The efforts of one Point Comfort resident — who has been willing to go to extremes for over a month to draw attention to speeding in his Hilton Head Island neighborhood — may be gaining some traction.
For more than a month, Logan Cambron has patrolled Point Comfort Road in a chicken suit, pointing a radar gun at passing cars and holding up a sign that says "slow the cluck down" when he clocks them going faster than the 30 mph speed limit. The highest speed he has registered was 44 mph.
More recently, he said, publicity surrounding his efforts — and his capture and release of an alligator on Palmetto Bay Road last month — landed him a mention in the lightning round of the May 19 edition of the National Public Radio quiz show, "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!"
He said he also briefly started blocking the road with a paper sign on a string that said "slow down." He would pull the string to raise the sign across the road in front of speeders, lowering it when they slowed down. Eventually, one driver stopped to argue with him and then called the police. Deputies showed up and issued him a warning.
"I have quit doing it since they told me not to," he said of the sign on the string.
He also put up signs on the road next to his house imploring drivers to slow down. One read "caution chicken crossing," and the other said, "drive as if your kids were playing on this street." Those signs were later removed by a state DOT crew because they too closely resembled official road signs.
"The speeding actually got worse when they took them down," Cambron said.
Darrin Shoemaker, Hilton Head's traffic and transportation engineer, confirmed on Tuesday that the state has the ultimate authority on speed limits on Point Comfort Road and says that 30 mph is the standard speed for residential areas in South Carolina.
Regarding Cambron's now removed signs, Shoemaker said he was the one who informed the DOT about them.
"I made the state aware there were unauthorized signs down there." He said he wouldn't have made an issue over them except for their resemblance to official traffic signs.
He says that as a fellow Point Comfort area resident, he sympathizes with Cambron and others who want a safe neighborhood.
"I admire his proactiveness," Shoemaker said, adding that he has worked to assist Point Comfort residents with traffic issues since the 1990s. He said the town helped address one issue — people taking a wrong turn down Point Comfort Road in search of the attractions at nearby Palmetto Bay Marina —by putting up signs on Palmetto Bay Road that point drivers in the right direction .
Cambron said that his saga began — and took on its fowl theme — when one of his chickens got out of its enclosure and tried to cross the road. It was injured and left for dead by a passing car that didn't stop, and it took the bird more than a month to recover.
The incident launched Cambron on a project to get the speed limit lowered, which, he says, is more about protecting the children in his neighborhood than his pets. He said he and many of his neighbors would like to see it lowered to 20 mph and that a petition circulated around the neighborhood asking for just that has garnered at least 100 signatures.
But, he said, his calls to the state Department of Transportation, which owns and maintains the road, and to the Town of Hilton Head Island have yielded no results.
Shoemaker said he looks forward to working with neighborhood residents and the state DOT to address those concerns and that Point Comfort Road will be "on the agenda" when he meets with officials from the South Carolina Department of Transportation during a regular quarterly meeting on Wednesday.
He isn't aware of any impending changes to the speed limit on the road, but he thinks the state will be willing to study the issue.
"I would like to see the issue resolved."
"That sounds very bureaucratic," was Cambron's response on Tuesday. For him, the only acceptable resolution is the lowering of the speed limit to 20 mph.
"What is the worst case scenario of lowering the speed limit?" he asked.
He plans to keep at it.
"I'm not quitting until I'm done."
Jay Karr: 843-706-8150