Kennewick man has a message: Please slow down

By Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldApril 28, 2013 

The 14 bold black letters just feet from a speed sign on the inside of Jacob McChesney's fence serve as a warning to motorists that the father of two has had enough.

When two cars came speeding by McChesney's Kennewick home earlier this week as he mowed his grass with his 3-year-old son Gavin in tow, the 33-year-old reached a boiling point.

Fed up with drivers carelessly zipping by his house on South Rainier Street, McChesney went to his garage and picked up a can of black spray paint to write a simple message: "Please slow down."

"I could have went and got a poster board, but in the heat of the moment I was so irritated," he said. "I'd had enough."

Drivers speeding near McChesney's house, which is just off 10th Avenue, has become so bad that he said his family are restricted to hanging out in the backyard.

Drivers rarely obey the 25 mph speed limit on South Rainier and constantly use the street to beat lights at bigger intersections, he said.

McChesney said he has contacted the Kennewick Police Department about the speeding problem, and while the department has made some efforts to try and curtail it, he said, he feels police need to be doing more to ensure the safety of his family.

"I've called them so many times I've memorized the number," he said, rattling off the non-emergency dispatch number for the department.

"I don't want to say they're not doing their job. I guess they just haven't gotten around to me yet," he said.

Mike Blatman of the Kennewick Police Department said he has no record of McChesney filing a report, and said if McChesney has a problem with drivers speeding, he needs to directly contact the department.

McChesney once tried hanging Christmas lights around the speed limit sign, which sits almost in his front yard, but the city of Kennewick took the lights down and told him not to do it again.

Neighbor Shary Bellanti, who has lived next door to McChesney's house for 15 years, said cars are constantly speeding down the street with no regard for people's safety.

"They come whipping down here like crazy," she said. "We don't dare let the dogs out."

Another neighbor, 60-year-old Dwight Luddington, has lived on South Rainier for more than 20 years and said he barely notices any problems with speeding.

"You're not going to get people to go 20 (mph)," he said. "It ain't that bad."

McChesney said all he wants is for police to beef up patrols around the street at least once a month and to put a radar trailer near his home.

He said drivers appear to be heeding the message on his makeshift sign, though he is painting over it soon, at the demand of his fiancee.

"It's God-awful," he said of the sign. "But it seems to be working."

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