Letter: Patrol problem

November 16, 2012


To the editor:

As the daughter of a former county sheriff, I understand that a police force cannot watch every area of the city. But, as a longtime resident of Lawrence, I am appalled by the number of drivers who ignore speed-limit signs in residential neighborhoods and how often these areas are not patrolled.

I live in the Sunset Hills neighborhood, an area often traversed by drivers who are cutting between Sixth, Ninth and Bob Billings Parkway. Drivers are constantly going up to 40 mph, and I have seen a police officer twice in my two years of living in this location. There are many young families in this area, mine being one of them.

Every day there are children walking home from school and families going for walks. These residents shouldn’t be at risk each time they use the sidewalk or cross the street. It saddens me that there are many neighborhoods where nothing has been done to slow the traffic. Sure, there are a few speed bumps, but frankly, there should be more. Personally I have almost been hit twice while crossing my own street, and I have been nearly rear-ended several times just pulling into my own driveway. What does it take to petition for a speed bump and attention from the LPD?


Liberty_One 2 years, 2 months ago

Notice the wording: "crossing my own street." If it truly were her private property, Lauren's problems would be solved. Another example of government failure.

SnakeFist 2 years, 2 months ago

And if the police were privately employed, she could simply station a few of her employees on the road. Of course, that assumes she can afford to hire them, and that the wrong-doers don't pay them to look the other way. After all, in your libertarian utopia, its all about the individual and his or her self-interest.

Equally importantly, in your utopia of privately-owned dirt roads, the rest of us won't be able to drive anywhere without first seeking permission from and paying tolls to all those private road owners. We've had this discussion. Your brand of every-man-for-himself libertarianism has been rejected by the voters and all other thinking people.

Kathy Getto 2 years, 2 months ago

L_One, Are you a member of the Freedmen? Posse comitatas?

headdoctor 2 years, 2 months ago

Even if he doesn't know what he is, it is obvious he is a Libertarian with an Anarcho-capitalism political philosophy.

SnakeFist 2 years, 2 months ago

"Her street really belongs to nobody at all and thus there is little she can do individually about it."

No, it belongs to everybody, and because of that, she doesn't have to do anything as an individual, she can call the police which, again, work for everybody. That's the whole point of belonging to society, which seems lost on libertarians.

parrothead8 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually, when you say, "Notice the wording," you ARE nitpicking at someone's choice of words. If you want to point out the "subtle reality" of them, you don't have to spend words asking your audience to notice HOW she wrote it. Instead, just say what you mean.

SnakeFist 2 years, 2 months ago

You're not very bright Liberty_Belle. Your candidate, some guy named Gary Johnson, received 0.98% of the vote.

Again, thinking people have rejected your loony ideas. No one wants to build and maintain the road in front of their house or pay a toll to their neighbors in order to drive down the street. That's just nutty.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't see them much here, but down south, there are a lot of gated communities (mostly retirement) where people pay a monthly fee to get into the gate and if you don't have a pass, you don't get in. It's all private property so the same fee that gets them into the gate also pays to maintain the streets and cut the grass, etc.

It isn't as nutty as you might think.

Lauren Baruth-Stromberg 2 years, 2 months ago

Apologies if my jargon is not up to snuff. I want to reiterate that my use of verbage is not the point of this letter. I pay the property taxes on my home, call the neighborhood "my neighborhood", and shovel the public sidewalk to avoid fines. I really don't think it is incorrect to say "crossing my own street." Please get over yourself.

SnakeFist 2 years, 2 months ago

Don't let Liberty_One bother you, everybody else gets it. Unfortunately, he will never get over himself.

Lauren Baruth-Stromberg 2 years, 2 months ago

It's sad that he has nothing better to do than post irrelevant rants on ljworld. Kind of pathetic really.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

Except that she doesn't want to own the street privately, she wants the government to enforce the traffic laws, so that it's safe.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

But, you're not "on her side", if your version isn't the one she wants.

