All signs point to slowing traffic along Shadowlawn

Friday, September 7, 2012
As traffic moves westbound along Shadowlawn Avenue, east of the entrance to Deer Meadow School, a vehicle sets off the driver feedback sign with a 28-mph reading on the new device installed recently on the north side of the busy Greencastle street.

Greencastle City Police have a new ally in the battle against speeding in school zones.

A new driver feedback sign, which displays the speed of each passing westbound vehicle, has been installed along the north side of Shadowlawn Avenue in the heart of the Deer Field Estates subdivision.

That section of Shadowlawn is a school zone with a posted 20-mph speed limit. When a passing vehicle exceeds that 20-mph speed, a light atop the feedback sign flashes a warning.

"The mayor and I decided it would be a good speed deterrent if we had these driver feedback signs up in our school zones," Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin explained.

He said the location on Shadowlawn was selected for a couple of reasons.

"The first being it is before the school entrance as you travel westbound on Shadowlawn," Sutherlin said, "along with it being just before the crossing of the People Pathway."

The chief said his hope is "to deter motorists to slow down not only before the school entrance but also before the People Pathways crossing."

The device is virtually identical to the driver feedback sign placed on South Jackson Street near the VFW Post a couple years ago.

"I know that speeding complaints have gone down on Jackson Street," the police chief noted. "That doesn't mean that motorists aren't speeding, but we are receiving fewer complaints of speeding since we have installed the driver feedback sign on Jackson Street."

Sutherlin also believes the number of traffic accidents at the intersection of Jackson and Hanna streets in the DePauw University campus area has decreased since the feedback sign was installed.

City Police staff researched their records and the results were impressive.

"We didn't have one accident reported at that intersection that required an accident report," Chief Sutherlin said.

"It most definitely has slowed down northbound traffic," he added, "because they are seeing the flashing speed as they come into town. However, I believe traffic is traveling faster as it travels south out of town because they don't see the sign."

The feedback sign cost less than $4,000, Mayor Sue Murray said, crediting Chief Sutherlin and Department of Public Works Supt. Brad Phillips for fostering the project and selecting the proper location to maximize effectiveness.

"We chose that spot mainly due to it being a school zone," Phillips said, "and at the same time, with the new pathway crossing there, we felt we should have a safer crossing for that."

City officials stopped short of saying when or if additional feedback signs might be added in areas around Greencastle. But Chief Sutherlin, for one, is enthusiastic about the effort and its results.

"I do believe these signs help reduce speeding in their specific locations," he said, "however, as you know, not everyone follows the rules. I'm sure if our officers would continue to run radar in these locations, motorists would still be speeding."

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  • I live in the area of south Jackson Street. Traffic coming in to town and going out of town is still faster than posted. Even though the college students are young adults, I would rather drive a little slower than to cause injury or death to someone, just because they are crossing the street at a crosswalk. I believe that you are, by law, to yield and stop to let people cross at a designated crosswalk. What's the hurry anyway!

    -- Posted by chicken on Fri, Sep 7, 2012, at 6:48 AM
  • So with this picture is the person driving here being ticketed. They are obviously exceeding the speed limit?

    -- Posted by Bored-n-Gcastle2 on Fri, Sep 7, 2012, at 11:54 AM
  • There should really be a school hours only speed limit there, no reason to restrict it to 20mph all the time.

    -- Posted by bobbittle on Fri, Sep 7, 2012, at 12:40 PM
  • Benedick & bobbittle don't realize that people use the People Pathway crosswalk at any and all hours, especially in the evenings and weekends when school is not in session, so having it just during the school hours is not appropriate. We have waited a long time for this device and thanks to the city administration, it is a reality. Thank you to Mayor Sue, Brad and Chief Tom for diligently staying on top of this issue.

    -- Posted by gustave&zelma on Fri, Sep 7, 2012, at 2:03 PM
  • I go through there at least twice a day, and have NEVER seen anyone using the "People Pathway" crossing. Ever.

    Waste of taxpayer money.

    -- Posted by bobbittle on Mon, Sep 10, 2012, at 12:08 AM
  • I am glad to see the speed deterrent.. My child attends Deer Meadow.. We also walk on the Peoples Pathway. People fly on Shadowlawn... It is a school zone.I would rather go 20 miles an hour for a couple hundred feet then hurt someone.

    -- Posted by willowbrooke on Mon, Sep 10, 2012, at 10:24 AM
  • @Benedick...DePauw hosts many camps for school age students and they use that crossing area, but what does it matter who uses it? That area has a high traffic of pedestrian use and anyone crossing doesn't deserve to have to run for their life when a speeding car comes north into town around the corner. As far as Deer Meadow goes, I see pedestrian traffic all the time, either walking to use the playground area or using the Peoples Pathway. I vote on the side of caution everytime.

    -- Posted by kbmom on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 6:07 AM
  • Could you live with yourself if you hit and killed a child?? I know I couldn't... If you are in such a hurry you should leave for your destination sooner??? Just saying?!?!

    -- Posted by willowbrooke on Wed, Sep 12, 2012, at 7:16 PM
  • The man in the white (Toyota, looks like) probably didn't notice the speed trap until too late - he's on his cell phone. lol

    -- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Sep 13, 2012, at 12:00 PM
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