Berlin Speed Trap Eating Up Citizens

Cara Dahl

Staff Writer

02/15/2007 BERLIN – Berlin will add speed limit signs on Seahawk Road to alert motorists to a speed reduction and help them avoid a speed trap.

Berlin citizen Gabe Purnell asked the Berlin Town Council to do something about a speed trap set up by the Maryland State Police at the Seahawk Road and Flower St. intersection because so many area residents were getting speeding tickets.

“I feel it’s an entrapment and a handicap on our citizens,” said Purnell.

Purnell said that more than 100 tickets were handed out last week to speeding motorists.

“That trooper has really put a hurting on a lot of folks,” he said. “The officer is there when the schools [are] out, this weekend for example. Saturday and Sunday he was there.”

The speed limit signs are difficult to see, according to Purnell, and motorists not familiar with the road will miss the sign, he said.

The speed limit along the entrances to Stephen Decatur High School and Stephen Decatur Middle School was reduced to 25 mph when the schools were annexed into Berlin’s town limits. The speed limit prior to the school zone is 40 mph.

Drivers entering the road from Route 50 must reduce speed from 55 mph to 25 mph immediately,

The school entranceways are difficult to make turns out of, said Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing.

The schools are used all seven days of the week, with churches using the buildings on Sundays.

Downing said he does not feel it would be the best use of the Berlin Police Department’s time to sit at that spot and wait for speeding motorists.

Council member Ellen Lang pointed out that the speed limit was changed several years back, not recently.

“There needs to be something in addition to the sign,” said Purnell.

He suggested posting the electronic speed indicator board along that stretch of road to remind motorists to watch their speed.

“We can’t put that speed indicator out there for a long period of time because everyone’s requested it, so it does have to rotate,” said Council member Elroy Brittingham.

He offered to have four signs put up, two on either side of the street, near the high school football field.

Purnell thought extra signs heading north, towards Route 50, would not be necessary.

The council voted unanimously to add two signs heading south on Seahawk Road. In the short term, the town will rotate the speed indicator sign to the spot as available.