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Sound Off on Sarnoff: Lakeside Park residents report close calls with reckless, speeding drivers

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 11:24 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Residents in a southeast neighborhood say it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed, as vehicles continue to slam into fences and barriers.

KOLD News 13 has been following the close calls on Sarnoff Drive near Golf Links Road. Homeowners say the situation is only getting worse. Some have taken proactive steps to protect themselves, but Lakeside Park residents are urging the City of Tucson to step in.

“Yeah, you can see the marks still,” said Christopher Avent, as he pointed to scuff marks on his neighbor’s vehicle and tire tracks leading to his property.

Avent is still shaken. Three days ago, a boulder was all that came between his family and two vehicles barreling towards them. Avent says his wife and two young boys were in the front yard putting up Easter decorations when a southbound SUV rear-ended a car on Sarnoff Drive, pushing it in the direction of their property.

“My wife called me urgently screaming, saying someone almost took out our fence and almost killed our kids,” said Avent. “It was just a scary moment. Start calling me out of the blue, screaming, I had to calm her down. That someone could have killed my wife and kids before I even got home [from work] that day was mind-blowing.”

In Nov. 2020, a pickup truck ran into their fence. That’s why Avent had several large boulders placed around the front of their property.

“It’s really dangerous for people who live on Sarnoff. We are just sick and tired of it. It’s been 15 times that we have had incidents like this,” he said. “No one has died yet. But, you know, how many more will toll up until someone does?”

Sarnoff Drive, between Golf Links Road and Stella Road, is a 25 mile per hour zone. Speed limit signs are posted near those two intersections, but there is no signage along the main stretch of road by Lakeside Park.

“Nobody does 25 around this area,” said David Mason, who visits the park often. “If I slow down to that speed, I’ve got people honking, practically rear-ending me.”

Mason says people also drive double the speed limit on Stella Road.

The Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) recently put up a ‘Playground’ sign at the corner of Stella and Sarnoff, but Marianne Marts says it’s not enough.

“Whether we do rumble strips, we get a speed limit flashing sign, whatever - crosswalk, which I love that idea - something visual to remind people this is about your kids,” she said.

Marts says Lakeside Park is popular and often packed on the weekends. There’s also an elementary school nearby.

The Marts were first to put boulders around their home after several incidents, including a car breaking through their fence at a reported speed of 70 miles per hour.

“It always felt like until something really drastic happens, [Tucson] won’t do anything,” she said.

TDOT says it follows the Federal Highway Administration guidelines when putting up traffic signs. A spokesperson said a neighborhood can get a speed hump installed by following these steps:

  • A neighborhood or an association representative fills out the Speed Hump Request Form.
  • A petition form and highlighted neighborhood map will be sent to the mailing address provided.
  • Petitions require 60% approval signatures from neighbors on abutting streets.
  • The petition is then scanned and emailed to neighborhoodtraffic@tucsonaz.gov or taken to 201 N Stone Avenue (5th Floor).
  • DTM will conduct a study on approved applicants.
  • If the street is approved for construction, the neighborhood will be notified. If it’s denied, an explanatory email will be provided.
  • Approved applicants will receive an email with a payment link. Residents must pay approximately $5,000 per speed hump.
  • Once the payment has been received, a date for construction will be set.

The TDOT spokesperson also said speeding is an enforcement issue. We reached out to the Tucson Police Department, which is looking into our request, to see if more patrols will be added.

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