Speeding drivers and community complaints force changes in Belle Plaine

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BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (KAKE) -

The town of Belle Plaine is changing their speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph in residential neighborhoods due to community complaints about speeding drivers.

One resident in the town said it's a "nerve wracking feeling" when his two young daughters play in the front yard because he never knows what is going to happen.

"Just going to have to sit out here on the porch," said Brandon Hatfield. "I never let them play out here by themselves."

The speed limit in neighborhoods right now is 30 mph. He said vehicles exceeded that speed, and he said he's witnessed them have to slam on their brakes in front of his home because they were going too fast.

He said him and his wife have contacted the police. However, he said they got the same answer every time.

"All they would tell us is the speed limit's 30 so there's nothing we can really do," he said.

He said they decided to take it into their own hands by creating a sign for drivers to see that has the words "slow" on it. Sometimes, he said they will put it in certain spots that force drivers to slow down.

"We'll put it out here in the middle of the road and people actually have to slow down to actually go around," said Hatfield.

The town police chief said he has heard complaints from people with, and without, children since he started working there full time, which was 14 years ago. So he said he went to the city council and the mayor to get it changed.

"I felt like 30 was too fast," said Bill Berry. "Especially when you have vehicles parked on the sides of the streets, you know, kind of hiding the kids a little bit."

He said they took his side, but the change doesn't take place until April. Since the change is going to be quick, he said he is going to give people time to adjust since this "isn't about writing tickets".

"It's more about compliance so, I'm extending a 90 day period that we're going to write warnings for folks that are speeding," said Berry.

He said it will also help keep loose animals from getting hit in the streets, but he said the main reason is to keep children safe in the neighborhoods.

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