I agree about making it personal - if only we all refrained from that.

appleaday 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually, her letter illustrates why government sometimes have to step in and make and enforce laws since some members of society choose to be irresponsible and put the lives of others in jeopardy. If we all behaved, we wouldn't need as much government.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 2 months ago

Totally not germane to the topic, L1. You can not, in any way, respond positively to her post because you are so enamored of the Libertarian "Utopia" which has never worked and can not work in a practical society. Wishin' and hopin' are fine, but compromise and working together work nearly all the time. You have a great mind, but it seems to be directed at creating perfection in governance when you know perfectly well that humans will never achieve that perfection. The best we can do is work at it, try to understand everyone's situation, and have a government that helps us when we can not, or will not, help ourselves. That government, in this case, is tasked with protecting our property and our liberty from death or injury by patrolling the street and issuing appropriate fines for those who ignore the public, or individual, if you will, safety and property rights.

livinginlawrence 2 years, 2 months ago

"You assume government is made of angels or robots and not actual human beings also capable of misbehavior."

Who is assuming this?

Either I missed something, or really it's you that's making the assumptions around here.

Eugehne Normandin 2 years, 2 months ago

The same problem exists in North Lawrence. I believe a lack of enforcement is the issue.

grammaddy 2 years, 2 months ago

Last night I saw 3 police vehicles, the new SUVs, sitting in the parking lot at the train station on 7th. WHY??The train only runs through here twice a day and NOT at 9:'30 p.m.They should be out patrolling, not just sitting and gossipping.

rtwngr 2 years, 2 months ago

Or sharing a nice big box of jelly filled donuts. Yum.

LadyJ 2 years, 2 months ago

Think I just saw somewhere where they have come out with a remote control automobile.

nativeson 2 years, 2 months ago

For traffic control devices, you need to present the issue to the traffic safety commission. They are appointed to review these type of issues. Go the the City of Lawrence website and contact the appropriate city staff.

For speeding, you can contact traffic control with the LPD and they will respond by observing the street. However, compliance is 9/10ths of the law. If people do not observe what is posted, it is hard to force them to be more respectful of the neighborhood.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

What about enforcement?

If the police ticket and fine people for speeding, it should discourage the practice, right?

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 2 months ago

Really jafs? You actually believe that? Ticketing and fining is simply a revenue stream for the city. It's the "tax" people pay for speeding and nothing more. It doesn't prevent them from going right out and doing it all over again.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago


So, negative consequences have no effect on behavior?

That seems at odds with behavioral psychology to me.

local_support 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about the rest of you, but the risk of getting hit with a big fat fine tends to keep the lead weight out of my right foot.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

The consequences of speed traps is people memorizing where the traps are and buying radar detectors.

livinginlawrence 2 years, 2 months ago

It's an empirical question--does the current level of enforcement of speed limit laws elicit enough of a response to function as a punisher of "speeding" behavior?

Who knows--it may be the case that this contingency, with whatever one gets out of speeding (in terms of a positive consequence, i.e. positive or negative reinforcement; e.g., a feeling of enjoyment, or the avoidance of being late to an appointment, etc.) coming as a far more probable consequence than does the imposition of a fine, exerts too little control on the behavior of drivers to be an effective punisher.

In case you didn't notice, though, this still leaves open the possibility that stepping up enforcement might effect a decrease in speeding.

classclown 2 years, 2 months ago

Now that the town is making everyone use city issued trash cans, use all of the old metal cans you and your neighbors have left. Buy some extra if need be. Place them strategically in the street so a vehicle can be able to maneuver around them easily at say 20mph and fill them with sand.

Maybe even ring them with paint filled balloons so anyone that does speed and smacks into one or more of the cans, will then bear the blotches of shame on their vehicle.

Drivers will eventually get the hint and you'll have much less traffic on your street.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Lauren has taken a moment to contact LPD to discuss her concerns. She did not indicate one way or another. It seems to me that some respectful dialog would be a good starting point.

My experience with LPD is that they have been prompt and professional when assistance has been requested, and that if one of their officers is up to something inappropriate, they deal with it quickly and effectively.

Perhaps a call to the LPD public affairs desk at (785) 830-7404 would get her in contact with an appropriate supervisor to see if there could be some extra patrols, especially during school hours.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

In my experience with LPD, they're pleasant enough.

But, they're not set up for preventive activity, for the most part. All they can do is enforce the laws once broken.

It's an unfortunate aspect of our law enforcement system.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 2 months ago

Actually, they have a range of options available, including enhanced presence for observation/enforcement; temporary or permanent radar speed signs [these are about 80% effective in reducing speeding, and can help collect data to target resources for improved traffic engineering]; or perhaps forming a neighborhood watch group to assist the police with gathering information and data. As Cait noted, just writing a ticket is fairly ineffective at reducing an overall pattern within a neighborhood. There are other strategies available that can be effective. A good place to start is dialog with law enforcement.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

I haven't seen any radar speed signs in residential neighborhoods in Lawrence.

