Watch your speed

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

More efforts continue for monitoring speed in town.

In July, the Plainville Police Department began more speed enforcement on Bohemia Street after a study was conducted in that neighborhood.

Town Manager Robert Lee said the goal of the study was to measure speed objectively. The study stemmed from concerned expressed by a resident.

Overall, the study found that 85 percent of drivers were going 38 miles an hour or less on Bohemia Street, where the speed limit is 25 miles an hour. Lee requested the police department to conduct more speed enforcement on Bohemia Street.

“The average speed on that road is 33 miles an hour,” said Lee, who serves as the town’s local traffic authority.

Throughout the month of July, Plainville police conducted 12 patrols on Bohemia Street, and issued five speeding tickets as well as 14 verbal warnings, reported Plainville Chief of Police Matthew Catania.

Officers issued infractions for drivers who went as much as 19 miles an hour above the speed limit.

“During that time, the officers were assigned on 12 different occasions to concentrate for an unspecified period of time to observe traffic violations in that area,” said Catania.

Catania said he sees traffic enforcement as an ongoing exercise to build trust with town residents while conditioning drivers’ behaviors on the road.

“Part of what I see in this enhancing the relationship between police and the citizens,” said Catania, adding how he wants to be effective in addressing residents’ concerns about speed.

While speed enforcement continues on Bohemia Street, several temporary speed humps were installed last week in the Metacomet Road area. These speed humps, which Lee said will be removed during the winter, were part of a traffic proposal made by town staff and the police department in June. The proposal stemmed from a traffic study in the Metacomet and Pinnacle Road areas after neighborhood residents expressed concerns about speeding.

Besides the devices, the speed limit has changed from 30 miles an hour to 25 miles an hour, and 11-foot travel lanes are expected top to happen soon on Metacomet and Pinnacle Roads.

Lee said he hopes to gather feedback from neighborhood residents by the end of the season to determine the effectiveness of the traffic calming devices.

“Every situation is somewhat unique, and what works on one street will not work in another,” said Lee, adding how Bohemia Street does not lend itself to traffic calming devices. “I welcome the opportunity to talk with neighborhood groups to talk about the issue, and to work with them for solutions.”

Looking ahead, Catania said the town’s recent traffic proposal is part of a “bigger picture.” The police department ultimately plans to assign an officer to traffic enforcement responsibilities. Catania said this full-time traffic enforcement officer would monitor speed on the top roads where speeding needs to be addressed, such as Northwest Drive and Route 177.

“When we slowly move towards this dedicated officer…we’ll have an itinerary for them, and they’ll hit the hot spots,” said Catania, noting how this kind of officer position was successful in the Simsbury Police Department where he previously worked.

Catania said the police department plans to address speed enforcement as much as possible. Right now, 25 officers are assigned to patrol, and part of their shift includes traffic enforcement.

“Officers have the responsibility of doing traffic enforcement every day on every shift,” said Catania.