A concerned group of Duluth's Park Point residents are encouraging drivers to slow down when traveling the neighborhood's main drag.
The effort was initiated after a car crash in October happened only a few feet away from a group of several Park Point residents.
"People are simply driving too fast on the Point and we need them to slow down," said Park Point resident Pat Sterner at a news conference on Friday. "We need people to be aware there are other folks on the Point, too, riding their bikes, taking their kids out, walking dogs and trying to get across the street to get to the beach. We worry about families a lot."
After the crash, residents began discussing traffic safety on Park Point with Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and Duluth Police Department Chief Mike Tusken and since then, the Duluth Police Department and the Park Point Community Club have launched a joint effort called "Operation Slow Motion."
The police department has installed two radar speed signs on each side of Lafayette Square and increased patrol in the neighborhood. And for nearly three months now, about 30 Park Point residents have been taking shifts to hold signs encouraging people to slow down and recording down license plate numbers of those who speed.
"We really focus on the weekends," Sterner said. "We also look at the weather and see if we're going to have nice days."
Sterner stressed that the volume of traffic on the Point, especially in the summer, impacts the safety of local residents and those visiting. One volunteer with the neighborhood watch counted 355 cars pass her house in an hour on a recent Saturday.
Community members have had complaints about drivers speeding on Park Point for years, said Lieutenant Chad Nagorski. Since Minnesota Avenue is a long stretch of flat road, he thinks much of the speeding on that road is unintentional.
"We just want people to be very conscious of their speed and slow down," Nagorski said, adding that the speed limit is 30 mph.
With increased patrols on Park Point, officers will be looking for people speeding as well as drivers crossing the double yellow lines to pass vehicles, which is illegal.
"It ends up being a huge safety issue down there," he said.
In just a couple months, Sterner said the neighborhood watch group has already seen a difference with traffic slowing down.
"That's been great for our volunteer group because it makes us want to keep going out there," Sterner said. "We really see that we're having an impact."