About a dozen of approximately 30 in the audience at the Maplewood City Council meeting on Tuesday came from Marietta Avenue. Their block carries higher than average traffic for a residential street according to a city study, and a percentage of those are speeding.
The residents who are also parents see it at the bus stop on Marshall Avenue. They said drivers don’t yield to pedestrians, cut through a parking lot on the corner, exhibit road rage, and swipe parked cars as they come north on Marshall and turn left on Marietta.
The city had sent a letter to the residents with a suggestion from a traffic consultant to allow parking on the north side of the street to discourage the cut-through traffic. Not one resident or council member liked the idea.
The residents acknowledged the volume but want to slow it down. Speed bumps, rumble strips, narrowing the street at one spot were all ideas floated to do that.
Several council members agreed with the residents that speeding is a problem, but City Manager Marty Corcoran said it’s clear the problem is volume.
“You can’t tell me by sitting on your porch how fast a car is going. That’s a problem on every street in Maplewood [that a percentage are speeding], but you don’t have the same volume on every street in Maplewood,” he said following the meeting. “The issue is you’ve got to reduce the volume on the street. If you don’t reduce the volume on the street you’re not going to solve the problem. If you put a speed bump there and there’s still 2,500 cars going down the street we haven’t solved any problems. It’s still dangerous for kids. It’s still dangerous for the cars parked on the side of the street. It doesn’t get solved.”
Council member Shawn Faulkingham disagreed. He said, also after the meeting, that speeding is a problem and speed bumps are a viable solution: “We found with our study that 78 cars went through in an hour. Thirty percent of them were over 25 miles per hour. That’s a lot of speeders. One percent would be too many when you have 15 kids on the block. You have to look at kid density too. When we got the speed bumps on Elm that was my idea. I did the research on it. At the time we had 23 kids. Speed kills. Even the speed limit kills. Their perception is they want the cars to slow down, and speed bumps do slow them down, and focuses the driver, so I think it’s a very viable option.”
Corcoran said at the end of the discussion the city has 90 days to implement a solution because that’s when school will begin. (It’s actually less than that.) He told the council to bring proposed solutions to a future meeting.
A group of residents, council members and Mayor Greenberg stayed and talked it over after the meeting.