Commissioners Hear Shingle Landing Complaints

SNOW HILL- Judy Froman just wants drivers to obey the speed limit on Shingle Landing Rd., and she does not care how Worcester County makes that happen.

“I have worked consistently since we moved on this street to get people to obey the speed limit, which is my goal,” said Froman, who has been campaigning against speeders on the road since 2002.

The speed limit on Shingle Landing Rd., once 40 miles per hour., was lowered to 30 mph four-and-a-half years ago, but had little effect on some motorists.

Concerned neighborhood residents are not asking for another reduction in the speed limit, just help in getting drivers to stick to the speed limit now in place. A recent petition from residents asks specifically for stop signs at intersections on the road, but other communications between residents and the county have pointed out the potential use of other passive traffic calming methods such as speed bumps.

“The residents still contend excessive speeding still occurs on the road,” said county public works director John Tustin at Tuesday’s county commissioners meeting.

A Worcester County speed study done in April 2009 showed that speeding is a frequent occurrence on the road, with about 40 percent of the traffic traveling over 35 mph. Froman said she and other concerned neighbors are asking for any and all help from the county to slow drivers to safer speeds. Simply asking local law enforcement to make traffic stops is ineffective, since no local agency has enough officers to mount a long-term presence on the dead end street.

“It only works as long as the [police] car is visible,” said Froman.

Suggestions include speed bumps or speed humps, rumble strips, or stop signs. A petition signed by 35 area residents asked for stop signs at roads connecting to Shingle Landing Rd.

Stop signs are not the answer, said Tustin on Tuesday, according to research in the 2003 “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.”

Commissioner Judy Boggs asked staff whether speed humps, gentler, longer, speed bumps, could be installed. Speed bumps can have a negative impact on school buses, said school bus driver Commissioner Jim Purnell.

“It can cost $1,800 to $3,000 to repair the front end no matter how slow you go across them,” he said.

While the county does not support speed bumps on streets, Froman points out that Glen Riddle is putting them in to slow motorists. Commission president Commissioner Louise Gulyas asked staff whether rumble strips would make a difference to speeding motorists. However, Tustin pointed out problems with them is residential areas.

“They’re great on open highways,” he said. “In residential areas, you’d hear them all night long,” Tustin said.

“Any kind of additional support [is welcome], because the problem is they don’t have the manpower, the budget’s been cut,” Froman said.

In the nine years Froman has lived on Shingle Landing Rd., the neighborhood has changed, Froman said, with more young families with children moving into new subdivisions Peyton Acres, Bayberry Estates, and Cedar Acres. More residents also means more traffic, she pointed out.

Froman estimates that nearly 30 children live in the Shingle Landing Rd. neighborhood, with the Tidewater Home School located near the road’s intersection with Route 113. Shingle Landing Rd. is straight, narrow, has no shoulders, and is lined by steep ditches, speed limit supporters say.

“There’s no margin for error,” she said. “I’m a dog walker. I’ve had to jump off the road a couple of times.”

Tustin said traffic on the road is largely residential.

“It’s not the pass through traffic,” he said. “It’s the folks who live there.”

Residents are part of the problem, Froman said, but she has also seen delivery trucks, school buses, and construction workers all speed down the road. “School buses, we’ve all noticed, have gone fast,” said Froman.

While no human has been harmed while walking or driving the road, several pets have been killed or maimed, according to Froman. The latest speeding casualty on the road, a female chocolate Labrador retriever named Savvy, was killed in late July.

“The bottom line is just trying to make people go 30 mph or less,” Froman said.

“It tends to be an enforcement issue in my mind,” Tustin said.

The commissioners will ask the Worcester County Sheriff’s office to target the road for speed limit enforcement. “Try to enforce it and see how it goes form there,” said Gulyas.

“Some people need more of a wake up call than others,” said Froman. “If we have to call the police on a regular basis, we will.”