City Beat: Reckless Driving Is Growing Concern For Local Residents
High speed, reckless driving on city’s streets is a growing concern for many Decatur residents. There has never been a time in my long history of driving on Decatur streets where I’ve noticed so many drivers speeding, driving recklessly and ignoring traffic signs and signals. I’ve also been receiving a growing number of similar concerns written to me by some of our local newspaper readers.
Following is an example of what I’m pointing out in an email I received from local resident Tom Hanks: “Paul, I have written to you before about the persistent problems of the high speed and reckless driving on Lake Shore Drive here in Decatur. Just last night I heard a loud crash from my home on Lake Shore Drive and knew that once more, as so many times before, there had been a collision, which has happened on numerous occasions since I have lived here.
“You have told of your experiences while driving in the city so this is no strange or uncommon problem to you. Apparently a driver while heading east on Lake Shore Drive swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid colliding with a vehicle ahead waiting to turn on to Silas St. from Lake Shore Drive. This eastbound vehicle then hit another in the westbound lane in a head on collision. Both drivers were taken to the hospital, one with life threatening injuries.
“In my opinion traveling too fast for conditions and not paying attention caused another serious accident to occur. So much damage, cars turned over and horribly mangled as well as telephone and light poles knocked down as a result of this. Lake Shore Drive was closed down almost all night to clean up and allow the road to be safely opened to traffic.
“I have previously emailed our Police Chief Shane Brandel about these conditions on Lake Shore Drive and he has responded that he and the police department are well aware of the problem, but nothing changes. There needs to be more patrolling and speed monitoring here as so many seem to have very little regard for their speed and driving habits and the terrible consequences that such behavior can bring.
“Perhaps approaching the city council again (as I have done before) may shed more light on this situation and help to bring about corrective measures.”
• I HAVE reprinted Tom’s concerns (with his permission) in order to give an example of the concerns that residents have about safety on our city’s streets and roads. As I’ve written before in this column, I see an increasing number of speeding motorists zipping through the downtown area at a much higher rate of speed than I’ve ever witnessed on Franklin and Main streets. The traffic signals at Main and Franklin, Franklin and Williams and some other intersections are often ignored by motorists who intentionally drive right through the intersection, second after the traffic signal has turned red for them to stop!
• A FRIEND recently told me how a young couple with a small child in the back seat of their car was recently T-boned in an intersection by a driver running a red light. Fortunately, all 3 survived the crash!
• I DON’T know if the increase in crazy, dangerous driving is the result of the aftermath of the Pandemic, but I do know that I did not notice so many drivers ignoring basic rules of the road before the Pandemic paid us a visit. Between Covid, the Flu, shootings and crazy drivers, it’s little wonder that many residents are staying home and ordering what they need online. Be careful out there. I don’t want to lose any readers — or anyone else.
• STARTING AT 8 A.M. on Monday, December 12th, petitions for the Richland Community College Board of Trustees may be filed for the Consolidated Election. If filing for these offices follows the local trend, there won’t be a long line waiting to file. The election will be held on April 4, 2023. The board positions appearing on the ballot are three full six-year terms for seats currently held by Wayne Dunning, Bruce Campbell and Ben Andreas. Petitions will be accepted by the Board Secretary through Monday, December 19, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. in the President’s Office (One College Park, Decatur, IL 62521). For more information, you can contact Madonna Brown at 217-875-7211 ext. 6206.
• COVID-19 cases are still with us in Macon County. According to the November re-port issued by the Macon County Health Depart-ment, there were 838 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases during the month with the week-by-week number as follows: November 1 – November 7: 136 November 8 – November 14: 156 November 15 – November 21: 193 November 22 – November 28: 207 November 29 – November 30: 146 COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic: 350 Macon County residents – 1 death reported in November 2022 The following CDC link contains Macon County-specific COVID-19 details including, but not limited to, Community Level, hospitalization, and immunization information: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view?list_select_state =Illinois&data-type=Community Levels&list_select_county=17115&null=CommunityLevels The following IDPH link contains variant information: https://illinois-doit-stage-idph.amsadobe.com/ covid19/data/variant-proportions.html
• QUESTION — Robert Hall, sent me an email with a question: “Does anyone know what happened to the antique snooker tables that were in the St Nick poolroom before its demolition?” I don’t know. Maybe one of our readers knows. The St. Nicholas Hotel in downtown Decatur has been gone for a long time, but I still hear mentions of it from time to time in comments from our readers.
• 81 YEARS — Even though it has been 81 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, we should never forget those who lost their lives in that attack and all of those who would give their lives in the aftermath which plunged this nation into World War II. We take another look at that attack on pages 4-6 of this week’s print and online edition of the Decatur Tribune. My father, who served in the U. S. Navy, was stationed at Pearl Harbor — a few years before the attack.
• CITY COUNCIL candidates Dennis Cooper and Pat McDaniel have already sent, or dropped off, their campaign packets to the Tribune. As mentioned in last week’s edition incumbents Dennis Cooper and Lisa Gregory, plus former councilman Pat McDaniel and county board member Karl Coleman are seeking election to the 3 seats that are expiring next spring. Voters will select three of the four candidates in next April’s Municipal Election. It will be here before you know it.
• EITHER someone has swiped all of the road construction barrels along Route 51 South out of Decatur, or work on resurfacing the bumpy road has stopped for awhile. I guess it is the latter choice. After all, winter is upon us and the election is over, so that can freeze a lot of projects. Since I use that road to travel to and from downtown I notice any improvement movement and, aside from a few days weeks ago, when some patching took place, I haven’t seen much activity there recently.
The bid letting from the project, according to IDOT when I contacted them, was last June with the resurfacing project scheduled to start in September. Now, we are in December and it appears the Route 51 is going to remain “unresurfaced” for awhile. I guess I can look on the positive side — no drivers will fall asleep at the wheel on that road because the vibrations will keep them awake!
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 to discuss the issues that impact our community and beyond. I hope your week has been a good one so far and will continue to be so in the days ahead. I’ll have more City Beat in next week’s edition of the Decatur Tribune.