland law.

"If we want to enforce it, we have to do it legally," Hewett said.

Park Drive resident Robin Thomas said she is worried the new limit will only increase speeding on the road, and she told the council she is concerned for the safety of pedestrians and children.

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"I think there ought to be sidewalks and crosswalks before you increase it," Thomas said.

Hewett presented several other traffic changes to the council. His recommendations included allowing only one-way traffic on Park Drive into Shafer Memorial Park and prohibiting left turns from Park Drive onto Potomac Street from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Leonard Thomas, Robin Thomas' father who also lives on Park Drive, argued against the recommendations.

"I can see all you all's point, but you're going about it the wrong way. You're trying to shove it down our throats," Leonard Thomas said.

Councilman Richard E. Hawkins raised his voice as he answered the Thomases' complaints about the speed limit recommendations.

"You've got to have something that's enforceable. If you can't enforce it, you don't have it," he said.

With the new speed limit, Hewett said the police department will monitor Shafer Park Drive as it does other city streets.

"I just want it to be an enforceable and practical speed limit because 10 miles per hour is not practical. No one does 10 miles per hour. You could walk that fast, almost," Hewett said after the meeting.

The council approved allowing parking only on the west side of Shafer Park Drive, but tabled some of Hewett's other recommendations.

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