Ledger Inquirer

Inquirer: Speeders in your area? Well, there’s good news and bad

Speed tables like this one on Wilder Drive can cause speeders to go speed elsewhere.
Speed tables like this one on Wilder Drive can cause speeders to go speed elsewhere. mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

Some streets, they say, are paved with good intentions. But we all know where those go.

Sometimes those good intentions come in the form of speed tables, those annoying but useful oversized speed bumps cities install to slow down speeders. For example, over on the south side, just off of Buena Vista Road, the city installed a few of them on a stretch of Wilder Drive, which apparently had a speeding problem.

That’s good news for the folk on Wilder, who might have been tired of seeing cars racing down the long hill.

But now, a Concerned Reader tell us, the speeders have just switched over to Vista Drive, which runs parallel to Wilder a block to the east and are now speeding up and down that street instead. She wants to know how one goes about getting the city to put in speed tables on her street.

Well, I’ve got good news and bad. The good news is that I found out how one gets speed tables installed.

The city used to set up speed counters on a road and analyze whether tables were necessary, if they’d had complaints from residents.

But now they use a petition process, in which if someone complains about speeders on their road, they send out a Neighborhood Traffic Calming Petition package, which includes a petition and a drawing showing all of the affected lots on the street. The NTC representative then has to get at least 20 percent of those affected to sign the petition.

Then the city will perform the speed analysis to see if a traffic calming devise, such as speed tables, are needed.

In addition to speed tables, the city can employ chokers, chicanes, diverters or roundabouts.

Then a public hearing is held to discuss whichever approach the city traffic engineers have chosen and to obtain signatures of 65 percent of affected property owners to proceed.

Then if they’re installed, six months later the city will conduct another speed study to determine whether they’re being effective.

And they aren’t cheap. At about $7,500 apiece, putting four of them on a stretch of road costs $30,000, not including the cost of installation.

So, that’s how it’s done. Or, more accurately, how it used to be done and may in fact be done again some day.

Did I mention bad news earlier? Well, the city’s head traffic engineer left to take a better paying job somewhere else, so the whole speed table program has been suspended until the city can fill the position, according to Director of Engineering Donna Newman.

So for now, Vista Drive friends, hunker down and wait (carefully).

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-471-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.