Slow down Youngstown

By Samantha Smith

Traffic cameras will be placed around Youngstown to combat speeding near schools. The reason — as stated in a pamphlet by the Youngstown Police Department — is to ensure the safety of students from people driving by.

The list of schools where traffic cameras will be placed are Chaney High School, Kirkmere Elementary School, Rayen Early College Middle School, St. Christine School, Volney Rogers Elementary School, East High School, Woodrow Wilson, Stambaugh Charter and Valley Christian.

Warnings issued by the traffic cameras began Jan. 17. Violations and enforcement from the cameras will begin Feb. 17. During these reduced speed times, the driver will be cited at 6 mph and over the speed limit. Outside of the reduced times, the person will be cited at 11 mph and over the speed limit.

Mike Pecchia, president of Valley Christian Schools, said the cameras will provide safety for students who go to those schools. 

“We have so many kids hanging around, especially during the dismissal and arrival. [A] lot of traffic. So, I think from a safety standpoint, it helps a lot,” Pecchia said. “People don’t pay attention to signs all the time, especially school zones. It’s really important when you go by school zones to go slow … kids are crossing the streets, cars are pulling in and out, so safety is a big issue.”

Pecchia also said the traffic cameras have changed his driving habits and will force others to change their driving habits as well.

“I can speak personally, yes, those things have changed my driving habits. I believe those do work and I believe people will change their driving habits because of it,” Pecchia said. 

Wade Warner, dean of students at Kirkmere Elementary School, said the safety of students is a top priority for Kirkmere, and that drivers are starting to slow down. 

“It’s good. Safety, we always talk about in the building, the number one priority for us is the safety of our students,” Warner said. “I noticed how much slower cars were going [by the school].”

Pecchia said if people don’t follow the speed limit, they will have to pay the price.

“Get ready to pay fines,” Pecchia said. “I think most people — I think for 90% or higher — will slow down knowing that their cars are going to be ticketed.”

Violations can range from $100 to $150, depending on the speed the person was cited at. To pay for any violations, visit the violation payment website.