VILLAGE OF PEWAUKEE - A couple residents on Prospect Avenue want to make the streets around the school campus safer.
Dena Laufenberg and her neighbor Erik Spooner have started a petition seeking the installation of speed-limit signs with radar indicating a driver's current speed. Their efforts kicked off after two incidents with a school bus in the same week. One of those incidents, Laufenberg said, involved a driver who purposefully ran through a stop sign while flipping off the bus driver and the students on the bus. The other was accidental; a driver didn't notice the lights turning on the bus as it was stopping, but was able to stop at the last second.
Laufenberg said her son has to cross the street to board the bus, and she noticed how fast cars were going by.
"Sometimes they miss that the bus is stopping, and they continue to go on," Laufenberg said. "They (the village of Pewaukee) have had radar trailers set up next to my house because next to my house is village property. I've noticed with that there, that individuals do slow down when they see that. With having the radar signs, I was hoping that it would alert drivers to their speed, and in turn, reduce their speeding."
Laufenberg said that studies have shown the radar signs result in a 10- to 20-percent reduction in average speed and compliance with the posted speed limit. Laufenberg also said that she has tried yard signs, but village ordinances prevent residents from having them up year-round.
She said that there was, at one point, a temporary radar sign at Richmond Drive and Lake Street. Laufenberg hopes more permanent signs can be put in place.
"Within our school zone, I believe that is a necessity," Laufenberg said.
So far, the petition on ipetitions.com has collected 70 signatures; the goal is 1,000. (See the petition at bit.ly/PewaukeeSpeedLimit.) Laufenberg hopes to present the idea to the board, possibly in May, and have the signs ready for the next school year.
She first presented the petition on Facebook, but had found that she wasn't reaching as many people as she would have liked. Laufenberg plans to go door-to-door with a written petition after the Pewaukee School District comes back from its spring break April 17.
Laufenberg said that that members of the village board and village police department told her the signs could cost from $2,000 to $6,000. She said a traveling radar sign the police department uses now cost $4,000, but was paid for with a state grant.
The Pewaukee School District previously offered to pitch in on the cost of signs, but the village turned it down, according to Laufenberg. It was unclear why that request might have been denied.
"I'm hoping that the village could help us get prices on it, and that the school would pitch in again; otherwise I'm planning on starting a fund for it, because I definitely think it's important," Laufenberg said.
Other neighbors and residents are also noticing speeding issue in the school zone.
Spooner is concerned for the safety of his children and those of other families, in part due to the crash that killed Ashlyn Flegel last July.
"Vehicles are just slamming by. Our front window is 25 feet from the road, and people are going 50 miles an hour," Spooner said. "If we've lost one kid, that's one, obviously, too many. We need to put a stop to the thoroughfare of traffic that's coming through Pewaukee at a very fast clip."
Spooner said he has talked to the police department about radaring traffic, which they did twice in a day on Prospect Avenue after he called, but Spooner said he hasn't seen officers out there since then.
Spooner said he understands the department is busy, and staff is limited. However, he thinks there should be the resources to tackle the problem.
"There's plenty of tax revenue coming in that they can afford to put in speed bumps, a radar sign, or if not, an officer on patrol radaring," Spooner said.