CLAYSBURG - The possible cost of driving the same speed you always have on Claysburg's Bedford Street? Up to $500 in fines plus $36 in court costs.
Greenfield Township police will enforce a newly reduced school-zone speed limit in mornings and afternoons, with a hefty fine for those who drive above 15 mph when Claysburg-Kimmel High School students arrive and depart, Chief Ron Givler said Wednesday.
"We've had a multitude of complaints," Givler said. "It's going to be enforced."
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Greenfield Township Police Chief Ron Givler watches as motorists — some going 40 to 50 mph — pass him along Bedford Street in Claysburg near Claysburg-Kimmel High?School on Wednesday. After a short grace period, police will begin enforcing the newly installed speed limit signs.
The complaints stemmed largely from parents and neighbors who saw motorists driving above even the usual 35 mph rate that covers the entire seven-mile road, he said.
In response, township workers on Wednesday put up three "school-zone" signs.
Drivers are now expected to slow to 15 mph on a stretch of Bedford Street running near the school complex. The new limit is set from 7 to 7:45 a.m. and 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. on school days.
The state Vehicle Code states that a motorist can be fined not more than $500 if he exceeds the maximum speed limit by more than 11 mph.
Any driver traveling more than 5 mph over the limit shall pay an additional fine of $2 per mile for each mile in excess of 5 mph in excess of the speed limit, according to the code.
Givler recalled a driver he'd clocked at 53 mph near the school.
"It's everyone," he said, including some commuters who live nearby on Bedford Street.
Student drivers aren't usually a problem, Claysburg-Kimmel Superintendent Royce Boyd said, as they park at a lower lot separate from the newly marked street.
But for students who walk to school, the new signs could be a welcome change. To approve the use of school-zone signs or flashing lights, at least some students have to walk to class, PennDOT District 9 Highway Safety Engineer Jim Hughes said.
A PennDOT study, conducted after the school year began, confirmed that Bedford Street had sufficient foot and motor traffic to enforce a lower limit, he said.
The new restriction could mean a good haul of speeders for Greenfield Township police, Givler said, noting that violators are already easy to nab near the Claysburg-Kimmel Elementary School at the other end of town.
"If I put all three of my police cars there, I could probably get 15 in the morning and 15 more in the afternoon," he said.