Submitted by University Place Police Chief Greg Premo.
As I have noted in this column before and in my conversations with residents and business owners in U.P., the number one complaint our department receives deals with traffic safety. We certainly hear concerns around all types of criminal or suspicious activity as well, but the one issue that generates the most calls to the station involves issues related to speeding and traffic safety.
I commend the City for the investments it has made over the years to complete road projects such as sidewalks, medians, roundabouts, etc., that not only improve traffic flow and the aesthetics of the city but also serve as traffic calming measures. The most recent project on Cirque Drive heading toward Grandview Drive is a great example. A post-project survey shows that average speeds in the area slowed by five mph.
But for us to create a community culture that values traffic safety, we will need to commit to more than road projects. I personally don’t believe traffic enforcement is the sole answer. It is part of the answer, though. When we combine active dedicated enforcement, better road designs and community education, we can make an impact on traffic safety throughout the community.
We are a city of 34,000 people and eight square miles of roads. That may not sound like a lot, but with the force numbers we currently have, it can be difficult to juggle traffic issues along with the other calls for service we receive.
Some people have suggested we should add dedicated traffic enforcement officers and/or speed cameras. What do you think? I look forward to exploring these and other ideas during my conversations with our community. But don’t feel as though you have to wait for an organized event to share your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime.