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City of Everett listens to speeding complaints, awards ‘your speed’ sign

Steve Schneider collects traffic speed data for the City of Everett. (Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio)

You can make a difference in your neighborhood, but only if you follow up your complaining with action. That’s what happened when a Snohomish County man came to Chokepoints looking for help with speeders on his street. Now, we can put another one down in the win column.

KIRO listener Steve Schneider reached out to me in August complaining that his quiet Everett street in the Lowell neighborhood — on the east side of I-5 — had become a popular freeway bypass and the speeding was out of control. He was sure drivers were routinely going 20 miles an hour over the posted 25 mile an hour limit.

There was a “your speed is” sign on South Third Avenue, but it was facing the wrong direction — in his opinion. It warned southbound drivers of their speed. But Schneider was sure northbound drivers were the real problem. The city had valid reasons for facing the sign the way it did, and since it was funded by federal dollars it couldn’t be moved or even faced the opposite direction.

Schneider didn’t know where else to turn, but to me. He wasn’t having much luck finding the proper people to talk to at the city, so I hooked him up with some contacts in the Public Works Department. The City of Everett took his complaints seriously, and it gave him a radar gun to collect speed data.

“I thought the city was going to blow us off,” Schneider said. “I thought we were going to get their canned responses and that was going to be it.”

Schneider’s radar evidence was compelling. I sat with him for an hour one day as he watched the traffic, recording speeds. Drivers were routinely hitting the high 30s and lower 40s — remember, the speed limit is 25 mph. The city put out rubber strips to get even more speed data. That data confirmed what he had thought all along.

“We have one in five, or one in six cars, depending on the day, that are going over 10 miles an hour over the speed limit,” he said. “On one day, we had somebody going 86.7 miles an hour through our neighborhood — 86 in a 25.”

Nearly 90 percent of drivers were going over the posted limit. That was enough for the city. It is going to install another “your speed is” sign to warn the northbound drivers and follow that up with police enforcement.

“Send the message that my neighborhood is not the place that if you’re frustrated with I-5 you speed through here,” Schneider said. “I don’t care if you cut through here, just be nice about it. I’ll share the road with you, just give yourself a chance to stop.”

Schneiders’s take away from this is that you can make a difference in your community. You just need to follow up all of your complaining with action, and you have to be persistent.

“It’s really cool that they’re willing to let normal people go out and help and be part of the process,” he said. “They took me seriously, which is great, and now we have a result that’s come from it.”

And I will tell you one thing, it makes me happy and proud to know that I had a small hand in helping Steve get some love from the city and hopefully a safer neighborhood because of this.

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