by Lisa Tome
Krystle James stood on Rising Sun's Cherry Street on Thursday with her kindergarden student waiting for the bus to arrive.
James, the mother of three children - ages five, 18 months, and six months, said that street is one that worries her.
"I am concerned about speeding on Cherry Street. I don't even allow them (children) to play in the front yard because of speeding," said James.
One of James' neighbors, former town commissioner Joanne Osborne, has spent more than two years working to get speed humps on the street. She proposed speed humps while she was in office but was unsuccessful in obtaining them.
She said that during the time in which she was serving, residents on the street were surveyed. She said they want them in an effort to slow traffic down.
"There are children on the street, in the street, and running back and forth," said Osborne.
She said that drivers who want to avoid the traffic light at Center Square use Cherry Street as the main thoroughfare.
But, thus far, the current board of commissioners isn't in favor of installing speed humps.
"If we look at Cherry, we would have to look at Pearl and Mount," said Commissioner Bernie Chiominto. He also said he doesn't believe it's a good idea to put speed humps on a newly paved street. (Cherry Street is in line for paving). He said vehicles travel 60-70 miles per hour on Pearl Street.
Chiominto said is is in favor of installing "Children at Play" signs. He said those who live on other streets would also want speed humps. "What makes Cherry Street different?," asked Chiominto.
Chiominto is a former police officer. He said from experience, and checks from radar operations on Cherry Street, the speeds were not excessive. Many drivers were driving 30, 31, or 33 miles per hour.
"It's absolutely not just Cherry Street. It's West Main, Pearl, and Mount and all over town," he said. He said two officers should be hired by the end of this month.
Mayor Bob Fisher said by not doing what the residents want, the town is not being "fully responsive" to the wishes of the residents. "In that case, the people in the town should get what they want," said Fisher.
Commissioner George Walker is opposed to installing speed humps. "I don't like them. It slows emergency equipment," said Walker. He's Rising Sun's former police chief.
"In the 21 years I was a police officer in town, I handled one accident on that street," Walker said. Walker also said that getting police manpower back up to strength by adding two officers will help. "At this point, we have a manpower issue. But even that (more officers) won't stop it (speeding)," said Walker.
Commissioner Lyn Dugger said she believes speed humps would slow down and impede emergency vehicles.
Allegations were also made during last week's town meeting that "young fireman" speed on Cherry Street when responding to calls.
Dugger suggested that more tickets are issued. She also said speeding is a big issue in the town. She is a runner and said she was "almost hit" while on a run.
"We need to fix the culture in the town to discourage speeders," said Dugger.
Fisher challenged Walker and Chiominto with the task of finding ways to slow speeding drivers.
"I will be happy to take on that challenge," said Chiominto.
Police Chief Chip Peterson said the speeding issue has "always" been a problem. He also said he has things in mind for Cherry Street.
"It's changing human behavior. That takes more effort. We have to stay there and write tickets for very low speeds," said Peterson.