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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hurdles For Future Speed Bumps

City workers begin cutting the street on West Southgate (9/22/10)

Before I start into this post let me say a couple things right off the bat so I don't get accused of being anti-safety, bitter, cold etc. as the anonymous comments suggested in my last speed bump article.

  • The safety of the residents and especially children trumps any other issue brought to the forefront.
  • I applaud the residents on West Southgate for exercising their citizenry rights and taking the necessary steps to getting the speed bumps put in.
  • My main point was never anti speed bump, but rather, who should pay for them. I still contend that just as residents are billed by the city when sidewalks and streets are worked on in front of their homesteads, a speed bump issued brought up by residents should require those who signed a petition to have some skin in the game financially.
Now that that is out of the way, let me go on.

Friend of the blog and Community Recorder writer, Amanda Joering Alley, posted a story yesterday about some of the changes to Neighborhood Traffic and Improvement Policy.

The highlights of the changes, approved by city council on Monday were:
  • A stealth speed detector must now capture 85% of drivers going at least 5 MPH over the limit as opposed to 3 MPH. On West Southgate where the speed limit is 20 MPH, this would have meant that 85% of drivers would need to go at least 25 instead of the 23 MPH needed to get this process started.
  • Changing the amount of time the city has to take action on a complaint from seven days to a "reasonable amount of time." To me, this gives council time to respond if there are several speeding complaints (which I will get to later).
  • If a resident tries to get speed bumps installed and doesn't get the required 67% of residents on the street to sign a petition in favor of the bumps, that resident can't try again for a year.
Couple the above changes with some anecdotal evidence I collected from talking to people on West Southgate this morning including:
  • A city worker saying that "I (Mark) wouldn't believe how many people from different streets in Fort Thomas believe they need speed bumps with the amount of petitions that are brought to the city."
  • Another city worker saying that "Five residents had come out to complain (the first morning of construction) about the speed bumps and that seemingly every person that had complained was having a speed bump put in front of their residence.
  • A resident of West Southgate who has lived on the street for close to 40 years. She said she did not like the speed bumps, but signed the petition when it was put in front of her because she wanted the safety of the kids put first. She went onto say that all four of her children were taught not to play near the street because she knew it wasn't a safe place for kids and that for whatever reason, the sidewalks seem to be the place to play now.
So what does all this mean?

Obviously, the measures amended by the city council has made it more difficult to pass the criteria needed to put in future speed reduction measures. And while I'm sure that the majority on this particular street wanted these measures passed, a vocal minority did not.

Without saying so much, I think the council is skating to where the proverbial puck is going, instead of where it is. They see that these speed bumps could get expensive if every street has an advocate who spear headed this effort like West Southgate had. There is no doubt that West Southgate had to jump through hoops to get this accomplished, and now that they have, city council has made these hoops a little more difficult to get through.

Again, it all comes back to a common sense solution:

You want speed reduction devices? Fine. I wouldn't mind having some in front of my street. Have the 67% of residents who sign the petition pay for it, just as they have to pay for it when sidewalks are being worked on on their street.

If you sign the petition, obviously you are doing so because safety trumps monetary or property value concerns, as seen through the testimonial of the West Southgate resident who has lived their for close to 40 years. The city isn't out of pocket. Residents against the speed bumps aren't out of pocket. Taxpayers who see no benefit aren't out of pocket.

Everyone wins.


  1. Yes people speed on West Southgate, but a street over, Holly Lane has just as big or larger speeding problem. Where does all this end? They are public streets and police need to enforce the law.

  2. "I still contend that just as residents are billed by the city when sidewalks and streets are worked on in front of their homesteads, a speed bump issued brought up by residents should require those who signed a petition to have some skin in the game financially."

    Really? I guess if thieves target your street for break-ins, you and your immediate neighbors should pay for the increased police patrols that are needed to stem the crime wave?

    Somehow I doubt that the residents of West Southgate created this problem or even contribute to it. Unless you want the street restricted to residents of that street only, then traffic control device costs should be borne by the community-at-large.

    I completely disagree with your reasoning (in case, that wasn't obvious)

  3. I have been following the post regarding the speed humps on W. Southgate and as a resident would like to respond to your points. If I am not mistaken, as far as the statistics go on W. Southgate our 85% was 31 mph. Your blog implies that the street would not have qualified for the humps if the limit had been 25 mph. Many cars were recorded going over 40 mph (the highest speed the stealth box can record). These are the cars that will now be forced to slow down no matter the time of day or if there is a police officer present.
    When the residents of W. Southgate began the conversation with city council about the speeding on the street it was not with the intention to have speed humps installed. The intent was to bring attention to what the residents on the street considered a safety issue. I bet if you had asked the folks living here if speed humps were the answer to our speeding problem they would have said no. The speed humps are here because our city deemed them necessary. As far as who pays the bill I absolutely agree with you. Once the city decided to install the speed humps many of us offered to contribute monetarily to whatever intervention the city deemed necessary to curtail the speeding. It is obvious you feel strongly about this issue. If you feel that the civic responsibility for providing a safe community, in this case the installation of speed humps, should be shifted more toward the individual as opposed to the community as a whole you may want to consider taking your concerns to City Council. The folks living on W. Southgate have found our City Council to be receptive to the concerns of its citizens.