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City councilors want the city to start buying electronic radar speed signs and positioning them around the city in places where speeding is a problem – The Haverhill Gazette

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They are a lot cheaper than a police officer, and some believe they are as effective at slowing speeding drivers.

City councilors want the city to start buying electronic radar speed signs and positioning them around the city in places where speeding is a problem.

The signs, which are typically solar-powered and can be stationary or moved around on a trailer, display the speed of approaching vehicles on a large screen that typically also includes room for a short message.

“The problem is we only have one traffic officer,” said Councilor Michael McGonagle, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee. “When Officer (Lance) Powell does a traffic enforcement operation at a specific location, he gives a few tickets and it works for a while. But then he leaves and, after a few weeks, the speeding is back.”

McGonagle said the council sent Mayor James Fiorentini a letter a few months ago asking for him to immediately purchase two stationary electronic radar signs and to consider adding three or four of the machines in each new city budget. The machines cost $4,000 to $5,000 each, McGonagle said.

“I’d like to get to the point where we have 10 or 15,” McGonagle said of the signs. “They are effective and they are a lot more efficient than tying up our limited police officers to sit in a car and watch for speeders for three or four hours.”

McGonagle said there’s no shortage of locations in Haverhill where the machines could be deployed. He mentioned upper Broadway, Kingsbury Avenue, Hilldale Avenue, East Broadway and Water Street as spots with speeding problems.

Dick LeBlond, owner of the Chicken Connection restaurant at 240 Broadway, has also been pushing for the city to buy and deploy electronic speed monitors.

“There’s one on North Avenue in Plaistow that works great,” LeBlond said. “Every time you go by it, you look at your speed and tap your brakes. We really need to do something to curb all this speeding before we have a tragedy.”

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