CLEVELAND — Lisa Banks of Cleveland lives in the Cleveland Police Department's Fourth District. She said chronic traffic violators have her and her neighbors living in fear and they're demanding a greater police presence.
Banks lives near the Harvard Community Center and said drivers and motorcycle riders are constantly speeding, running red lights and driving recklessly.
“I have to wait until three, to four, to five cars, they may go through the red light," Banks said. “Motorcycles going down Harvard Avenue, going through red lights, even down on the side streets. These motorcycles, they just don’t even seem to care that residents even live on the street.”
Banks said its gotten so bad she's resorted to taking detours to avoid the chaos.
“I literally have to drive my car from 83 Street and Harvard to the Harvard Community Center because I don’t feel safe crossing the street. My God, at some given point something is going to happen if there’s not enough police visibility,” Banks said.
Banks said she attended a June 29 Cleveland Safety Summit on the growing traffic safety issues and said she and other residents were told there are only two traffic zone cars patrolling the entire Fourth District at any given time.
Terry's North Coast Auto technician Anthony Bartholomew said witnessing reckless driving is nothing new.
Last week, surveillance cameras record a stolen vehicle plowing into a utility pole in front of the repair shop. Bartholomew was nearly hit by the car after it veered left of center on St. Clair Avenue.
“They get their license and it’s like the rules of the road no longer apply to them," Bartholomew said. “I heard the impact and I thought man this is it; this is going to be it for me.”
Bartholomew said it was fourth time a crash of this type occurred in front of the shop in the past year.
“Drive safe, it’s better that way, it keeps lives in the streets, everyone wants to live the next day to see another day,” Bartholomew said.
Ward 1 Cleveland Councilman Joe Jones said it's crucial the city increase the number of officers patrolling the streets as soon as possible.
“I’ve never seen anything like it since I’ve been in the city of Cleveland," Jones said. “We must set the tone like other cities, like Beachwood and Shaker Heights. When you go into those neighborhoods you don’t speed. Can we pull more people out of the desk jobs and into the streets? Because we are at a place of danger right now.”
Jones will be hosting another community meeting on the city traffic safety issue at the Harvard Community Center on July 22, from 6 to 8 p.m..
The councilman said city leaders will be taking public input on how federal pandemic relief funds can be used to address the growing problem.