Nashville Residents In T–SJ Neighborhood Ask Council For Help Slowing Down Traffic

By Alex Haglund

When the Nashville City Council met for their regular meeting on Thursday, October 6, they heard from Rebecca Ruehl, a West Maple Street resident, who said that traffic in the vicinity of Trinity–St. John School had been going too fast for the residential streets.

“It used to be an after-school problem, now it’s an all-day problem,” Ruehl said. “There’s really no place to go, why they’re going so fast, I don’t know.”

Nashville Police Chief Brian Fletcher said that 30 miles per hour was looked a lot faster on residential streets than it actually was, adding that after he had monitored the area near Ruehl’s residence for a while, “the fastest speed I saw was 27 miles-per-hour.”

“Other than us, and our presence isn’t going to completely stop it,” Fletcher said, “It’s not just there. We’ve got people all over town that do the same thing.”

“It is all over town,” Ruehl said. “I’m just concerned about my little area, but it’s all over town and I don’t know what it’s going to take for something to get done about it.”

Fletcher did say that parked cars helped to slow down traffic, but Ruehl said that when they are not there, that’s when it gets bad.

Ruehl said that she, as well as her neighbor Donna Kosydor, often babysit young children at their homes.

Ruehl has a traffic sign, “Andy,” a neon green cutout of a child, which is meant to get traffic to slow down when the kids are playing in the yard– and in the week prior to the council meeting, “Andy” was hit by vehicles twice in one day.

“He had a flag too,” Ruehl said, “but it’s long gone. It got knocked off when he got hit by someone.”

Ruehl’s neighbor, Dan Bronke, who lives on North Grand Street, was also present at the meeting, and joined her in speaking with the council.

“We haven’t let our kids play in the front yard in five years,” Bronke told council members. “There are a lot of little kids around here. These are not high school kids, these are not even grade school kids. These are one-to-five year olds…and it wouldn’t take much.”

Ruehl had asked about a a speed monitor sign, which she stated could be moved around town to various trouble spots, and also suggested revisiting the 30 mph speed limit or even expanding the 20 mph school zone.

Bronke suggested some sort of flashing lights that could come on when children are at play.

Mayor Raymond Kolweier said that lowering the speed limit or expanding school zones could only be done by passing an ordinance. Fletcher said that the city did not own any of the traffic control measures (the lights, the speed meter) that were suggested.

Ruehl said that she noticed the issue mostly in the morning, while Bronke said it seemed worst to him in the evenings when people sped to get home from work, taking the back way from the factories and warehouses.

“If there are certain times that are heavier, or certain cars that are doing it, I don’t have a problem with one of our guys sitting there,” Fletcher said. Bronke stated that he would invite the police department to park in his driveway to do so, saying that a visible police presence in the neighborhood would be an effective deterrent.

Kolweier, Fletcher, Bronke and Ruehl all agreed that stop signs and speed bumps would do more harm than good due to the farm traffic that utilizes the roads near there.

“I would say Brian,” Kolweier said, “that the immediate thing to do would be to monitor the area.”

“Anything that you can do, I would appreciate, that’s for sure,” Ruehl responded. “I don’t know, but I just don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Police Fund

“We need to set up a police fund,” Police Committee Chair Josh Fark told the other council members.

“we had an anonymous donation of $10,000 to the police department,” Fark went on, “and we need to transfer it from the general fund to the police fund, where it can be used for education and training.”

While the donor wished to remain unnamed, they said, “that they wanted it to be used for the needs of the police department, whatever that might be,” said Fletcher.

Streets

“We started the Mockingbird Road project,” said city streets department superintendent Rich Schuette, “and now that project is all but complete.”

Schuette stated that it was planned that Mockingbird would reopen on Monday, October 10,

“It went as good as it could possibly go, I believe,” Schuette added.

Streets Commission chair Terry Kozuszek said that during the month of September 242 residents used the recycling program to bring in 16,620 pounds of materials.

Water and Sewer

“We’re in the first week of flushing and everything is going good,” stated City Utilities Superintendent Blaine Middleton.

Other

There will be no zoning board of appeals meeting for October, Schuette told the board, “quiet again.”

The Golf Course Board will hold their meeting for the month at 6 p.m., on Thursday, October 13.

The council approved road closures for the streets around the Nashville Community Center from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, October 30, for the annual Halloween parade, carnival and Trunk or Treat. For more details on the event, see page A1 of today’s paper.