Road Runner: Tucson man hopes life-size motorcycle cop cutout to slow speeders

For decades, Roger Rosecrans has been in a losing battle to make his neighborhood street safe, watching drivers attempt highway speeds past the nearby Río Vista Elementary School to shave a few minutes off their commutes.

He says his complaints have fallen on deaf ears as the number of accidents climbs. Racing motorists on East Limberlost Drive through the Campus Farm Neighborhood took out a utility pole late last year, causing a small fire near the University of Arizona agricultural campus off North Campbell Avenue, he says.

The leadfoots have caused six major accidents, killed several dogs in hit-and-run accidents and caused property damage, he says.

“There is nothing like a howling, screaming dog going into shock to get your attention,” Rosecrans said.

While we as a community can wrestle with the question of how much we are willing to spend to make our streets safer, Rosencrans already has a number — more than $2,800.

Earlier this year, Rosecrans split the cost with the city of Tucson to install a type of speed bump on a section of Limberlost.

It has worked to persuade drivers to lay off the gas on his block, but he says it is only about 95 percent effective.

“Once in a while I get a piece of their (car) that they’ve left behind,” he said.

So Rosecrans is planning on spending even more in an earnest attempt to make his street safe.

He wants to install a life-sized photo cutout of a uniformed motorcycle officer pointing a radar gun to try and get motorists, including UA students, he says, to slow down.

“It is for the knuckleheads that just don’t get it,” Rosecrans said last week.

He isn’t just guessing about the speed of the cars and trucks racing down the street. He has a radar gun he uses on weekends.

One time it recorded a car driving westbound on Limberlost at 58 mph, he said. “And he was accelerating,” Rosecrans said. “I’ve seen them going faster than that.”

The posted speed limit in the Campus Farm Neighborhood is 30 mph.

Rosencrans is optimistic that he will be able to track down a high-resolution photograph of a motorcycle officer holding a radar gun in the coming weeks so a local shop can fabricate his life-sized cutout.

While Rosecrans is taking the matter into his own hands, police agencies are using even more realistic displays.

The Tucson Police Department deployed real-life mannequins dressed as police officers on the city’s south side.

The city has used parked patrol cars with handwritten messages on the windshields to get the attention of passing motorists, and recently upped its game by bringing in dummies.

The city of South Tucson has also recently used the tactic of parking empty patrol cars on South Sixth Avenue to slow traffic.

Down the road
  • Crews with the Pima County of Transportation will begin the roadway widening project on Valencia Road between Wade Road and the Ajo Highway starting on Tuesday.

Drivers should expect minor delays as crews begin widening Valencia Road from two lanes to four, with raised medians and paved shoulders suitable for bikes. The project is to be complete in the summer of 2020.

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