Retired couple urges NW CR to "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here"


    "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here" signs line the 200 block of Wiley Boulevard NW in Cedar Rapids, thanks to a retired couple hoping to get drivers to slow down through the neighborhood.

    Addy Ireland is like a lot of six-year-old kids: she loves the snow.

    During an afternoon after school in mid-January, she runs around her northwest Cedar Rapids backyard making snow angels and trying out at least three different types of sleds - using one to ram into an unsuspecting cameraman in the process.

    It's all fun for her - but it's part of business for her mother, Sara. The Ireland family has lived in their home on in the 200 block of Wiley Boulevard NW for five years - with Sara running a in-home daycare.

    There's one rule about their playtime outside: the front yard is off-limits.

    "I will never let them play out there," Sara says, "because of the road."

    The Irelands' house sits along a well-known stretch on that side of Cedar Rapids - right in between a large hill coming down from E Avenue to the north, through the neighborhood, and up another hill to the south towards Hoover Elementary School on Johnson Avenue.

    "There's a lot of traffic right before school starts," Sara says. "Then when work gets done, there's always so much traffic. People fly down the street."

    Terry Smith doesn't understand the need to speed.

    "All you have to do is take a few minutes and go the speed limit," she says.

    Smith and her husband Bill are retired - and have been living in a house across the street from the Irelands' since 2000.

    She credits her grandson for shedding the brightest light on the treacherous traffic troubles.

    "Charlie'd go, 'No, no, no - you're going too fast,' she recalls. "That's pretty brave for a three-year-old to be saying that."

    The Smiths are using their grandson's brave comments to break out the cash - spending $400 of their own money on signs from Drive Like Your Kids Live Here, a Connecticut-based company working to keep streets safe across the country.

    "(Bill) went from door-to-door and got to meet all the neighbors and asked them if he could put a sign in their yard," Terry says. "We didn't ask for nothing."

    "He knew that I did a daycare," Sara recalls, "and so he had gotten me one of the those really nice expensive signs to put out in front of my yard."

    That was Summer 2018. Since then, some of the signs have been swiped.

    "My husband bought 20 signs," Terry says, "and he went up and down the road one day and counted six left."

    Despite the thievery, the signs are creating a conversation.

    "I know moms from school always drive on this street and they will make the comment, 'Oh, I saw all those signs!'" Sara says. "I'm like, 'Yeah, my neighbor started that.'"

    "It meant a lot to me that he's looking out for everyone on this street and wants all of us to be safe."

    And for the Smiths, that safety starts with slowing down.

    "Just take your time," Terry says. There's no big rush."

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