Safety of Sterne Parkway questioned

Posted 11/26/10

In the aftermath of a fatal car accident on Sterne Parkway, at least one longtime resident of that area says speeding is a persistent problem. “For …

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Safety of Sterne Parkway questioned


In the aftermath of a fatal car accident on Sterne Parkway, at least one longtime resident of that area says speeding is a persistent problem.

“For years, people have sped down this street at horrendous speeds,” Miki Tolle said. “I just know there needs to be something done to get people to slow down. This street is so dangerous.”

On Oct. 29, 21-year-old Dustin Willie was killed when he lost control of his car as he was traveling west on Sterne Parkway near South Buffalo Street. Police said excessive speed and careless driving were contributing factors to the accident.

Tolle, who has lived in her house near the corner of Sterne Parkway and Apache Street for 20 years, was one of the first people on the scene of the accident. This wasn’t the first accident on her road, she said.

“We have people almost run into the back of us all the time,” she said. “A car crashed into our trees. I wouldn’t let my kids play outside in the front.”

Tolle added she doesn’t like to park on the street for fear of her car being hit by speeding drivers.

Separated by Little’s Creek, the lanes of Sterne Parkway run east-west through a residential neighborhood from Broadway to Elati Street. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

Tolle said that despite asking the city to take action to reduce the speeding problem, a permanent solution has not been found.

City officials say Sterne Parkway is no more dangerous than other roads in the city.

“I think it’s certainly a road, that because it’s divided, it does encourage people to travel at an inordinate speed,” said Lt. Trent Cooper of the Littleton Police Department. “But we don’t seem to get a lot of complaints and we don’t have an inordinate amount of accidents. It’s not a problem area anymore than anywhere else in the city.”

Littleton has several methods for traffic calming, including speed bumps and electronic flashing signs that alert drivers to their speed. Tolle would like to see a roundabout installed on Sterne Parkway.

“I would be happy with, ideally, a roundabout,” she said.

For residents who think their neighborhoods could benefit from traffic calming, there is a process they can go through, said Deputy City Manager Phil Cortese. Residents can request a traffic calming tool kit from the public services department and complete some forms. The city then conducts traffic counts and speed studies.

“We collect the data first and we have meetings and discussions with people in the neighborhood,” Cortese said. “It’s engaging the neighborhood to determine what options are available to them and how we can finance them.”

But making the streets safer is not so simple, says Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Brinkman. The best speed deterrent, she said, would be a police presence, but that is not always cost-effective or practical.

The solution is breaking behavior patterns of unsafe driving, Brinkman said. The best way to do that remains an unanswered question.

“The solution isn’t always putting in speed bumps and it isn’t always putting in a roundabout,” Brinkman said. “I think lighted signs are the most effective non-punitive traffic slowdown methods we have. But it’s a problem we are not ever going to get rid of and the best we can do is to mitigate it to keep our streets as safe as possible.”


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