Neighbors: Drivers Still Race Down Residential Street Despite New Speed Table - NBC4 Washington
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Neighbors: Drivers Still Race Down Residential Street Despite New Speed Table

Community invited to meeting Wednesday evening

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Skeptical neighbors told the News4 I-Team the straightaways before and after the speed table would be too long, and drivers would just speed right back up. Now, that's exactly what's happening, and the neighbors fear a long road ahead to get anything else done. News4's Jodie Fleischer reports. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017)

    When a neighbor's surveillance camera captured harrowing video of a car slamming into a parked SUV in a quiet Virginia neighborhood in May, frustrated homeowners along Featherstone Road demanded action.

    For years, they'd been fighting for speed humps to slow drivers down, and stop what they call a pattern of teens racing down the long, straight residential street.

    "Nobody does anything until something happens," said Terry Metcalf, who recorded that video.

    A second angle showed cars side by side, apparently racing, when one teen left the roadway, narrowly missed a tree and slammed into Metcalf's SUV, which was parked in his driveway. He and his wife had been standing next to it just four minutes earlier.

    "Eventually somebody's going to get hurt really badly or somebody may get killed that's the problem," Metcalf said.

    In June, the News4 I-Team spotlighted the problem, and the county finally installed one speed table, basically a wider, flatter speed hump, midway down the block.

    Skeptical neighbors told the News4 I-Team the straightaways before and after the speed table would be too long, and drivers would just speed right back up. Now, that's exactly what's happening, and the neighbors fear a long road ahead to get anything else done.

    "It's a little scary to know that cars can be going 75 miles an hour, 10 feet away from your child," said Victoria Calabrese. "At least every 30 minutes, someone's going way too fast."

    She lives about three houses away from the speed table and has watched and listened to cars go over it for the past three months.

    "Oh my gosh, we were so excited," Calabrese said. "We were like, 'Great, everyone's going to start slowing down. It's going to be a little bit better."

    Turns out, that improvement is only a very little bit.

    A new Prince William County study shows the speed table slowed drivers down before they got to it, but after it, some sped right back up.

    The report shows cars still routinely get up to 50, 60, even 70 mph on the residential street, which dead ends into a park.

    On Metcalf's end of the street, the speed hump has only slowed cars by an average of 1 mph.

    All along, he and other neighbors pushed for at least two speed humps. But it took almost two years just to get one approved and installed.

    "It just made no sense what they did," said Metcalf. "We're just going to keep leaning on them, keep yelling at them. A lot more noise we make, hopefully it'll get somebody's attention."

    The neighbors say county leaders have been working to double the speeding fine to $200, which Terry says sounds good in theory.

    "But if you don't have anybody to enforce, it doesn't matter what the fine is," he said.

    Just last week he recorded a new video, showing two cars that appear to be racing, side by side, at a high speed. He sent the new video to county officials and police.

    "This whole idea of cars racing each other is kind of terrifying," said Calabrese, who makes sure her front gate is locked tight when her 3 year old is outside.

    "It's a problem that needs to be solved," she said.

    Prince William County plans to do another study early next year to see if increased fines slow drivers down.

    If that doesn't work, they'll consider adding more speed tables or other options. County leaders scheduled a meeting to update the neighbors on the whole situation Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Park Community Center.