Capt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said the goal of speed patrols are to improve safety. He said Chapel Hill police announce where the speed patrols will be on their website and social media to decrease speeding.
According to The Town of Chapel Hill website, there were three speed patrols earlier in March. The next one will take place March 30 from 10 a.m. to noon at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Municipal Drive.
“If we could get people to slow down by telling them ahead of time, we’ve achieved our goal. If we get people to slow down by stopping them and giving them a ticket, then we’ve also achieved our goal,” Mecimore said.
“Our preference would be that we would get people to slow down and we don’t have to write them a ticket.”
Mecimore said Chapel Hill police do not gain a reward when they write a ticket.
“I think people have the misconception that tickets somehow make money for the town or the police department,” Mecimore said.
UNC junior Caitlin Moscarito said she often sees speed patrols on Raleigh Road.
“It doesn’t seem logical because it’s a hill and it’s off-campus so it’s away from a lot of people,” Moscarito said.
Moscarito said there should be speed patrols on-campus because of the large number of pedestrians.
Mecimore said the police department focuses on certain areas in town.
“Speed is always an issue in areas such as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 15-501 and US-54,” Mecimore said. “The higher the speed in the crash, the higher the likelihood someone gets hurt or killed.”
UNC junior Haley Davies said the speed patrols will improve safety for pedestrians.
“I think it is a good idea because the sidewalks leading to campus are too narrow and the recycling and trash services put the bins down on the sidewalk making so that we have to walk on the road to get around them,” Davies said. “That being said, if cars are speeding, which is very easy to do, it’s very dangerous for anyone walking to campus. I know it is really hard to go 35 down MLK but it’s a necessary evil because the sidewalks just aren’t safe enough.”
Mecimore said the state initative Watch For Me NC aims to improve pedestrian safety.
“The Watch for NC is typically focused around crosswalks so that’s throughout downtown and then we also assist UNC in campus in several places, usually around Manning Drive because there are so many people crossing Manning on sidewalks,” he said.
Along with the speed patrols, Mecimore said Chapel Hill has been painting crosswalks in hopes of drawing attention to pedestrians.
Mecimore said people can check the Chapel Hill Police Department’s social media accounts and the town of Chapel Hill website to find other speed patrol locations.