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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

West Southgate Getting Speed Bumps, Who's Gonna Pay?

The City Council is moving forward with the installation of four speed bumps on West Southgate Avenue, after some residents on the street complained of constant speeding.

The council, after several months of speed surveys conducted by a city engineer, approved the measure, which then needed approval of 2/3 of the residents on the street to begin construction.

Resident Melanie Etheridge, who had been working with the council for several months to find a solution for the speeding, spearheaded the signature gathering. She got about 80% of the street to sign off on the petition. "I figured since I was well above the 67 percent, I could stop there," Etheridge said.

An appeal was filed by one resident who did not want the speed bumps installed, but was dismissed by the council because it was filed for personal reasons.

While I applaud the residents of West Southgate for looking out for the best interests of their families, I have to wonder if the council is simply oiling the squeaky wheel here.

A drive down West Southgate is different from most streets in Fort Thomas. The speed limit there is 20 MPH and 15 MPH from Memorial Parkway to the first stop sign. There is also a kid size yellow mannequin on the side of the road fully equipped with a red hat and flag, which reminds anyone who hasn't figured it out, that the neighbors on that street do not want you to speed.

It would be one thing if these residents had some skin in the game financially when they signed the petition to pony up for their cause, but this project is going to be done by city staff using money from the city's general fund.

Look, I'm all for safety of the kids on the street. But I wonder how many streets the council would approve speed bumps for if each had a few squeaky wheels on their streets.

I lived on a dead end street growing up. Obviously, our neighbors have little issues there with speeding. When I moved back and rented for a few months, I lived on Lumley and even though it was partially a dead end street, there were plenty of speeders. Currently, I live on one the most trafficked roads in the city. The main reason why I tell you this is that a similar thread can be applied to every street, from a low traffic cul de sac, to the corner of Highland Ave. and Fort Thomas Ave.

People speed.

I can think of at least three solutions that wouldn't cost a thing.

1) No parking on the streets.
2) Enforce police radar more frequently.
3) Don't let your kids play in the front yard.

I'm not sure how much these speed bumps will cost. They may be very inexpensive for all I know. I just know that it seems like common sense could fix this issue. Not more tax dollars.


  1. 1) no parking on the streets

    I'm not incredibly familiar with the situation of the street in question, but this has a cost. For those with without or small/limited driveway space, it's not going to help their home values. Parking: NONE.

    Removing on street parking from older, established neighborhoods is rarely a good solution. I'd take speed bumps over that anytime.

  2. When a family buys a house, it is their responisbility to do research on the house, community, and street. These people on Southgate should realize that it is a thru street and always has been. If they don't like it, they should have moved on a dead end street. I live on N Ft Thomas Ave. I am not going to ask city council to install speed bumps to slow traffic down. It was understood when I purchased my home that I was on a high traffic street. Once again, it seems like nobody takes responisibility for their own actions and try and pawn their problems off on somebody else.

  3. I too live on a very high traffic road in Ft. Thomas. We have a major problem with speeding. After numerous complaints to the police all we got was the thing that tells you how fast you are going. People just ignored it. If an officer happened to sit on the street it was often around 8AM, when neighbors were taking kids to school, not at 7:30 when people were rushing off to work. I don't let my kids play in the front yard, but we do have to cross the street to get to our parked car. Speeding is dangerous for everyone, kids and adults alike. I applaud the residents on W. Southgate, and I'm betting if they had to pay for the speed humps to keep their kids safe they would. I know I would.

  4. Living on a high traffic street, or any street, doesn't mean we should have to put up with people who break the law and endanger our lives. The people on W. Southgate are taking responsibility. They are doing the only thing they know how to stop the people breaking the law.

  5. I used to live on Klainecrest, which is like the airport runway to S Ft Thomas Ave and Grand Ave. One of our neighbors tried for years to get speed bumps and the city said they did not like them because it makes plowing difficult in the winter. We got a lower speed limit but that never really solved the problem.

