Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Can We Get A Speed Hump?

One of the most controversial matters a city can try to resolve is the speeding of traffic through residential neighborhoods. The problem partially is that our studies show that most of the speeders are our own neighbors. These same people have been resistant to fixing the problem and slowing the traffic down. The speeding has created a dangerous situation, putting children and adults in harms way.

To address this problem, the City Commission worked with neighborhoods, to try and come up with answers. The first proposal was for road closures, which was not well received. After some discussion, it was proposed to increase police traffic enforcement. After a 4 month trial, it was clear that it was having little impact on solving the problem, though thousands of tickets were written. Additionally, it committed a significant amount of resources that were needed for other criminal activity.

The next proposal was speed humps. These devices are about 14' long, and about 2-3 inches high. Though initially being met with some hesitation, they were accepted to try temporarily by the vast majority of interested participants. Now that they have been installed in several areas, though an inconvenience to drivers, they do work, and have been very successful as a necessarily evil to slow traffic down.

Speed humps are not perfect, and still people have found ways to speed, or by-pass the humps. However, there has been an noticeable improvement within the community, and these areas are now safer. This success have made the humps very popular, and is one of the most often requested items from residents. So new issues came up on addressing these requests.

The problem primarily focused on where future speed humps may go, and who would decide this. The Commission wanted to fair and supportive of its residents when requested to install them. However, they did not want to install them without significant support from those living in the area where they were to be placed. Therefore, a procedure was developed for requesting them.

First, an area wanting speed humps must put together a petition from the neighbors, specifying their support and location of the humps. The petition is to be submitted to the city for review to determine if the humps can be installed and whether or not they would be effective. If the review recommends installation, then it is submitted to the Commission for approval.

The City Commission has been very supportive of this procedure to make sure that local desires are carried through. When using this approach, we have found that the speed humps have been readily accepted, though we have noted that there are those that still are not in favor of the humps. This balanced approach is most effective way we have found in addressing a dangerous problem.

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