Town Council seeks ways to address speeding

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

PROSPECT — Officials plan to explore ways to address speeding in town, especially at one intersection that was the site of a fatal crash seven years ago.

Carmen Michael Santoro died in July 2014 after a crash at the intersection of Porter Hill Road and Straitsville Road. Santoro’s car was hit on its driver’s side as he edged forward from a stop sign on Porter Hill Road to look for oncoming traffic on Straitsville Road. He was 84.

Seven years later, David Santoro, Santoro’s son, said the sight-line problem at the intersection and speeding issue on Straitsville Road still exist — in spite of some changes meant to address them.

Santoro, who lives on Porter Hill Road, told the Town Council on July 20 that he fears for the safety of his family who drive out of Porter Hill Road on a daily basis.

Santoro, a former part-time Prospect police officer, said police enforcement only works for as long as an officer is at the intersection. Once an officer leaves, he said, speeding picks back up.

He said other efforts like painting markings on the road to advise drivers to slow down and mirrors to improve the sight line haven’t solved the problems. He said drivers who are speeding don’t pay attention and blow through the intersection.

Santoro urged officials to install speed bumps on Straitsville Road before someone else is killed at the intersection.

Council Chairman Jeffrey Slapikas said officials previously discussed installing speed bumps on a few roads in town, but the plans were put on the backburner. He said some concerns were raised about possible legal action against the town if someone drove too fast over a speed bump and crashed.

“I’m not saying it can’t be done, but we have to look into all that stuff,” said Slapikas, who added officials will work to resolve the issue.

At the request of council member Theresa Graveline, Slapikas will appoint a public safety subcommittee of the council to look into how to address speeding in town.

Officials discussed a couple potential options during the meeting. One was rumble strips, which are grooves in pavement designed to make noise and cause vibrations to alert drivers as they drive over them.

There are rumble strips along portions of Straitsville Road and Scott Road, but they run down the center of the roads to make drivers’ aware that they’ve crossed the center line, Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

Officials also floated the idea of speed-enforcement cameras, which would take pictures of speeding cars and automatically issue tickets to the owners.