  6. As a resident of West Southgate I can assure you that this is not a "squeaky wheel" issue. I have lived here for 12 years, since our oldest was still learning to walk. The speeding issue has always been a problem that was discussed among neighbors. The speed limit was dropped to 20 thanks to some other "squeaky wheels" about 5 years ago. The problem did not improve. I invite anyone to sit on my porch and watch the people fly up and down our "cut through" street. I assure you if the people using our street obeyed the law we would not have to beg the city to help us. I believe the residents on this street do not speed. Unfortunately, the people did not stop speeding. Speed humps are a last resort. Our property value may even decrease because of them, but it is a small sacrifice, if it means saving a life. Frankly, I am disgusted and hurt that people say that parents should "watch their children" or "don't let them play in the front yard", or "you knew what you were getting yourself into when you bought your house". We are not a bunch of ignorant bad parents trying to sponge off of the city because we are too lazy to watch over our children. We are a community who cares about our families and each other. We want our street to be safe. I don't think that that is asking too much.

    Also, the safety of our neighbors is paramount, but for the record, our car, which was parked on the street, was twice hit and had the mirror ripped off. The loss of personal property is a reason as well.

  7. I have lived in Fort Thomas my whole life and grew up in a house on N Ft Thomas Ave very near West Southgate and have driven up and down the street almost daily.
    As a child I played with friends on W. Southgate and I can assure you that people were speeding then and are still speeding now. I get it, its an issue.
    But I will say, I have driven up/down the street multiple times and had to stop because children were playing ball standing on opposite sides of the street from one another, tossing the football across the street while cars are coming. If this was happening on the ave, people would be annoyed with the residents, not the cars/drivers that are going too fast. Its just a fact. I have also had encounters with residents parked illegally on the wrong side of the street and walking out from between parked cars. All things that we teach our children not to do, and things that may make even the most diligent and safety conscious driver have to break hard in order to stop while going the posted speed limit.
    Let's be serious. Although the residents may want to convince themselves that it is sleepy cul-de-sac that their children can play safely in, it is just not so. It is a busy through street and in my lifetime, it always has been.
    Living on the ave, I watch people speed by my house daily and the reality is that living in that house on that road was a choice made by my parents and with that came the reality that their children may have to go to the park or the playground to play ball or socialize outside with their friends. And often times, that park happened to be the one at the end of W Southgate-- which happens to be about 100 yards from where these children are playing in their front yards and tossing ball across the street.

    As for cars being hit and rear view mirrors being knocked off, I would venture to guess that W. Southgate is not the only place where those things are happening. I would also go so far as to hypothesize that damage to cars can happen at speeds much less than the posted speed limit. If you need a driveway, choose a house with one.

    I absolutely understand the need for safety and keeping kids safe. No dispute there. But 20 years ago, there were children on that street that had the same needs to play outside have fun, and the need to do so safely. What there was not, however, was a need/desire to pass the buck to our city government to make large changes and spend lots of money. We seem to have lost the idea of accountability somewhere.

  8. One point that no one has brought up in either the article or the comments is the proximity to Johnson Elementary. In my experience, the time of day W Southgate gets the most speeders is in the morning, just after kids are dropped off for school. My guess is that mom or dad zips down the street to Memorial in order to get to work on time. That's the same time kids are walking to school and parents are getting in their cars to go to work themselves. I see the same thing on Hartweg. Unless you want to pay for a police presence every school morning, I think speed bumps are the only solution.

    Dixie Placer

  9. I would venture to say that Mark Collier is a lonely man that is a pot-stirrer with no heart, but definitely has more than a few dollar bills in his pocket. There ARE caring people in this world that feel as if a few dollars to save a life is well worth the sacrifice. Let's not forget that the people of West Southgate are also tax payers!
    So Mark, find another issue to hate on besides a heroic effort such as this. I applaud Melanie Ethridge and the residents of West Southgate for having the perseverance to fight for such a worthy cause.

