Charlotte residents asking for help to combat speeding drivers in neighborhoods

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Across residential communities in Charlotte, speeding and reckless drivers draw a lot of complaints from neighborhoods. West Craighead Road in north Charlotte is adding its name to the list.

"The problem is the cars are moving at too high rate a speed on a continuous basis," Gary Marion said. "I've almost been rear-ended several times pulling into my driveway. As a disabled veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, it's not conducive to my life."

Marion says he bought his house last December and since then he's had to learn how to navigate getting in and out of his driveway.

"I was backing into my driveway coming from North Tryon and I know there was a car behind me. My blinker was on," he said. "As I'm backing up, I observe the car in my neighbor's grass and he did that to avoid hitting me. So evidently he wasn't paying attention even with my blinker on. I shouldn't have to live like that on a daily or weekly basis."

Marion wrote an email to Charlotte's mayor asking for help.

"I'd like stop signs," Marion said. "If this is a residential area and I see homes all around me, we should have the comfort and safety moving in and out of our driveways without worrying about getting hit."

The speed limit on the section of West Craighead Road near Marion's house is 35 mph and there's a flashing yellow light near the curve on the road.

'The flashing lights are there for just a waste of time. As they come around that blind corner and come towards this direction towards North Graham they just accelerate," he said. "And it's all the time. I have to pay attention and be cautious of how I pull  into my driveway whether I back in or pull in frontward."

"Speeding is prevalent throughout Charlotte",Angela Berry, who is with Charlotte's Department of Transportation, said. "For some reason as a community we don't like to drive slowly."

Berry, who is the traffic safety manager, says there are different ways the city and local communities try to slow down drivers.

"If I get a complaint about speeding on a street, I would work with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) and our Public Service Division to try and get enforcement and I'll conduct what's called a speed limit evaluation study where we look into crash history, current speeds, land use – whether there's a high volume of pedestrian and bike activity - that sort of thing," she said. "The number of driveways. We look at all those things when we make a speed limit evaluation."

  • Stop signs:

"I would look at it from a crash perspective if there's a history of crashes that would warrant a stop sign," Berry said.

"The public can also reach out to our Public Service Division and petition for a multi way stop and that's a separate process. Berry adds stop signs aren't always the solution. "Generally speaking - stop signs are really tough to use from a traffic calming perspective especially if the roads are unequal in terms of volume then it becomes the problem of people not stopping at the stop sign."

  • Speed bumps:

"We don't have a funded speed bump program anymore," Berry told WBTV. "But we have an evaluation criteria that the general Public Service Division looks at and works with the community to self fund speed humps."

Berry says residents can contact the city's transportation department if speeding drivers are posing hazards to neighborhoods. "If people would just take their time to get to where they want to go instead of roaring down the streets that would be really nice," she said."

James Scott has been a fixture on West Craighead Road for 18 years. He can recall some of the wrecks on the road.

"The drivers are reckless," Scott said."Right here at my house someone came across and hit my oak tree and wrapped around that pole right there."

And then there was the double fatality at the curve in the road.

"I've seen someone die. I seen two people die - riding so fast they hit an older lady. They didn't have seat belts on. Both of them died in the car" Scott said.

From Scott's perspective, West Craighead Road has only one description. "Dangerous. It needs to be changed," he said. "I want some stop signs put up."

Scott's neighbor, Gary Marion, agrees.

"There's nothing here to deter them from slowing down," said the Marine Corps veteran. "Based on the fact I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I would say it can be a little maddening because every day I have to deal with my own personal issues and I don't need that to be another issue."

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