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City mulls road safety concerns

BERKELEY LAKE - A proposal that would have required Berkeley Lake cyclists and their bikes to be registered before taking to the city's roads may have died, but concerns about biker and pedestrian safety are still very much alive.

In a town hall meeting Saturday that lasted nearly two hours, Berkeley Lake residents discussed their concerns with speeding, safety and a proposal to make Lakeshore Drive, a popular place for bikers, a limited-access road by adding gates.

About 30 people attended the meeting, which was the second of two such town hall meetings. The first was held May 4.

An accident last summer in which a cyclist hit a pedestrian who was walking her dog on the winding Lakeshore Drive prompted the fervor, Mayor Lois Salter said. But the meeting focused not just on that road, but on safety throughout the city, where residents said speed limits are rarely adhered to and stop signs are regularly ignored.

Angela Cochran, a Berkeley Walk Point resident, said she has flagged down cars in her neighborhood and urged them to slow down.

"There's a stop sign that residents fly through, FedEx trucks fly through, school buses fly through," she said.

But before drastic measures - such as speed humps and gates - are considered, residents asked council members to start small. They suggested lowering speed limits, enforcing stop signs, building sidewalks with funds already designated from a penny sales tax, posting signs indicating that there are children at play or dangerous curves and educating the public about driving safety.

Several residents urged the council to perform a traffic study on city streets to gather data on the frequency of speed problems throughout the city.

"We should take safety on as a mantra," Mikal Kitchens said.

Cochran said to laughter that if the city got a reputation as a place for speeders to avoid, it would be all right with her.

"If there's a message, it's don't mess with Berkeley Lake," she said. "They're a community that watches out for each other, that rats each other out."

Salter said she would put the matter of safety on the city's streets on Thursday night's council agenda, but would not speculate as to what action, if any, members would take.