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Lathrop dissenters don’t want radar enforcement

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POSTED August 10, 2013 2:34 a.m.

LATHROP – The racetrack that was Louise Avenue through the bulk of Lathrop will get at least somewhat of a speed limit reduction.

A recent speed survey commissioned by the City of Lathrop recommended three roadway section reductions – which includes dropping the speed limit on Louise Avenue from 50 miles per hour down to 45 miles per hour from the city limits down to I-5 – as well as a new speed limit on a section of roadway that wasn’t previously studied.

The City Council voted 3-2 to approve the changes.

But not everybody was pleased with the idea of making changes and giving Lathrop Police the power to enforce them.

Councilman Paul Akinjo said that he wanted to eliminate the use of radar and other speed capturing devices because it doesn’t make for a “friendly city.” Without proper education to the students at Lathrop High School and other residents in the community, he said, people shouldn’t be held accountable for their speed.

“We’re supposed to present a friendly environment,” Akinjo said. “I’m not willing, and the same time, to radar everybody that comes in to town – residents and visitor. At least not at this time.”

He continued before the vote and wanted to know how many tickets were issued, how many traffic stops were made and how the city was able to push the use of radar without the support of the city council – claiming that there was something more going on than what most people realized.

Councilman Steve Dresser couldn’t have disagreed more.

While Lathrop Police Services were consulted only to talk about the use of speed enforcement tools – they can only use radar and lidar when the speed limit for the street matches up with the one suggested in the survey. They also talked about how they have their hands tied because of discrepancies that have never been ironed out.

Some of the areas of town that get the most complaints, like Thomson Street near Lathrop Elementary School, can’t be enforced with radar. A change on Lathrop Road’s section where it winds through the residential section also can’t be enforced, and drivers routinely break the posted speed limit that was changed despite a request by Lathrop Police not to do so.

“There comes a time when you raise your children when you have to stop being their best friend and you have to be their parent,” Dresser said. “When you have to get your driver’s license you have to get driver’s training and you learn the law and then you end up making a conscious decision to disobey the law.

“You feel good and you decide to speed and that should be enforced.”

A Roseville-based consultant performed the speed survey.

The public hearing was a continuation from a previous meeting where a lack of a majority vote constituted as a failed motion.

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