Speed bumps, soccer balls bounce in Edwards
The Berry Creek recreation fields have been a hit with soccer players, but they have also caused some safety problems. Balls occasionally bounce into adjacent Miller Ranch Road, chased by children and adults into the path of traffic.
“You’re talking about 9-year-olds who run on an impulse after the ball,” said Tim LyBarger, a parent of three children who play soccer at the Berry Creek.
On a recent visit to the fields, soccer balls bounced into the road 15 times in less than 20 minutes, Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad said.
“We went to the site after we heard complaints from residents. Some drivers are going between 50 and 55 mph,” Ingstad said. “We were concerned there would be a conflict between a soccer player and a driver.”
The speed limit on the road is 30 mph.
In an effort keep soccer players and cars apart, the county has installed three temporary speed bumps on Miller Ranch Road along with signs prohibiting any parking along the road. The speed bumps will be removed when a safety net is installed between the fields and the road to keep balls from bouncing into the street.
“Anything you can do to make it safer for the kids,” said Joel Rabinowitz, a soccer coach. “Cars were driving too fast. The nets are a good idea, they will keep 90 percent of the balls off the road.”
Ingstad said he expects to have the nets – which can be removed when games aren’t played – up this week.
“Once the speed bumps are removed, we would ask drivers to return to the posted speed limit,” Ingstad said. “And to continue not parking on the sides of the roads, but use the overflow parking areas.”
The problem started early in March when more people began parking their cars along both sides of Miller Ranch Road, Ingstad said, and soccer balls and soccer players began bounding into the road. But the speed bumps, which are so steep many drivers come to a complete stop before driving over them, have made many motorists unhappy.
“I understand why people are upset about speed bumps,” said Ingstad, who has received several calls complaining about the devices. “But we had to make a decision on how to protect the children, who by instinct run after the ball.”
The county is also in the process of expanding the existing parking lot to include about 200 additional spaces. The area to the west and south of the current lot will be used for additional parking, Ingstad said.
“The use of the fields have exceeded our expectations,” Ingstad said. “And we expect even more use of the amenities at Berry Creek as the pond comes on line this summer.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.