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Citizens, officials voice concerns about speeding in Rhinelander

Story By Kyle Pozorski
Local News Published 09/24/2021 5:05PM, Last Updated 09/24/2021 6:16PM
Rhinelander - Home is where you live, enjoy family and, for many these days, where you work as well. But you can't get to your home without a road to take you there. Residents of one busy street here in Rhinelander are noticing that drivers are going a little too fast down their road.

Merchelle Kolasa is a resident of Timber Drive, a popular road in Rhinelander. On September 15, Kolasa posted on the popular Nextdoor social media site to voice her concern. Kolasa says, "People need to be aware that while this may not look like a residential street, it is and they need to slow down. I've lived here about nine years and although traffic hasn't changed at all over that time, it's just becoming more and more of a concern."

Kolasa says that on her daily walks down Timber Drive, she regularly sees drivers who go more than 10 MPH over the set 25 MPH speed limit. She says it's a problem for everyone who lives on the stretch of Timber Drive from Stevens Street to Highway 17.

"I can't see anybody here that wouldn't be affected by that because everybody on this road either tries to pull out of their driveway or walks their dogs or to take a walk or what have you, especially on a rather nice day."

She along with other residents on Timber Drive believe part of the problem is a lack of enforcement. Rhinelander Police say that while speeding is a priority, Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier does not have the patrol staff to enforce 24/7. 

"If we had the personnel to sit somebody on Timber Drive and to enforce the speed enforcement, whether that's write the citation or give a written warning or a verbal warning, it's about compliance," Gauthier said. "I would love to do that, but sometimes we just don't have the staff to do that--to dedicate a person over there for that time period."

Gauthier says that when he saw Kolasa's post on Nextdoor, he spoke to his patrol staff to increase their presence on Timber Drive. Gauthier and Kolasa agree that a general lack of respect has led to the consistent speeding problem. 

"Look at our society right now. Read social media. There's a lack of respect for everything, and when it comes to a speed limit law that's there, it's posted and it's only as good as people are willing to listen to and abide by it," said Gauthier.

While many recognize that drivers on Timber Drive go over the limit, other streets in Rhinelander, like Stevens Street and Lincoln Street, see the same issue in residential neighborhoods. One thing most can agree on, though, is that drivers need to be more cognizant of the speed limits. Rhinelander city officials say that right now Timber Drive is in the engineering phase of a reconstruction project planned for next year. Part of the planning process is a public discussion to be announced at a later date as well a speed study to figure out the best course of action for the road.
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