Second Avenue speeding worries Hazelwood residents

For one morning, they succeeded in slowing the traffic on Second Avenue in Hazelwood.

Well, most of it.

As resident John Cheatham talked about the need to protect the neighborhood's schoolchildren from drivers who flout the posted 25 mph speed limit, the driver of a pickup truck gunned his engine and peeled away from the intersection at Glenwood Avenue, as if to spite the 30 or so protesters who held signs reading "Watch for children" and "2nd Avenue not a highway."

The residents said the stretch of road coming off the Glenwood Bridge, part of a popular "backdoor" commuter route to Oakland and Downtown, is the site of rampant speeding and other dangerous practices.

"We're out here to make a statement that we need some control at this intersection," Mr. Cheatham said. "People speed through this light even when it's red."

Most drivers, perhaps out of curiosity at the sign-bearing crowd, seemed to drive slowly through the intersection. At other times they barreled through at 45 mph or more, residents said.

"We've had a whole lot of close calls," resident Saundra Cole said. She wants the city to declare the area a school zone, even though there are no schools operating in the vicinity, and impose a 15 mph limit.

"All of our children are being shipped out of the community to other communities, but we still need safety," she said. The children must cross Second Avenue to get to and from their bus stops.

Other residents have suggested rumble strips and signs warning drivers coming off the bridge that they are entering a residential area.

The Glenwood Avenue intersection has a traffic signal but no crossing guard. Residents said police occasionally set up a speed trap, but well up the road.

City Councilman Corey O'Connor, who represents the area, said he will meet with traffic engineers and arrange a site visit to see what can be done. He said there's a need to balance safety issues with the need to keep traffic moving.

"I know that area very well. Cars do come flying down the hill off that bridge," he said.

Second Avenue is a state-maintained road, but it is patrolled by Pittsburgh police. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said enforcement will be stepped up in the area and a portable electronic sign that displays vehicles' speeds will be deployed there.

Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at Twitter: @pgtraffic.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:41:13