Increase Safety and Reduce Crime in Forest Hills
To the Mayor and Council Board Members, City of Columbia We, the undersigned residents of the Forest Hills Neighborhood, strongly favor those measures that increase safety and order, and reduce crime in our neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. We believe that the following measures, all of which have been discussed extensively with members of City Council, help to achieve these goals. Those of us who have signed our names to this petition are looking to City Council to implement these measures, preferably within the next six months. These measures are: 1. Implementation of the Gervais Street Beautification Project. This project involves the installation of center medians along Gervais from Millwood to Trenholm and will serve both to beautify and control traffic through Forest Hills and the Lyons Street neighborhoods. This project was promised for fall 2003 but has been put on hold. It is time to move forward to implement this project. 2. Substantially reduce the cross through traffic in the Forest Hills Neighborhood by use of speed humps, lane constrictions, and closure of Strafford/Manning and Westminster/Forest Drive entrances. These measures will serve to reduce non-resident traffic and will reduce the vulnerability of the northwest corner of the neighborhood to crimes of opportunity that have historically targeted this area. 3. Manning Street Development. Since traffic must be provided a pathway between Gervais Street and Forest Drive, we propose that Manning St., a natural corridor because it is straight and is bordered by a power line, be widened and designated as the cross-through street. By promoting Manning as the cross-through street, pressure of traffic on the Lyons and Forest Hills neighborhoods will be reduced. Appropriate measures should be taken to protect the residents on both sides from this cross traffic (i.e., green-space buffers, sidewalks, walls, etc.). 4. Better street lighting. We would like a plan developed and implemented to install historically appropriate lighting along the streets of Forest Hills at a density that makes the neighborhood safer at night than the current level. This measure has been suggested by several members of City Council, City Management and the Columbia Police Department for several years. 5. Eliminate sale of alcohol at Forest Drive Market. The sale and on-site consumption of alcohol at this market is a public nuisance because it contributes to noise, litter, rowdiness, and public intoxication in the vicinity of the neighborhood, and presents a danger to those consuming alcohol because the market is so close to Forest Drive. Furthermore, there have been at least two shooting incidents associated with the market. 6. Aggressively Pursue Strategic Solutions to In-Town Safety and Crime Reduction. The foregoing five measures would make Forest Hills a safer, more crime-free neighborhood, and, indeed, would benefit some of the surrounding neighborhoods as well. However, a strategic solution to these problems in this part of Columbia could be a benefit to all the in-town neighborhoods. City Counsel should aggressively implement strategic solutions such as that offered by ECCCI for the redevelopment of the Gonzalez Gardens housing project. If you agree with these recommendations, please add your signature to this petition and tell your neighbors to join you in signing.