By MIKE MORRIS
Complaints of traffic and speeding echo from coffee to clothing shops in historic downtown Angels Camp.
"It's supposed to be 25 (mph), not 50. That guy went by way too fast," Angels Camp City Councilman Paul Raggio says, pointing out the window at Sue's Angels Creek Cafe to a Main Street driver.
On the south end of the street, Karla Yeager, owner of Orphan Annie's Emporium, points to a big rig out her antique shop's window.
"Look at him. He's easily going 40, 45."
On the other end of Main Street, Lisa Reynolds, executive director for the Calaveras Visitors Bureau, sums it up in a sentence: "Traffic in downtown is a problem."
Angels Camp Police Chief Tony Tacheira said anytime a state highway, which in this case is Highway 49, narrows to a 25-mph zone, there'll be complications.
"Angels has historically had a traffic problem," Tacheira says.
And he says there's no simple fix.
Typically, just one police officer patrols the entire five-square-mile city. Duties include responding to emergency calls and staking out other areas in town prone to speeders, like Bret Harte Union High School and Dogtown Road.
Tacheira says lately, because of speeding complaints, an officer has patrolled the area surrounding Mark Twain Union Elementary School in the mornings.
"For the person who can find a cure-all for traffic in Mother Lode country ... he would be a millionaire," Tacheira says.
Angels police often set up a sign in downtown that flashes the speed as cars drive by, he says. However, the 5-year-old sign is broken and is undergoing repairs.
"It helps those people who are unaware that they are speeding to slow down," Tacheira says of the sign.
Back on Main Street, some say signs might not be good enough.
"We've seen more than our fair share of accidents out there," Reynolds says of Main Street.
Her co-worker, Ginger Malatesta, a tourism coordinator for the Visitors Bureau, adds: "There's been accidents, but then there's been a lot of really close calls."