Shorewood’s solution to speeding

The official arrival of summer occurs in about ten days but the temperatures have been warm enough lately to jumpstart the summer season for many. Most of us look forward to spending more time outside than inside. Here in the “burbs” that often means lawn chairs on the driveway and watching the kids play or just enjoying the outdoors.

One of the things that become more noticeable in the summer is how traffic moves on residential streets. It is common to see stop signs at most intersections and posted speed limits of 20-25 miles per hour. These restrictions are supposed to be observed year-round. They aren’t always but it is more noticeable in the summertime when people are out watching the kids play or noticing those pretty yellow flowers in the neighbor’s lawn.

One area community has come up with a solution to combat the problem of speeding on residential streets. The Village of Shorewood has created a vigilante-like platform known as the Resident Radar Program. According to the program’s description on the village website, “This program allows citizens of Shorewood to obtain radar equipment and receive training to conduct a self-initiated traffic radar study.”

The program is not described as a vigilante project but the dictionary defines vigilante as “a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate”.

In researching this subject, I couldn’t find any local area communities with a similar program but I assume the use of a police radar gun by citizens is not unique. What may be unique is the support initiated and supported by the Shorewood police department.

I remember, years ago, borrowing a local police radar unit to monitor the speed of the youth baseball teams’ pitch speed. The project served no real purpose other than to demonstrate that few, if any, of the youth pitchers could exceed a 60-mph pitch speed. It also served to bring some parents back to reality about their child’s pitching ability.

One of the other pieces of research I found was an article on how to get speed humps (not speed bumps) in your neighborhood. It lists eight definitive steps to accomplish the project. Another article that popped up was from a Washington Post article titled “America loves a vigilante. Until we meet one”. That probably correlates to the idea that everyone is on board with vigilantism until you’re the one that’s caught in the web of the effort. Perhaps before becoming a part of the program, one might want to consult with friends and acquaintances outside the neighborhood.

In fairness to the idea, I’m sure the intentions are good and noble. We all want our neighborhoods to be safe and comfortable. But do we want to be wary of our neighbors down the block because they might be a “narc”? Don’t we have enough to be concerned about? Haven’t we pitted ourselves against each other enough?

One last thing… the subject of overtime for the Joliet Fire Department was not addressed at this week’s City Council meeting. Perhaps it was an oversight. The most recent overtime budget status report is striking. With only three months into the 2018 budget gone and nine months to go, the JFD has used almost two thirds of the department’s allotted overtime budget for the year.

Based on the continuous use of overtime by JFD personnel one can only assume the department is undermanned. The City Council recently declined to purchase a piece of equipment designed to combine two pieces of equipment apparatus currently being used. This would have reduced the need for required personnel.

Perhaps it is time to increase the personnel required to operate the department’s equipment. Or is it necessary to redeploy the existing personnel so the need for substantial overtime is no longer necessary? Just asking.

Stay tuned…

Comments welcome at wayneswords@thetimesweekly.com