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Neighbors fret over speeding on Forest Hill Avenue

RICHMOND, Va. -- Concerned neighbors have reached out to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers about speeding drivers they said are putting them in danger by using their neighborhood as a cut through.

“It's incredibly scary," said Noah Birkeland, who lives in the neighborhood.  "When I try and park my car when someone is speeding after me. There should absolutely be some sort of safety precaution here.”

Birkeland said drivers constantly use Forest Hill Avenue between Semmes Avenue and West Broad rock as a cut through to get to downtown.

“We don`t have many streets or stop signs and Semmes does have stop signs, so traffic will start to building up over there," he said. "So people will come here and just speed along like they were going on Semmes.”

His neighbor Linda Stewart was so concerned she created a sign to warn drivers.

“And I would stand out and hold it and say, "This is a 25 mph street!" Stewart said. "[I] feared for my life getting into my car."

Neighbors said that while there has been some progress over the years after they complained to city officials, not enough is being done to fix the problem.

Traffic on Forest Hill Avenue.

Traffic on Forest Hill Avenue.

According to Richmond police, there were 19 accidents from January of 2015 to Sept. 20 of this year on Forest Hill Avenue between Semmes Avenue and West Broad Rock.

  • There was one fatality at Forest Hill Avenue and West Broadrock.
  • 18 of the accidents resulted in summons for driving too close or not having the right of way.
  • The wrecks accounted for $53,000 worth of vehicle and property damage.

Parker Agelasto, who represents the 5th District, said extensive traffic studies have been completed on the area.

As a result, he said the city has reduced the speed limit on Semmes Avenue, increased the fines and changed the traffic pattern.

Agelasto also said that a portion of Forest Hill Avenue will continue to be a high priority for safety.

“It`s wonderful to try and get some positive change in this neighborhood. It is something I would be very happy to see,” Birkeland said.

“It`s got to boil down to the people respecting the neighborhoods,” Stewart added.

There’s a public meeting on Monday to support a project to provide funding to install new traffic signals and other pedestrian safety infrastructure improvements along U.S. Route 60 and streets surrounding Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, which includes Forest Hill and Semmes Avenue.

The project is part of a $640,000 funding grant through the Virginia Department of Transportation from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program.

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Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

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