Dismayed and disgusted at Kirkland Police Department's failure to enforce traffic laws | LETTER
May 30, 2012 · 12:29 PM
It was with dismay and disgust that I read the story about the boy who was struck in a crosswalk near Juanita High School.
Dismay at (1) the unnecessary suffering and pain experienced by the Juanita High School student and his family as a result of a totally preventable incident in a marked crosswalk on NE 132nd Street on May 15th; and (2) the thoughtless actions of the motorists who are so self-absorbed that they consciously ignore students attempting to cross a busy arterial.
Disgust at (1) what seems to be a growing disregard by the motoring public for “rules-of-the-road,” which, for the most part, involve nothing more than common courtesy to other users of the road; and (2) the failure on the part of law-enforcement agencies to enforce those rules. It does not require the intellect of a rocket scientist to understand the effectiveness of “behavior modification” that results from a citation issued to a motorist by law enforcement for a failure to adhere to those simple and easily-understandable rules.
Conversely, and unfortunately, failure on the part of law enforcement to actually enforce the laws results in a “tolerance policy” that actually encourages bad behavior (e.g. running red lights at intersections – which has reached epidemic proportions, and intimidation of pedestrians; both of which contribute to events as described in the referenced article.
Following the City of Kirkland’s annexation of the north Juanita and Finn Hill area, I was heartened by the Kirkland Police Chief’s pronouncement that he would be hiring additional officers to patrol the newly-annexed area.
I wrote him a letter praising him for this common-sense approach and asking that he designate the area near the Edith Moulton elementary school – particularly 140th Avenue N.E. – which has limited sight distance and is heavily traveled each day by elementary school students walking to and from school.
Although the speed limit on this residential street is 25 mph and is signed for “limited sight distance,” motorists constantly race up and down this street far in excess of the posted speed, putting the children and residents exiting driveways at high risk.
This problem has been exacerbated over the last several months by construction activities at the school, requiring the construction workers to park along both sides of 140th Ave. Surprisingly, this additional congestion has not caused the motorists to exercise a little common sense and slow down.
Unfortunately, my request for a police presence was given a low priority, as we have yet to see any effort on the part of the Kirkland Police Department to convince motorists that exceeding the speed limit on this street is not in their best interests.
As is the case with the crosswalk on NE 132nd, the disregard of red lights and intersections, it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured as a result of this hazardous condition and, when it happens, we will once again be asking why the city took no action to avoid it.
Mike Main, Kirkland