Macksoud: It’s time to step up enforcement

Macksoud: It’s time to step up enforcement

LINCOLN – Between calls to the police department and town officials, posts on social media and public comments during recent Town Council meetings, complaints about speeding vehicles in Lincoln have been flowing.

With the rising number of residents clamoring about an increase in speeding, Town Council President Keith Macksoud said the number of citations issued should also rise.

Macksoud introduced a resolution at Tuesday’s council meeting directing the Lincoln Police Department to step up its traffic enforcement.

He noted that from Aug. 2020 to Oct. 2020, the Lincoln Police Department issued anywhere from 93 to 194 traffic citations per month, according to reports submitted to the council.

“We had solid enforcement at that time,” he told The Breeze.

The issue, he said, is that from December 2020 to last month, there were only 33 to 50 tickets issued.

The traffic control ordinance that Macksoud introduced for referral to the ordinance committee notes that taxpayers have been contacting their town council members and addressing the entire council during public comment regarding speeding in their neighborhoods.

The ordinance states that Lincoln “does have reasonable speed limits on its roads, as well as properly posted stop signs and other traffic signs to limit truck traffic and designate school zones as examples,” and that “one of the most effective methods of providing a safe environment for our citizens is the enforcement of our town ordinances, such as speed limits.”

If passed, the ordinance requests that Chief of Police and acting town Administrator Brian Sullivan “relay this information to the leadership of the Lincoln Police Department and develop a plan of action that can address traffic enforcement and increase its activity to the level that it was, at a minimum, during the August to October 2020 level, and that this plan be executed immediately to help ensure the safety of our citizens.”

Macksoud told The Breeze he believes the first step to cutting down on speeding, before the town considers speed humps or ticket machines, is to increase traditional traffic posts.

“Let’s go back to enforcement,” he said.

Councilor TJ Russo said speeding is “perhaps the biggest complaint we get as councilpersons.”

“It became apparent to us in recent months that the amount of violations issued by the Lincoln Police Department has fallen dramatically,” he said, assuming the decrease was partly due to COVID. “I think it’s important that we urge our police department to once again enforce speeding,” he continued.

Macksoud said residents in the Kirkbrae area had complained about traffic issues last fall when enforcement was stepped up.

“Once it hits your pocket, you realize speeding through the neighborhoods and endangering our citizens isn’t worth it,” he said.

Park curfew changing

The ordinance committee is also considering changing existing ordinance language to clarify the hours of operation for town-owned parks and recreational areas.

The existing ordinance imposes a 9 p.m. curfew on all town-owned recreation areas, “except for youth centers, where the curfew takes place upon the closing of the building, and as otherwise posted.”

Macksoud said he was asked by the chief to change the ordinance after residents complained that people were hanging around the parks at night.

“Some of the signs in the parks indicated that the park was open from dusk to dawn,” Macksoud said, adding that the existing language was “vague.”

“When police started to ask people to disperse from the park, people would push back and say: that’s not what the sign says. We wanted to tighten it up,” he said.

If residents are planning to host an event in the park that might run after hours, he said they can seek permission from the town to do so.

If approved, under new ordinance park property and facilities would be open daily to the public “from sunrise until one half hour after sunset, except when permission is granted by the Director of Parks and Recreation or his authorized representative for authorized alternate hours for extended use of the park property or facility.”

Comments

Why doesn’t lincoln have a traffic officer or traffic program/division like other surrounding departments do? Lincoln used to have one years ago and i just dont see how the chief can let this position not be filled or not dedicate a division to traffic when this is such a large complaint for the town. Clearly this needs to be looked into. Maybe doing two jobs as town administrator and chief at the same time is too much for one person.