Mother urges neighborhood drivers to slow down

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

Krisha LeClear has been watching the cars zip by on Tierra Blanca for three years, and she does not like what she sees.

Her oldest child is in second grade, but he is not even allowed on the sidewalk in front of her house. The section of street where she lives is just too inviting for speeders, she said.

On Wednesday LeClear, a 33-year-old Michigan native, decided to take her message right to that street. About the time school let out she took to the streets with signs that had messages admonishing fast drivers.

One of her signs read, “Keep Kids alive, Drive 25.”

“I have seen the kids playing right by the street, on the side walk, and seen cars speed right by them,” LeClear said. “Mine aren’t allowed out of the back yard.”

Over the years LeClear said the vehicles have gotten faster and faster. When she moved into the area 5 1/2 years ago she noticed the traffic problems, but not until her oldest child started going to school did she really take notice.

Her main concern are for the children attending Highland Elementary School, just a few blocks from her house.

“The kids are like ants all over the place when school lets out,” she said. “Some of the people I see driving by that fast either have children in the cars or baby car seats in their cars. I know they wouldn’t like it if I went to their neighborhood and drove that fast.”

Tierra Blanca has absorbed a significant increase in traffic over the past few years due to general population growth in the area, Clovis police say.

“We try to get up there as much as we can but with man power constraints we can’t get there as much as we would like,” officer Robert Denney said.

LeClear complains that the average vehicle on her street drives between 40 and 50 miles per hour, up to twice the posted speed limit of 25 mph.

“It’s a wide street and its open and they see a straight shot,” she said. “I thought when they put the four-way stop at Main (Street) and Tierra Blanca that would eliminate some of the speeding, but they just gun it till they get there.”

Denney said that the installation of the four-way stop had a limited impact.

“I have seen a reduction of speed in that area alone because of the stop signs,” Denney said. “Crash rate really hasn’t changed in that area. It never has been real significant.”

LeClear has made it a habit to collect vehicle numbers from any commercial vehicle speeding on the street and report them to the company that owns the vehicle. These efforts have yielded some success. She claims the commercial vehicles she has identified now travel her corridor with a bit more care.

“My ultimate goal is to get a petition going and get some speed bumps put in,” she said. “That would probably curb a lot of the speeding.”

LeClear was happy to say her efforts on the street Wednesday afternoon had an impact.

“People were slowing down but some of them just kind of gave me a look,” she said. “It makes me feel really good to know I can have an impact.”

Denney was unaware of any children having been hit in the area by motorists.