SLOW DOWN ON CITY STREETS

October 18, 2001 12:00 am

Drivers doing jack-rabbit starts from stop signs and driving too fast on city streets are problems in our community. For some reason we have drivers negotiating our streets who believe that main collectors such as N Avenue and Fourth Street are places to speed. Someone is going to get hurt one of these days.

N Avenue from Washington on up the hill has become an accident waiting to happen. This past Sunday, in fact, an accident did happen when a driver sped west from the five-way intersection at Washington and slammed into a vehicle parked along N Avenue not more than half a block from the intersection. It was before 8 a.m. and no one was on the street, so nobody was hurt. But the collision did considerable damage to the parked vehicle. The hit-and-run driver hasnt been found.

The speed at which the driver took off from the intersection isnt unusual for that section of street. Imagine if someone had been in or near the parked vehicle when the careless driver lost control or if someone had been trying to cross on the next block. A pedestrian wouldnt have stood a chance.

N Avenue isnt the only street in town where some drivers get the urge to speed. All collectors have the same potential. And interestingly, the problem gets worse, not better, during the school year when the need for caution is greater.

There is no simple answer. More police patrols would help, but the police have a lot more streets to patrol than they have officers and cars, both of which are natural deterrents to speeders. The trailer that shows motorists their speed of travel helps when it is present, but the lesson it teaches is short-lived. A speed bump might work for a block or so, but we cant put speed bumps all over our city streets.

Its going to take a combination of efforts to get people to slow down. If we have teen-age drivers, we can remind them of the importance of driving sanely and within the speed limit. And we can remind ourselves not to get careless when the foot hits the pedal.

Slow down, folks. Theres too much at stake when were behind the wheel.

ENERGY TIP OF WEEK

The Community Conservation Challenge has begun issuing weekly tips that people can use to save energy costs. With colder temperatures and higher energy bills on their way, consumers might want to consider some of the energy-saving ideas. This weeks tip? To use a cold-water wash and rinse setting for washing clothes.

A clothes washer is second only to bathing in consumption of hot water. A hot wash/rinse setting for a load of laundry has an electric cost of about 40 cents, according to the Bonneville Power Administration. A cold wash/rinse setting brings the cost down to about 2 cents a load. Over the course of a year, the savings add up.

Watch for another tip next week.