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Police Study Shows Speeding a Problem in Scott’s Corners

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – A recent study by the Pound Ridge Police Department has found that despite its concerted efforts, motorists along Westchester Avenue in the Scotts Corners business district are not slowing down and obeying the 30 mph speed limit.

Police Chief David Ryan said that complaints about speeding in Scotts Corners have increased over the past two years and finding a way to slow motorists down became a priority last year when an elderly man was killed while walking along Westchester Avenue on the Connecticut side of the border.

Pound Ridge police have collected data over a 24-month period from 2010-2011 based on daily radar details. Every officer was assigned one hour of radar duty per day in the business district and data on speeders such as average speeds, time of day, commercial vs. passenger and east vs. west, was culled.

“We can see that, while to some degree our enforcement efforts have worked, we clearly have not changed the driving behavior sufficiently to reduce or eliminate these (radar) details,” Ryan said. “The average speed is trending upward, which goes against the normal behavior patterns of drivers in areas with heavy speed enforcement.”

Ryan noted that his officers are issuing about the same number of tickets on a quarterly basis in Scotts Corners, which he said is disheartening because they should have decreased over a period of time due to the heavy police presence.

The data shows that the average speed of those cited with summonses between January 2010 and December 2011 has increased from 48.5 mph to 52.1 mph. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2010, 34 speeding tickets were issued at Scotts Corners. That number spiked to 151 in the fourth quarter, but Ryan noted that it was somewhat of an anomaly because grant money enabled him to assign radar duty in Scotts Corners for eight hours a day during that period. However, the number of tickets issued in each quarter of 2011 increased by around 50 percent over the 34 that were handed out in the first quarter of 2010.

Ryan said the data also revealed that there is a 17 percent rate of repeat offenders.

“We even have one guy who has been issued seven summonses,” Ryan said.

Ryan remains somewhat frustrated about how to curtail the problem. He plans on meeting with the town board to discuss possible solutions and Supervisor Gary Warshauer’s forum on May 5 will be on the subject of traffic safety where residents can provide their input.

“We need to sit down and discuss our options,” Ryan said. “Adding more signs is one. But when you have a marked unit on the side of the road and (motorists) still don’t slow down, why would they slow down for a sign?"

The chief noted that because it is a business district, his department has to walk a fine line between safety and enforcement and scaring potential shoppers away.

“There’s a balance here,” Ryan said. “It is a business district and we don’t want to hurt business by having people say, ‘don’t go down there, you’ll get a ticket.’”

Ryan said his officers are enforcing the speed limit every day with the goal that over time they can change drivers’ behavior.

“We will increase our enforcement and reduce our tolerance levels if necessary,” Ryan said.

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