Peters police have a new weapon in their arsenal against residential speeding -- a problem made worse with the closure of Valleybrook Road at Route 19.
"Residential speeding is probably the No. 1 complaint in the U.S.," Peters Police Capt. Michael Yanchak said. "Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is going someplace and has to be there now."
The police department has begun participating in a nationwide program called America's Trash Talks, sponsored by an Omaha, Neb.-based nonprofit group called Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25.
The organization has provided the township with 4,000 decals to place on trash cans on residential streets, reminding motorists of the 25 mph speed limit in neighborhoods. The decals wouldn't be used on state-owned roads with higher speed limits.
According to the organization, more than 93 people are killed each day due to speeding vehicles and 500 children under the age of 14 have been killed walking in their own neighborhoods. The death rate from vehicle accidents in residential areas is double that of highway deaths, the group states on its website, www.keepkidsalivedrive25.org.
Peters police are asking for neighborhood volunteers to distribute the decals and place them on trash cans.
"We have solicited the assistance of the public to get them out there," Capt. Yanchak said of the decals, which have begun appearing on the cans. "We have a number of residential areas where people traditionally complain about speeding. We're asking those neighborhoods to help and it seems to be working."
Police Chief Harry Fruecht said he hopes neighborhood organizers or homeowners associations will place dozens of the decals directly on the trash cans -- with the homeowner's permission -- rather than distributing them door to door.
"We're looking for that visual effect," Chief Fruecht said. "All we've got to affect is a couple of drivers in each segment of traffic. That will slow everyone down."
Capt. Yanchak said police have had a difficult time enforcing the speed limit in residential areas due to a statewide ban on the use of radar guns and other impediments.
"It's very difficult for local municipalities to have an effect because of the limited sight distance," he said. "We can't run radar and it's very tough to get an accurate reading off of the devices that we do use."
Traffic in residential neighborhoods, such as those along Maple Lane, Center Church Road and Thompsonville Road, have been aggravated in recent weeks, since the closing of the Valleybrook intersection, Capt. Yanchak said.
"We've been hit rather hard with cross-through traffic," he said.
He and Chief Fruecht hope the decals will serve as a reminder -- at least one day each week when trash cans are placed at curbs for pickup -- for motorists to slow down and potentially save lives.
"I just don't think citations do enough anymore," the chief said. "At least we can say we tried."
To receive decals, stop by the township police station on East McMurray Road or call 724-942-5030.
Janice Crompton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-851-1867.