RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — People living near Laburnum Avenue in Richmond say they’re fed up with the dangerous driving right outside of their homes.
Their concerns prompted Richmond leaders to take action. Councilor Ann-Frances Lambert took lead on an initiative and Councilor Katherine Jordan helped introduced the resolution to council members at last month’s meeting.
Lambert said she listened to residents’ concerns and hopes an enhanced speeding penalty will mitigate the problem.
“Speeding is an issue that’s happening throughout our city as a whole and specifically on Laburnum Avenue. Hence, why we have the most dangerous intersection on Laburnum with the AP Hill monument,” she said.
The enhanced speeding penalty could mean a higher fine for drivers who travel over the 35 mile per hour speed limit.
Signs on Laburnum Avenue clearly show a 35 mph speed limit — one residents say is rarely followed. (Photos: Nicole Dantzler/WRIC)
Lambert said signs, informing drivers about the change, would go up on West Laburnum Avenue from Rosedale Avenue to the Henrico County line.
David Lydiard has lived in the neighborhood for nearly three decades.
“It’s unbelievable. Rarely does anyone do 35 on this road,” he said.
What’s unique about the area, according to Lydiard, are the nearly 1,200 homes and Linwood Holton Elementary School in the neighborhood.
On Tuesday, Lydiard told 8News that he’s concerned for the children and families who cross the street every day.
“I asked council to imagine their own child standing on this curb out here on Laburnum. Now, an elementary school-aged child peeking over the curb looking at oncoming traffic trying to figure out if they can cross safely? Now that’s a frightening thought for an adult,” he said.
Lydiard and Margaret Pfohl make up the Bellevue Civic Association’s Traffic Committee. It formed at the beginning of this year, so they can identify neighborhood traffic-related issues like speeding, stop sign running and dangerous road conditions. They also work with the Richmond police, Traffic Engineering, and local government on solutions including changing and adding signs.
Traffic engineers conducted a survey in August 2021. The results found more than 1,100 drivers a day travel above 50 miles per hour in the 35 mile per hour zone, Lydiard said.
“If you’re caught speeding in that area, add another $200 at the maximum per state law to your ticket,” he said.
Lydiard hopes the potential changes will draw attention to the problem before a deadly crash occurs.
“People are pushing the limits. I think it comes down to enforcement,” he added.
City council members are expected to vote on the enhanced speed penalty at the next meeting on November 14.