“Slow down!” is the message Mayor Eric Haas would like all who drive within the city of Fort Thomas to hear. While there are stop signs and speed limits, many people are still driving too fast in city neighborhoods, he said.
Two weeks ago, a car flipped over near the intersection of Holiday Lane and Garden Way, hitting parked cars and sending neighbors into a panic. The driver of the vehicle was okay, and it’s unclear what caused the incident and whether or not speed was involved.
Still, many children live in the area. It was just luck that none of them were hit, said resident Joe Bartoszek. In fact, the vehicle hit his wife’s van, and he said he shuddered to think what would have happened had she been loading their children into it at the time.
RELATED: Car Overturns on Holiday Lane in Fort Thomas
Bartoszek addressed city council at its August meeting to ask what could be done to slow people down at the intersection that sits at the bottom of a long hill.
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He asked council if there was a process to have the speed in his Summit neighborhood reduced or to add a four-way stop at the corner.
City Administrator Ron Dill explained the process would start with a study by the city engineer of a particular street or section to determine the average speed of cars driven on that street. This would be compared with the Uniform Traffic Control Device Standards from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to determine the need for a stop sign.
Although other streets near the Summit neighborhood have been studied recently, the engineer certainly could examine that corner, said Dill. The process takes 30 to 60 days.
Bartoszek said he knows in previous studies, the area did not meet the speeding threshold to warrant a stop sign. He asked, if a new study shows the same results, are there other things that could be done? He expressed concern that averages don’t tell the whole story.
"It’s not just the Summit neighborhood," said council member Ken Bowman. "There are several cul-de-sacs here where 25 miles per hour doesn’t really make sense."
He questioned whether the Public Safety Committee could take input from residents on this issue and explore alternatives.
Mayor Haas agreed with residents’ frustrations on this issue. “I used to live at the end of Holiday lane, so I know exactly what you’re talking about. I know how easy it is to fly down that hill,” he said.
Holiday Lane resident Joe Schwerling gave an historical perspective. A stop sign at that corner years ago was removed because people coming down during inclement weather had trouble stopping, and those going up the hill needed to gather momentum. He added that he would like to see a no thru traffic sign that was removed added back to the intersection to help cut down on extraneous traffic.
Just slow down!
Bartoszek said residents have been discussing the issue on social media and wondered if the city could take up a safe driving campaign. The council and police chief agreed that, while this issue is being examined, police patrols will be increased in the area.
"I’m also concerned that we don’t change laws that work for most people because only one or two individuals are abusing that law," said the mayor. "But, I think a part of what needs to happen is an awareness that people just need to slow down when driving through our city."
PHOTO: Joe Bartoszek addressing council. Haas, Melissa Kelly (city clerk), Bowman and Cameron. FTM file.