|Residents' signs on Tremont (provided by Rick Jamie)|
Residents on Tremont Avenue in Fort Thomas are mounting a campaign to combat what they say is seriously unsafe driving in their neighborhood. Tremont is a busy cut through street between South Fort Thomas Avenue and Grand Avenue, and the residents are deeply concerned with both speeding and traffic ignoring the stop signs at Carolina Avenue. If you’re driving Tremont you may well notice red yard signs saying “DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE.” Residents are also collecting signatures for a petition and writing letters to the city administration and council members.
Rick Jamie has lived on Tremont for 10 years but the traffic issue predates his time there. He has two kids who are both in middle school. There are 26 kids living on Tremont between Carolina and South Fort Thomas Avenue but the residents are also concerned about the pupils at St Thomas, “We’re looking out for our kids and also other people’s kids.” Nathan Myer, a 13 year resident of Tremont, is also concerned. “We have 3 and 4 year old kids on the street, little kids like that have a tiny lapse in judgement and they’re in front of a car.”
The residents first raised the issue with the city around five years ago, under the previous city administrator, but Rick says their responses were unsatisfactory. “They told us the city doesn’t do “SLOW- KIDS AT PLAY” signs, even though there are plenty of other places in the city that have them. They told us they wouldn’t consider speed humps because they make it hard for the snow plows. We even got told by an elected official that we should be keeping a better eye on our kids. It just seems that there is an unwillingness to do anything unless a child is injured or killed.”
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Ron Dill, City Adminstrator, says he has just been made aware of the scale of the problem and city staff are investigating the information presented in the past. “I received information from residents this past week and I’ve reached out to begin a conversation with them.”
In the past the city has conducted multiple stealth surveys, which take the average speed of vehicles using the streets. Nathan Myer recalls that, “One of the stealth surveys showed people exceeding 40 miles per hour. They come over Carolina and just floor it. There’s also a lot of people who drop their kids at St Thomas in the morning and then speed off to work.” Nathan recalls that the Fire Department rejected the idea of speed humps in the past as they wanted to keep the route expeditious for fire trucks, but believes that this shouldn’t prevent a lower speed limit.
The principal of St Thomas School, Deborah Flamm, is equally concerned about the safety of her students and other children who live on Tremont and surrounding streets. “St Thomas and the residents are both interested in the same thing, the safety of the children. I stand outside the school every morning and every afternoon and I’ve witnessed speeding, drivers almost hitting people in the crosswalk, parents and crossing guards having to yell at drivers to slow down. It’s an epidemic, I’ve held my breath on more than one occasion because of the excessive speed. The drivers are not from St Thomas families. The school takes it very seriously, all of our teachers are involved with the pick up and drop off procedures. Everyone at St Thomas is cognizant of the young studentswalking around and we’d be happy to work with the residents. We’re all interested in the same common goal: the safety of the children in the neighborhood.”
Ideally the residents would like to see the speed limit dropped to 20 miles an hour, with some form of traffic calming installed. They also believe an increased police presence could help, although they understand that the department is already busy and are sympathetic to that. A few years ago an officer was posted at the corner of Tremont and Carolina, issuing tickets to people who didn’t observe the stop sign. Rick Jamie believes word got out that this was happening and the problem got better for a short while but as soon as the police stopped, the unsafe driving returned.
Rick is a flight nurse practitioner, so he’s seen a lot of trauma and particularly a lot of unnecessary trauma. “In my line of work I see a significant amount of trauma, most of which could have been avoided with simple, inexpensive interventions. Kids simply do not tolerate the impact of a vehicle like an adult does, and are more susceptible to traumatic brain injuries and devastating central core trauma. The number of kids on Tremont, and other streets in Fort Thomas, is significant and their safety should be all our priority. We pay enough lip service to this issue, now is the time to show we mean it.”
The residents are quick to point out that they expect people to use the street, they just want it to be used safely and within the law: “We’re not trying to punish people for using the street, we know it’s a cut through and we expect the volume of traffic but we don’t expect dangerous driving. We just want people to drive on our street they way they’d expect people to drive on their own.”
|Signs on Tremont (provided: Rick Jamie)|