Berlin Police Urge Citizens To Report Traffic Concerns

Berlin Police Urge Citizens To Report Traffic Concerns
Berlin Police

BERLIN – The town’s police chief is encouraging residents to share their concerns with him following several social media posts regarding traffic safety in downtown Berlin.

In spite of the flurry of chatter on Facebook regarding motorists speeding and failing to stop at stop signs, Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing said Wednesday he had yet to be contacted by concerned residents.

“We never got a single call,” Downing said.

Nevertheless, he is aware of recent social media posts made by local citizens worried about traffic safety in Berlin. Natalie DeHart was one of those residents. DeHart, who lives on Baker Street, works from home and has become alarmed by the number of vehicles she sees speeding up Main Street and the multitude of motorists who don’t come to a complete halt at stop signs. DeHart said many drivers fail to stop at the intersection of Baker Street and West Street.

“People come right through it,” she said.

In the afternoons, DeHart says she sees several local high school students speed through town in their pickup trucks.

“When you walk down Main Street, it’s scary because the road is very tight,” she said. “Those kids could easily run up on the sidewalk and wipe out people. I know that’s worst-case scenario but something needs to be done.”

Heather Layton, a town resident who has a shop on Main Street, says she too is worried about the amount of speeding she’s seen recently in Berlin.

“Even more than on Main Street, it’s on the side streets,” she said, adding that she’d seen motorists driving 40 mph on some of the downtown streets.

The traffic safety issues haven’t gone unnoticed by town officials. Several members of the Berlin Town Council have voiced their concerns regarding speeding in recent months. Councilman Thom Gulyas said he’d told the police department about certain individuals he’d seen speeding.

“I’ve made the chief aware,” he said. “He is aware of who it is and he or his officers have made contact but I don’t believe there’s anything they can do after the fact.”

Like DeHart, he said it was frightening to see people driving fast down Main Street when the sidewalks were so full of pedestrians.

“It’s dangerous,” he said.

Councilman Troy Purnell says he’s been concerned with speeding on Broad Street specifically. He said Downing and his officers were aware of the various traffic safety concerns and were working to address them in spite of the fact that they’ve been busy with school traffic and special events.

“These guys have done a great job,” he said. “They can’t do everything all the time.”

Purnell says when residents see motorists failing to abide by traffic laws they should call police immediately. He believes if police are made aware of issues quickly they’ll be able to make traffic stops, which in turn will remind motorists to be careful.

“Word gets around after you get pulled over,” Purnell said.

Downing agreed that it was vital for his department to be made aware of safety issues.

“Don’t record something you feel is dangerous,” he said. “Call me right then.”

He said that in spite of the worry about speeding on Main Street it was more likely to occur on the side streets. The narrowness of Main Street, he said, encourages drivers to reduce their speed.

The Berlin Police Department does have two radar speed signs that are moved to a variety of locations throughout town as needed. They are effective at encouraging drivers to be aware of their speed.

“They realize it more,” Downing said.

Downing said that when considering driver behavior at stop signs, it was important to remember that vehicles were required to stop at the stop line, not the actual stop sign. He advises residents with traffic safety concerns to contact the police department at 410-641-1333.