Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Parent expresses concern over speeding and accidents on South Kickapoo

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[August 16, 2012]  Tuesday evening Lisa Quisenberry paid a visit to the Lincoln City Council meeting to express her concerns over a problem she is seeing on South Kickapoo Street.

She told the council that before attending the meeting she had also spoken with police Chief Ken Greenslate and Mayor Keith Snyder about what is going on in her neighborhood. She said Greenslate had responded by sending more patrols into the area, but she knows the police cannot be there constantly, and she's hoping for another solution.

The problem is the speeding and high number of accidents on South Kickapoo. Quisenberry said the street from Wyatt south is in good condition and nice and wide. In her words, it makes for a stretch of road that "is nothing but a drag strip."

In addition there have been a number of accidents in the vicinity since the first of the year. She noted an accident when a female driver under the influence had lost control of her vehicle and slammed into two vehicles owned by Quisenberry; a neighbor's van, which ended up being totaled; and a utility pole.

She also talked about another incident when a driver, again under the influence, failed to turn on his headlights, was driving too fast and hit another vehicle head-on.

She said she was thankful the police had responded so well to her request to monitor traffic in the area and noted that every time they come to her neighborhood they do stop speeders and issue tickets. However, she wondered if there was anything that could be done to permanently slow these drivers down. She mentioned perhaps installing speed bumps along the road.

She emphasized to the aldermen her concern for the children in the community. As a mother, she said she was afraid to allow her child to play in the front yard of her home. In addition, her neighbor has two children she cares for, and another neighbor down the road has eight children. Quisenberry said the yards are not safe for any of them.

Snyder asked her about the number of speed limit signs in the community. In that area the speed limit is 25 mph. Quisenberry said there are two speed limit signs on the southbound side of the street and only one on the northbound side.

Jonie Tibbs, who is the alderman for that ward, said she could understand Quisenberry's concerns. She noted it is a nice, wide street, a smooth surface and it has a hill. She said it was all conducive to speeding, and she could see it would be a worry for a parent.

Greenslate also reported about the situation, saying indeed he had increased patrols in the area since hearing from Quisenberry.

He also delivered some statistics for the aldermen to consider.

Between the dates of Aug. 14, 2011, and Aug. 14, 2012, there have been eight accidents on South Kickapoo. In that same time period there have been 13 accidents on North Kickapoo. Greenslate added that in that same time period, the most accidents to occur were actually on Wyatt Avenue.

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In addition, he noted that two of the three accidents since the first of the year were also alcohol-related. He then told the council that accidents occur in "clusters." He said the department sees more accidents in the summer, when people are out and about and driving too fast, and more in the winter when road conditions are hazardous. The police see fewer accidents in the spring and fall.

Darren Forgy was filling the seat of the city engineer Tuesday night on behalf of Prairie Engineers. Snyder asked Forgy if there was something that could be done.

Forgy said his firm would look at the situation, but the first thought that came to mind was to create a perception that the road is narrower than it actually is.

He said this could be done by planting trees closer to the curb, for example. Forgy explained that changing the perception of the street could help slow down the traffic.

Quisenberry wondered if a stop sign could be placed at Frorer Avenue, but Greenslate said stop signs should not be used as a means of slowing down traffic. He said it could create a more dangerous situation in that "more people would blow the stop sign."

While these conversations were going on, a side conversation was taking place among those sitting at the department head tables.

When Marty Neitzel asked about painting parking lines along the street, Forgy said that was what the discussion among the department heads had been about.

He said that, yes, that could be an option that would help. Parking is currently allowed on both sides of the street, but spaces are not marked. Forgy said marking the spaces would make the street appear narrower and could slow people down.

The discussions ended with no need for further action by the council, but with an understanding that Forgy will look into possible options that might help slow traffic down naturally.


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