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Speed bumps needed on Maple Valley road to deter excessive speeding | Letter
While the recent business growth in Maple Valley has brought several positive assets to the community, an area of extreme concern is the amount of high-speed traffic using Southeast 280th Street, a roadway often used as a shortcut between Kent-Kangley and state Route169.
Although it is a family neighborhood with a speed limit of 25 MPH, conservative drivers tend to drive similar to the speed set for Kent-Kangley and others race through as if it were an extension of 169. In addition to being a family neighborhood, 280th is the sole access to Glacier Park Elementary. There is a high amount of foot traffic in the neighborhoods bordering 280th, with teens and tweens walking, biking or skateboarding at all hours. There have been rumblings among neighborhood residents regarding the increase in high-speed traffic. Some people have reached such a boiling point that they have mentioned vigilante actions such as shooting speeding cars with BB guns or paintball guns or building their own speed bump in the middle of the night.
At first, I dismissed the comments as empty banter, but as the situation worsens, it’s becoming alarmingly clear that the likelihood of one of these passing comments is likely to become a reality. As a school administrator (in a district other than Tahoma), I have appreciation for the importance of using lawful processes to accomplish goals; however, I also have an appreciation for the fact that parents will go to any length to protect their children, with respect for the law often being an afterthought.
After hearing the voice of the community, I decided to take a small, lawful, step and began waving at passing (significantly speeding) cars to slow down while I was working on a project in the yard. Approximately half of the drivers I made eye contact with slowed down, with many of them giving an apology wave (indicating that they most likely did not realize how fast they were going). The reaction from other drivers, however, was very concerning: some drivers actually sped up and a few others maintained their speed while giving me a much more vulgar wave.
Also while I was working on the yard project, I noticed a vehicle almost collide with another, in a perceived intentional move to get the turning vehicle (which was one of the rare vehicles to have a speed near the limit) out of the way and show the displeasure for the low (25-30) speed. Hopefully the recent accident of a mangled deer on 280th (which was crumpled as if it had been hit by either a train or a vehicle going at least double the speed limit) is a warning sign that leads to action.
Is it possible to form a citizen committee to pay for the construction of speed bumps? If there is a plan, can it please be announced soon? I can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time before someone in our community reacts with their own form of vigilante justice, which also puts innocent bystanders at risk. Or, even worse, if the next picture taken of a corpse lying next to 280th is the body bag of a young child, victimized by an excessively speeding driver, due to the lack of action for a very predictable problem situation.