  10. To attack someone personally for posting their opinion seems uncaring to me! Yes, the people of West Southgate are tax payers but they are the only one to benefit from others payments. I believe they should be assessed for the cost just as sidewalks are assessed. Also, only their opinion was considered in the issue.I live in Fort Thomas where people speed on my street as well.I made sure to watch my children carefully and teach them at an early age about traffic.

  11. Thanks for the feedback everyone. Just offering an opinion. The difference is I attach my name to it.

    And just for reference:

    1) Not lonely. I have a beautiful bride, a loyal dog, and wonderful friends and family.

    2) Because I just had a physical the other day, I can confirm I do have a heart and it's in good working order.

    3) I am actually making dinner tonight, so I have managed to stir a pot tonight.

    4) I have no dollar bills in my pocket because I have gym shorts on and there are no pockets on them.

    Don't forget to get to city council's meeting tomorrow to support the Midway businesses. Have a great evening.

    But more importantly, let's leave the personal attacks to those on other websites. We are better than that, everyone.

  12. Speed bumps are not going to solve a thing. I will still be able to jump the curb and pull a few donuts in the front yard out of frustation of the speed bumps. The best solution to stopping me are nails planted in the middle of the street.

    Yours Truly,
    The Peddle is on the Right

  13. No heart? No. Cold hearted? Absolutely. As a lifetime resident of Edgewood who has spent enough time in Ft. Thomas to know how "particular" the city and police department are, the answer is simple: have the police enforce the law. If they come at bad times, call again and again until they come at the right times enough of the time. Your efforts were obviously rewarded with a cop coming, albeit at a bad time, so they got the message. But why stop there? Press on them until they do a satisfactory job.

  14. While some of you worry about who pays for the speed humps and others worry about your house depreciating I think you need to think about the alternative! I would have gladly paid for the speed humps myself if the city would have allowed their installation in the 90's. But that didn't happen until after 4 years of my complaints to the police and city and the death of my son Stephen Schroder in 2000. I think some of you need to get your priorities straight! And while the humps do not slow down everybody at least they are a constant reminder for people as to why they are there. Police enforcement is really the one thing that needs to be implemented but that will never happen in Ft Thomas until someone is killed and then only for a few months after!

  15. I applaud the W. Southgate residents for their determination. Ultimately better police enforcement is the solution to the speeding problem in Ft. Thomas. This would serve the dual purpose of slowing down the speeders and putting more money in the city's coffers. The revenue from speeding tickets could fund the Southgate speed bumps several times over. There is a gold mine to be had on Ft Thomas Ave, Highland Ave, Clover Ridge, Grand Ave, Klainecrest & Pentland and don't forget the good old "Ft Thomas roll-through" at stop signs.

  16. Again, the bottom line is, people are breaking the law on our street. We have every right to demand that the speeding cease. If our fellow Fort Thomas residents do not like the decision of city council, don't vote for them or complain to them. Clearly, speeding is an issue everywhere in this town, we here on West Southgate don't think we have to live that way and did something about it. Perhaps the residents of those other streets, i.e. Clover Ridge, Klainecrest, etc should consider doing the same as we did. The idea of "if you don't like it then move" is ludicrous. I have to say I am surprised at how angry some of these posts are. Do the "natives" of Fort Thomas perceive any change as a personal criticism of their beloved town. I assure you it is not a personal attack on those who have lived with it and were "just fine".

    To Ms. Schroder; My heart broke for you and your family on that day when Stephen died. Thank you for your support. Prayers to you.

  17. Speed humps are a perfectly acceptable speed reduction device, and ultimately, much cheaper than increased police patrols.

    Don't like them? Two blocks away, you can take Waterworks/Burnet Ridge between Memorial and N.Ft.Thomas, a street which has few houses facing it, and little resident parking or playing children.

    Increased police patrols only enhance state government coffers and insurance company revenues. I applaud the city for solving this problem.