March 21, 2012
Charlottesville Police were out in full force Wednesday on the Route 250 Bypass to crack down on speeding. It's a road where they say speeding has become a major issue.
"We're trying to respond to a number of complaints that we've had from a lot of the motorists and residents here about the speed," said Lt. Ronnie Roberts.
A caravan of officers were stationed just off the bypass on Meadowbrook Heights Road, nabbing speeders as they whizzed by. Police issued 252 traffic tickets, of which 215 were for speeding. Five tickets were issued for reckless driving and 32 for other violations. The extra presence was made possible through grant money from the Federal Highway Safety Administration.
While Route 250 is one of the busiest roads in Charlottesville, it has a posted speed limit of 35 MPH along some stretches.
"The biggest thing we're trying to do is change some of the driving behavior," explained Lt. Roberts, who says making the neighborhood streets safer begins with slowing down traffic on the bypass. "Once they leave the bypass, they still bring those driving habits from the bypass, whether it be speeding or running a stop sign."
Phil Smith has lived in one of the neighborhoods off the bypass for more than 15 years and can attest to drivers' disregard for the speed limit. "I don't have a speed gun so I don't know, but I suspect they're going faster than 45 miles an hour," he said.
While the speed enforcements are a good temporary fix, Smith is not sure they leave a lasting impression. "It's just lots of traffic. Too many cars and not enough road. I'm not really sure what the answer is."
In the meantime, Lt. Roberts says you can expect more spontaneous speed enforcements in the future.