Guest Column: Downtown Kingman has a speeding problem
Editor's note: A version of this letter was sent to the Kingman Police Department and other city officials.
We are writing to you today in hopes that the Kingman Police Department can assist us with what has been an area of concern for the residences on East Beale Street. Many drivers fail to observe and obey the 25 mph posted speed limit beginning in the 700 block of Beale Street. It appears that many who merge onto Beale Street from Andy Devine carry their speed on through the neighborhoods to the first stop sign located at 5th and Beale streets.
On Sunday, we were pulling into our driveway. As always, we back our vehicle into the driveway so that we can safely see when we pull out. Many times when we have oncoming traffic, we yield the right-of-way and wait until it's clear to perform our maneuver. However, there are times that vehicles are traveling so quickly that we do not see them when we start to pull in, nor can they see us due to the home's location on the hill.
This was the case on Sunday. We were pulling into our driveway and a vehicle nearly broadsided us. After the incident, I measured the skid marks to be more than 20 feet in distance; however, this was not a true judge of the speed because the vehicle began braking well before the tires began the slide. I have heard many stories from my wife on the antics of other drivers. She drives more frequently, and during peak traffic periods.
I tested my theory of a "blind spot" for traffic going from east to west on Beale Street. From experimentation, I found that speeds of 45 mph or more would create a situation that could cause a collision because you cannot clearly see obstructions on Beale Street and react to them safely.
Unfortunately, and far too frequently, vehicles do exceed 45 mph on Beale Street.
Many people walk down Beale Street. There are businesses in the 700 block where people park and cross the street. We have seen people hurrying to dodge oncoming vehicles. At times, some vehicles have swerved in order to miss hitting someone opening a vehicle door and exiting the vehicle.
My favorite is the right-hand passing of slower vehicles that are obeying the speed limit. Not a week goes by without the sound of skidding tires and the blasting of a car horn due to "near-misses" on the street.
In 13 years of residency, the situation is appearing to be more dangerous than ever. The offending vehicles are not just those that are privately owned; municipal and public vehicles also speed past at excessive speeds.
The number of vehicles traveling well over the 25 mph posted speed limit is almost constant. It appears those who are frequent travelers have become complacent and no longer heed the posted limit. We are more concerned than ever about the potential for a horrific accident.
Previously, we wrote a letter to the editor of the Kingman Daily Miner and were very pleased that the Kingman Police Department immediately reacted. They visited our residence personally and patrolled the block for over a week.
This resulted in a more reasonable flow of traffic at safer speeds. It appeared that the officers only warned drivers instead of issuing citations.
I do not want to second-guess an officer's judgment, but as a driver, I remember every citation I was issued.
But this solution was only temporary. Once the police presence was gone, the speeding traffic resumed.
We asked that a vacant police car be parked in plain view at the northwest corner of 7th and Beale, since I have personally found that a cruiser's presence is an adequate deterrent.
We don't know what to do. The situation is unsafe, and we feel helpless. We can either wait for the inevitable looming disaster or ask directly for assistance.
If your department cannot provide an increased patrol, especially between 7-8 a.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, we request your assistance in having the city of Kingman provide a traffic control change for the 700 block of Beale Street:
The addition of a stop sign on Beale at the intersections of either 8th or 7th streets, or;
Adding a rumble strip and a "Reduced Speed Ahead" sign before the intersection of Beale and 8th.
I also feel that internal memos and education for the public agencies located within the downtown area (City, County, State, etc.) would be beneficial. Sometimes all a person needs is a reminder.
Our concern is for all who visit the neighborhoods and businesses around Beale Street. We ask that you help us any way that your department can.