In Lincoln, data reveals less of a speeding problem

In Lincoln, data reveals less of a speeding problem

LINCOLN – Radar information gathered by the Lincoln Police Department in response to citizen complaints of speeding indicates drivers are mostly complying with the speed limit in at least some parts of town.

The Police Department posted Bluetooth radar trailers on Lonsdale Main Street and Briarwood Road after residents appeared before the Town Council last month urging action against speeding drivers in their neighborhoods.

A group of residents recently petitioned the town for a speed bump on Lonsdale Main, noting “excessive speeding and traffic signal avoidance” in the area.

The trailer gathered information on the one-way Lonsdale Main Street for 21 days. The posted speed limits there are 25 mph and 20 mph. Even when the digitized sign is not displaying a message to motorists, the radar trailer continues to collect data on passing vehicles.

The extended speed summary reveals that the average speed of drivers on Lonsdale Main was 14.23 mph.

The 50th percentile speed (the speed at which half of the drivers were traveling) was 13.46 mph. The 85th percentile speed (the speed reached by 85 percent of drivers) was 20.4 mph.

The lowest recorded speed on Lonsdale Main was 5 mph, with a top speed of 44 mph. The road saw about 909 cars daily.

Diving further into the data; out of a total of 19,094 cars, 189 violated traffic laws. That’s about one percent of the traffic in violation.

Out of more than 900 vehicles on average passing through every day, an average of nine topped out over the speed limit.

Police placed the trailer on Lonsdale Main for 22 days in response to the citizen petition calling for a speed bump. During a council meeting last month, Lonsdale Main residents said the lack of traffic enforcement has created a safety hazard.

Police Chief Brian Sullivan said the radar data collected on Lonsdale Main confirms that the road is being used as a cut-through, as-seen by the sheer volume of cars passing through every day. He said the volume of cars going beyond just resident drivers.

Councilor Bruce Ogni asked Sullivan whether it’s typical for residents to over-exaggerate claims of speeding.

“I’d agree that most of the time the speed isn’t as high as residents, or someone standing out there, would believe,” he said. That’s why the Police Department relies on radar technology instead of assumptions based on their observations.

Ogni said drivers traveling the wrong way up Lonsdale Main has been an issue, and asked Sullivan to start ticketing offending drivers.

Residents of Briarwood Road have shared their own concerns about traffic on their street, which connects School Street to Timberland Drive.

The posted speed limit on Briarwood is 20 mph.

According to data collected by the town’s radar trailer, drivers traveled at an average speed of 22.77 mph. The 50th percentile speed was 23.44, and the 85th percentile speed was 28.37.

The slowest driver was traveling 5 mph, while one outlier hit an alarming 139 mph.

On average, Briarwood saw 365 cars every day, and a total of 8,042.

Of the 8,042 vehicles, 738 were in violation, or 9.2 percent. Broken down by day, out of 374 drivers on-average, about 34 were in violation.

Comments identify what we already knew, that the vast majority of Lincoln residents don't speed.

What we need is enforcement.

Identify those individuals who are repeat offenders of excessive speed and issue tickets. There are several ways to do that including Mr Cullen's idea of using cameras in problematic areas.

There could also be the Observer Effect in play. When something is being observed, it changes. In a similar way, when police monitor a 4 way stop, all cars come to a complete stop and no one drives right though, leading police to believe that it doesn't happen as often as residents claim.

"The slowest driver was traveling 5 mph, while one outlier hit an alarming 139 mph."

briarwood rd. is slightly over half a mile long.

we have to assume that the radar trailer was not placed at either far end.

since i haven't seen any top fuel dragsters on the streets of lincoln, it is astronomically unlikely someone was going almost 140mph on a narrow, residential road <0.5mi long.

We don’t want cameras, speed traps, or speed bumps. We need police set up in problem areas. Give out a warning for the first offense (unless it is excessive, then give a ticket), then tickets for multiple offenders. For continuous repeat offenders, suspend their licenses. Figure out a way to make this happen.

Speeding and drivers not following the rules of the road is a problem everywhere. As a person who drives 50K miles a year, I see it in every city and town throughout New England. We, the Town Council have heard reports from local residents of witnessing high rates of speed and lack of stopping at signs. We use these information gathering trailers to get a feel for the actual happenings. First, the trailers are idle (not showing any sign of life) but collecting radar and counting vehicle traffic. Once the assigned cycle of days is complete, the Chief shares the results with us. We have seen less actual speeding in the data received than the eye witness reports. We still know by seeing the data received on the quantity of tickets issued per month by LPD that enforcement has waned. We have been meeting with the LPD and the Chief to discuss why this has occurred and to expect better traffic enforcement in Town. None of the members of the Lincoln Town Council believe that cameras or speed bumps/humps are the answer. I drive on the East Side of Providence many days a week and it has become a ridiculous obstacle course of speed bumps. I don't think Lincoln wants that, I know I don't! We usually find when police enforce the local neighborhood complaints of speeding, the culprits are usually the neighborhood residents themselves. And yes, if anyone believes someone drove 139 mph on Briarwood, lets find that driver and send him/her up to Epping, NH for the drag races! That was just a fluke anomaly...

I trust and respect Ken Pichette's word on getting to the bottom of the lack of enforcement of our speeding problem. I also agree with him on speed bumps...they are horrible. A few months ago, though, at least one member of the Town Council was calling for them in a news article posted in The Breeze.

Not many would like cameras that issue tickets; there is something very un-American about that.

I think temporary, mobile cameras which only snap a photo when excessive speeding occurs would be a useful tool to assist in the identification of habitual speeders regardless of whether or not they reside in that neighborhood.

Cops could then pay a visit to these individuals and verbally warn them that their vehicle has been identified repeatedly, traveling at excessive speeds.

This surely beats waiting until someone gets killed.

Mr. Pichette - With all due respect, "one step in the process" is a very concerning take on this topic. It is a known fact that the kirkbrae neighborhood has come to the Town Council multiple times about this very topic, starting about 3-4 years ago when a large group attended a Public Safety Committee meeting on this concern. The result was a few police stops over the following week back then (and who cares if they were neighborhood residents - if they are speeding or not stopping at stop signs - they should still get a ticket), and then nothing else more has been done since. The fact that we are talking about "one step" in the process, which by the way is a step BACK from the "one step" that was taken years ago, is insulting to the neighborhood in which this continues to be a significant problem in. This is a neighborhood that has at least twice as many school aged children as it did when it was brought to the council back then.
Translation: this problem has much higher risk today.

I urge you to see this through. If the council's decision is not to put in speed bumps and add police patrol - then it's time to do that. It needs to be consistent and sustainable. A band-aid approach will just bring us to the very same article in 2024 with the same comments from the same council members. Time to see this topic through.