While sitting on her screened-in porch, Julie Hawkins gets exasperated as she watches blurred, different colored vehicles zipping by her Trolley Line Road home.
“Just look at this,” said her neighbor and friend Suzanne Rye, as a red truck zoomed by.
The speed limit along the stretch of Trolley Line Road is 35 miles per hour, starting at the YMCA while driving toward Graniteville. Hawkins said she has no doubt that some of those vehicles are passing through at more like 60 to 70 miles per hour.
“The problem with this speed is just out of control,” Hawkins said.
Recently, Rye had two-sided signs made that read, “Attention! 35 MPH” and distributed them out to neighbors who don't mind displaying them in their yards. The signs are meant to remind speeders they're going way too fast.
Hawkins has lived at her Trolley Line home for about 14 years. She said speeding along their portion of the road has gotten worse over the years, with new housing developments popping up on both Jefferson Davis Highway and University Parkway, as well as the YMCA that recently opened on Trolley Line.
Hawkins said that one day, a piece of plastic-covered aluminum fell into her yard from a speeding truck.
She put it to use by painting, “We live here. Please slow down,” and displayed it in her yard.
Rye, who has lived across the road from Hawkins for about two years, decided to have a few signs made herself. They can be seen in some of her neighbors' yards. Several times, Hawkins and Rye have taken it a few steps further and held the signs up themselves with their family in hopes drivers will pay attention to their speed.
Hawkins said some slow down with a friendly wave but some just keep driving too fast and, at times, just speed up more.
“It's just so frustrating,” Rye said.
Hawkins and Rye worry about their children's safety, their pets and especially their elderly neighbors. And, the problem is persisting. On Thursday, a speeding vehicle was pulled over by a deputy in Rye's driveway.
According to the Aiken County Sheriff's Department, 16 traffic tickets, four warnings and two criminal citations were made along Trolley Line Road in 2012. So far this year, there have been five warnings and one traffic ticket issued.
Those numbers only reflect citations issued by the Sheriff's Department and not the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Hawkins wonders what the real solution is to ending the speeding problems on her road. She said she would like to see something done before someone gets hurt, whether it's more patrolling or some sort of traffic mechanism to abate speeding.
“It's just dangerous,” Hawkins said shaking her head. “It's terribly dangerous.”
Until then, Hawkins, Rye and their neighbors will continue to fight speeders in their own way – through awareness printed on small, white signs.
Rye said that anyone who would like a sign, including residents in other neighborhoods who are experiencing the same problem, can call her at 803-640-2624. The signs are $20 a piece, which covers the cost of making each one, Rye said.
Amy Banton is the County beat reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is originally from Rustburg, Va., and is a graduate of Randolph Macon Woman's College.
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