A neighborhood watch group is a collection of citizens who gather together, which can be helpful, but it's not the police acting, it's the community.

As I said, in my experience, the police aren't generally acting as preventive agents.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 2 months ago

They had a temporary radar speed sign up on our street for quite some time, likely due to the number of complaints that were generated. The neighborhood watch group works with the police to help be an extra set of eyes. Again, dialog is the place to start.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago


That works in the same way that fines do, though, right? It's the fear of getting caught and punished that deters speeders.

progressive_thinker 2 years, 2 months ago

As in all things, it is not that simple. Some research on the matter suggests that tickets and fines do not have the deterrent effect that one might think. There is a group of drivers who are very good, and who receive few moving violations; and another group who are very bad, who receive a lot of moving violations.

Evidence of good compliance has been shown when there are "friendly" reminders [example: the electronic radar signs have been shown to be effective]. Evidence of good compliance is also shown where there is a high probability of getting caught.

Don't get me wrong, tickets and fines will always be part of enforcement. But there are more cost effective tools out there.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago


As I said, if they enforced the laws more aggressively, it would be more effective, since a high probability of getting caught is a good deterrent.

Does your sign actually have radar enforced speed limits, or is it just a sign?

progressive_thinker 2 years, 2 months ago

The one they had in our neighborhood was on a trailer and had a fixed sign with the speed limit, below which was the electronic radar portion that displayed "your speed". There are different varieties of these, some of which collect data about how many vehicles are exceeding the speed limit. This information can be used for traffic engineering and targeted enforcement.

The problem with substantially increasing enforcement is that it is quite expensive. It takes lots of staff to really get much impact, and staff is the greatest expense in virtually all law enforcement agencies. Alternative strategies can be just as effective at lower cost.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

I imagine if the signs aren't combined with actual enforcement, they won't be as effective.

And, I'm not at all sure you're right about enforcement - when I see police officers driving around town, ignoring traffic violations, it seems to me it wouldn't be that hard for them to enforce them. I think it's more of a culture issue here.

George_Braziller 2 years, 2 months ago

They don't all know the actual laws and ordinances. I've had to cite specific ones to the officers and show them in print. They had never seen them before.

somedude20 2 years, 2 months ago

People do cut through there and maybe the police could raise some funds to pay for the new rec center by setting up shop there, but I have to say........l drive down Kentucky Mon-Fri when the school lights are flashing and have noticed that a large amount of the cars that speed through the school zone are ones with young children in them..many a mini, as I am sure the parents who speed through the school zone don't want people to speed through their neighborhoods, why would it not matter to them when they speed through a school zone (and neighborhood) when little kiddies are walking to school?

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

I drive through a school zone every morning and there are cops out with speed guns about once a month. I've seen as many as 4 cops working the speed trap.

jafs 2 years, 2 months ago

Have you seen anybody get pulled over for speeding?

Hooligan_016 2 years, 2 months ago

The City already installed speed humps near the bend of 8th/9th and Cardinal Dr ...

MarcoPogo 2 years, 2 months ago

Nah, dollars to donuts the street in question is Lawrence Avenue. I don't know about during the daytime but I often see a police car sitting on the stretch between 6th and 9th Street at night.

gccs14r 2 years, 2 months ago

I wonder how many people who have multiple close calls with automobiles fail to stop and look both ways before crossing the street?

gbulldog 2 years, 2 months ago

Let us not forget what emergency personnel go through when dealing with an accident. Especially cleaning up the victums so needlessly killed, Or about the rehab hospitals dealing with the severly injured. Have you heard the commercial for a funeral home that says: Be careful, we can wait.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

A few speed bumps can't cost all that much. Take up a collection from your neighbors and send the money to city hall with a note asking for additional speed bumps. I'm sure they will get right on it as they truly care about whether or not you get rear-ended while pulling into your driveway.

Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

Also, if you have ongoing problems almost being rear-ended, you might want to check your brake lights.

happyrearviewmirror 2 years, 2 months ago

The streets of Lawrence are extremely frightening and unsafe. It's hard to feel safe in public when surrounded on all sides by aggressive, molesting ignorance.

gccs14r 2 years, 2 months ago

If you think things are bad in Lawrence, stay far, far away from Missouri.

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