They are not love-drunk on those humps.
Windsor Terrace residents slammed a proposal to stick up to 15 traffic-slowing speed humps around their neighborhood to improve pedestrian safety, with many knocking the plan as a lazily slapped-on solution that will fail to fix dangerous road conditions in the neighborhood.
“It’s cheap and easy,” said Neil Eisenberg, who lives on Seeley Street — the site of three proposed humps — eliciting applause from the gathered neighbors at Monday nights meeting. “Now let’s get to the solutions that can work for us.”
Eisenberg said Seeley Street — described by residents as a busy two-way street plagued by speeding devils — has long blocks with no safe places for kids to cross the street, and condemned the hump plan as a lame alternative to crosswalks, stop signs, and traffic lights that could save kids’ lives. Other residents voiced fears that the humps might do more harm than good by causing loud noises, damaging cars, or slowing down emergency response vehicles, though a Department of Transportation specialist assured the naysayers that the agency has never received complaints about property damage or delayed response times.
The 15-hump plan — with 14 concentrated on streets between 11th Avenue and Vanderbilt Street and one on Kermit Place — was presented at a Community Board 7 transportation committee meeting as one way to get drivers to slow down, even if it isn’t a cure-all.
“It’s not a fix-all, end-all solution,” said Transportation specialist Jeannette Saunds. “If you adhere to the advisories, I think they are very effective.”
Despite skepticism and dismay voiced by many meeting attendees, some residents cling to hope that the humps will do their part to slow down speedsters and make the streets safer for kids. One Seeley Street resident whose 17-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver at 19th Street and Terrace Place in 2003 believes the city’s “Vision Zero” efforts could make a big difference.
“It would have saved my son’s life if there had been a speed bump,” said Mary Jane Monahan.
The city noticed the neighborhood’s deadly streets after a 14-year-old boy was killed by a hit-and-run driver at Caton avenue and E. Seventh Street last November. Councilman Brad Lander (D–Windsor Terrace) has spearheaded a movement with the department to make the streets safer for kids walking to the neighborhood’s schools by adding new crossing guards, putting up more signs, and installing more traffic lights in addition to the speed humps. The department’s progress is tracked on the councilman’s website at bradl
A representative from the councilman’s office said the latest efforts are focusing on speed humps because they are the quickest solution within the city’s control, as stop signs and traffic lights have to adhere to state and federal regulations that make them difficult to get approved and installed.
The community board emphasized that Monday’s meeting was the first of many, and they will invite the department to return in September with a renewed plan that takes into account community feedback. When the department presents the final plan — which Saunds says will probably be ready next year — the community board’s will vote on each hump individually. It’s vote is not that law of the land, though, as the board’s voice is only advisory.