Plaza Midwood neighbors beg city to enforce speed limit

The City of Charlotte cited the neighbors for a nuisance violation for having ‘slow down’ signs less than 11 feet from the street.
Neighbors discussed their concerns.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 9:08 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Neighbors on Hawthorne Lane in Plaza Midwood are begging the City of Charlotte to put in a crosswalk, speed bumps or simply enforce the speed limit.

This comes after cars have gone off the roadway and nearly crashed into homes, a dog was killed and neighbors say they no longer feel safe letting their kids play in their front yards.

“We have lived on this street for 10 years,” said Pamela Smalley. “We have grandchildren who live next door, and we must kind of live in our backyards because it’s is such a busy street. We can’t really allow the children to play in the front yard.”

She said as Charlotte’s grown, the traffic on their street has, too.

“It’s like a race track,” she explained. “It’s like, ‘I gotta I gotta go as fast as I can.’...even though they’ve lowered the speed limit. I don’t think people really, really pay attention to it.”

When WBTV went out to the neighborhood they clocked drivers going more than 12 miles per hour over the speed limit.

“I’ve written to the city several times and asked if we could have those speed humps maybe to slow the traffic down. They always tell me they can’t do that because this is an evacuation route, even though it dead ends into Parkwood,” explained Smalley.

A business owner down the street said she also has been trying to work with the city to increase safety for her employees and customers.

“[In] 2019, they agreed to put a crosswalk in. They did some of the work in 2021 and 2022. And then since then you can see there’s a cone where the crosswalk sign is supposed to be put up and that’s been there for about a year,” detailed The Culture Shop Owner Catherine Devericks.

After Smalley’s grandchildren’s dog was killed, the neighbors decided to take action.

“It was so wonderful that a lot of the neighbors decided that they needed to put up ‘slow down’ signs or ‘please slow down children playing’ or and so we had, I don’t know maybe 10 or 12 of our neighbors all around us put up signs,” explained Smalley.

The neighbors said they saw improvements. But after two months, the City came out and took the signs down at the beginning of August.

They also cited the neighbors with a ‘Nuisance Violation’ for having signs less than 11 feet from the street.

Smalley explained, “We have very narrow front yards and it’s hard to put a sign more than 11 feet away from the street and it’s still be seen by drivers.”

The City of Charlotte’s Department of Transportation said in a statement, “Hawthorne Lane is a minor thoroughfare and does not qualify for Neighborhood Traffic Calming. The speed limit is set at 30 MPH, which is the lowest that is recommended for thoroughfares. CDOT collaborates with CMPD to manage enforcement and address traffic safety concerns such as speeding.”

Neighbors told WBTV they contacted CMPD multiple times and they were told there would be increased patrol to enforce the speed limit. Neighbors said they have not seen patrol where the drivers are at their highest speeds