Firethorn residents call for crackdown on speeders
Rifle Police Department is increasing patrol of Firethorn Drive in response to residents’ concerns over excessive speeding.
Additionally, police will station a digital traffic reader on the street to alert motorists when they are driving above the speed limit. The hope is that increased awareness and enforcement will result in greater compliance, said Rifle Police Chief John Dyer.
Speeding motorists are most active between 7-8 a.m., noon to 1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m., and residents worry it is only a matter of time before the issue results in an accident or worse. For parents like Brooke Barbata there is a real concern for the safety of young children.
“It scares me to let them out the front door to get into my car, and I’m not one of those hover parents,” she said. “They come down and up this street so fast and there’s so many cars on both sides of the street … they’ll never see a little kid.”
The problem is not new, said Natalie Wilson, another Firethorn resident. Some parents have tried setting up traffic cones and signs when their children are outside with little result.
“These people are driving up and down Firethorn so fast it’s scary,” Wilson said.
Complaints are not confined to the street in northeast Rifle, but it does present some issues, Dyer said. It is curvy, narrow and has a moderate incline. For those reasons, and several others, speed bumps are not a viable option. Most of the recent accidents on Firethorn are attributable to distracted driving and a failure to yield, Dyer said. Safety is always the top priority when the department receives a complaint, but police also have to consider traffic flow.
Dyer and several others monitored traffic on the street about 10 different times during peak hours. The roughly 300 vehicles clocked during the study averaged 26 mph, 1 mph faster than the speed limit, although there were several outliers, Dyer said. After meeting with eight Firethorn residents, the police department concluded that increased enforcement and awareness was the best option. The department will conduct another study after the campaign to determine if further action is needed.
“People are very concerned about speed in their neighborhood and rightfully so,” Dyer said.
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Students from Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools were asked Friday to transition to online learning and quarantine for 10 days, Garfield County District Re-2 announced.