Letter At Length, July 8

Speeding tickets are given in wrong area

The thing that upsets me and my neighbors is not that there are traffic laws. We understand that traffic laws serve a purpose. What is infuriating is police officers who pick one spot because they know that people let their speed get a little beyond the posted limit in a 300-foot stretch due to a steep downgrade, regardless of the fact that the area has no history of property damage or personal injury from careless drivers.

The area around the intersection of North Mountain Avenue and Hersey Street has more foot traffic than any other area in Ashland away from downtown and the college because of the baseball fields and North Mountain Park. That is where we live. Our children play here. We see it every day. Responsible drivers come down those hills, pick up a little speed, and then stop a few hundred feet later. There is no history of injury or accident in this area.

The police department wrote 52 tickets June 30 in an area that has never had a history of accident or injury, yet places in the town where pedestrians have been struck and killed by automobiles went unpatrolled. Police Chief Terry Holderness' statement, "We write tickets because it saves lives and reduces injuries and property damage," is an insult to our intelligence. If that were the goal, this patrol would have taken place along Siskiyou Boulevard or in the Lithia Park Plaza — you know, places where there have actually been recorded incidences of injuries and property damage.

If the Ashland Police Department wants to publicly claim that they set up a speed trap at the intersection of North Mountain and Hersey to "reduce injuries and property damage," they need to produce numbers and show people why that spot was more important to patrol than other areas that have had multiple pedestrian deaths in automobile accidents.

Until that happens, I implore the Ashland Police Department stop insulting our intelligence and admit that they wanted to play with their new toys and are trying to figure out how to pay for them at the expense of those of us who are already paying their salary. Ashland police officers: We all know that you are bored. You live in a slow community where not much of anything happens. You knew that when you accepted the job, so please stop making the citizens of Ashland pay for your entertainment as well as your payroll.

"To protect and serve" — that should be more than rhetoric.

Chris Ostmo


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