Residents concerned about speed

Published 12:12 am Thursday, July 23, 2015

NATCHEZ — Donnell Newsome doesn’t live on a racecar track.

But he said he might as well, because he hears cars zoom by his St. Catherine Street house at all hours of the day and night.

“This is supposed to be the entrance into Natchez,” Newsome, 68, said of St. Catherine Street. “But people race up and down here all the time. It’s dangerous.”

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The speed limit on St. Catherine Street where Newsome lives — at the corner of St. Catherine and Monmouth streets — is 35 mph.

However, further up the street, where D’Evereux Drive becomes St. Catherine Street, the speed limit is 45 mph.

Newsome said if drivers have a green light at the Liberty Road-St. Catherine Street intersection, most continue on with their 45 mph speed.

“Sometimes they’ll be doing 50 or 60 mph,” he said.

Newsome has lived on St. Catherine Street for several decades and said he’s seen speeding slowly escalate on the street throughout the years.

However, it wasn’t until recently that the speeding began to pose a threat to his safety.

On June 29, Newsome said he heard a loud “boom.”

When he walked outside, he found a Lincoln town car had crashed through his hand-made rod iron fence.

The driver was speeding.

“She had no insurance either,” Newsome said. “We have to spend money now to fix that fence.”

Newsome brought his concerns before the last Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting to try and get city officials to act on the speeding problem on St. Catherine Street.

Ward 4 Alderman Tony Fields said this is something the city should address quickly.

“With all those things we will be doing with the St. Catherine Street (trails project) and renovating Brumfield (school), this is something we need to address,” Fields said. “It would benefit all the residents who live there.”

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown responded to Newsome’s concerns and said, “The city is not asleep on this issue. “

Brown said he and Traffic Department Director Justin Dollar were dealing with the issue.

“Our speed meter is down at the time, but we’re working on repairing it,” Dollar said.

Once the meter is repaired, Dollar said the traffic department would conduct a study using the meter’s findings to determine how many people have been speeding on the street and at what speed they were driving.

Dollar said no other streets in Natchez are currently being monitored using a speed meter.

Natchez Chief of Police Danny White said he is also aware of the issue and plans to have several police officers patrol the residential area of St. Catherine Street for speeding.

“It’s a residential area and people need to recognize that when they drive through there, they need to slow down,” Newsome said.