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Signs disappear off Benjamin Road

Rural news — Efforts by neighbors to slow traffic on the 40 mph road are hampered by theft of citizen signs


Residents on Benjamin Road have been frustrated with cars speeding down the street for years.

“They come off Highway 99W and they’re doing 60 or 70,” said Monte McLane, who has lived on the street for 26 years. “They’re rolling down off Rex Hill, then they turn onto (Benjamin Road) and it’s straight for half a mile … they have no consideration that there are people on both sides of the street and there’s driveways and blind curves.”SUBMITTED - Vanished - Nineteen signs along Benjamin Road that were put up by neighbors hoping to encourage slower traffic speeds were stolen on the night of May 8, discouraging residents who turned to their own efforts to deal with a longstanding speeding problem.

During a traffic study last summer, at least one driver was clocked at 56 mph on the road, and with children, dogs, horses, bicyclists, joggers and even an occasional chicken on the road, neighbors say something has to be done.

When neighbors contacted the county about their concerns in 2006 and more recently last year, the official response was eventually to lower the speed from 45 down to 40 mph. But McLane says it really needs to be lowered to 30 mph, especially given its short one-mile length.

“If you reduce it to 30 (mph), how much time are you going to lose?” McLane said.

With no further action toward lowering the speed limit, the neighbors took a small amount of action themselves and put up signs advising drivers to “Please drive slow.”

“If no one else was going to help us, we were helping ourselves in a legal way,” neighbor Vicki Shepherd said.

But now, even that solution is out of the picture: on the night of May 8, the signs disappeared.

“These were 19 signs that were on everyone’s personal property — all 19 of them were stolen in one night,” Shepherd said.

A neighbor has determined that the signs disappeared between 8:40 p.m. and 4 a.m. Although the neighborhood does not have any leads on who stole the signs, McLane says he doubts it was kids out committing random vandalism and theft.

“I don’t think it was young people, I think it was some of the (drivers) that pass through, because they’re really, really, really irritated by what we’re trying to do,” he said.

McLane has interacted with many drivers over the years, sometimes receiving threats of physical violence as he motions at drivers to slow down.

“It was $440 worth of signs that were stolen,” Shepherd said, adding that they will be replaced.

And, despite being alerted via Facebook that his signs contained faulty grammar (“I’m just a retired truck driver,” he chuckled in response), they will urge drivers to follow the same, simple instructions: “Please drive slow.”

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