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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Speed humps in the news

Speed hump on Lake Shore Avenue in Echo Park

Budget cuts in 2009 prompted the city to bring a halt to what it called The Los Angeles Speed Hump Program, which paid for those those asphalt humps and bumps used to slow down traffic, primarily on residential streets. But Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents Los Feliz and a portion of Silver Lake, wants to bring back the humps. A City Council motion introduced by LaBonge would direct the city’s Department of Transportation to come up with recommendations. The motion says:

Speed humps are effective measures in reducing speeds and increasing safety for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. They are a cost-effective method of reducing excessive speeding on residential streets, and the demand for speed humps remain high throughout the City.

Some neighborhoods have managed to get speed humps through other methods. In fact, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority is offering to spend $2,000 to install speed humps on Rosanna Street near a new park the agency is building in Elysian Valley. “Speed humps are effective tool to slow down vehicular traffic and can improve the pedestrian environment on a residential street, and are needed on Rosanna Street, ” according to a motion by Mitch O’Farrell that would allow the city to accept the funds from the conservancy.

14 comments

  1. I believe part of the problem is traffic apps like Waze which direct commuters into residential areas where they drive like maniacs.

    • Perhaps, but people shouldn’t be driving like that on the arterial streets either.

      There’s just a general acceptance of anti-social behavior in Los Angeles, with a majority of motorists regularly speeding, tailgating, and behaving recklessly and aggressively on streets, instead of sharing our limited street space and above all, looking out for pedestrians and other vulnerable street users.

      The only proven way to fix the problem is through better street design… more speed bumps on the side streets, and more traffic calming on the major thoroughfares. We live in a city, people need to learn how to share public space.

      • Traffic calming just pushes drivers into residential areas. How many cyclists do you see on Rowena or Colorado? I would love it if there were hundreds, but I never see any and traffic on Rowena sucks.
        More traffic cops writing tickets would be a good place to start.

        • Again, that may be true that it pushes some traffic to the side streets… but I’m not really even talking about bike lanes per se. I’m talking about public safety and neighborhood livability. In a densely populated city, people should be able to cross the street safely, frequently and conveniently. And there’s simply no reason anyone needs to be driving faster than 30mph down a bustling street like Colorado), or even should be allowed to drive much faster than 20mph on a residential street like those behind Rowena.

          We need traffic calming on major streets AND we need speed bumps on the narrow residential ones. We live in a city and streets are for people: pedestrians, cyclists, buses and cars.

        • Curious, what would it take for you to hop on a bike for short journeys under 3 miles? Do you feel the bike lanes on Rowena to be insufficient?

      • Part of the problem is that we don’t realize how deeply anti-social it is to get in your car during rush hour. A single extra car on the road will cause a few seconds of delay to hundreds of other people. If you have to do something during rush hour, and you can possibly walk, bike, or take metro, you really should. However, we’ve made the policy decision to make it more expensive to take metro than to cause delays to everyone else. Thus, no one recognizes the anti-social nature of their choices, and they just complain about everyone else making that same choice.

        (And for what it’s worth, about 40% of the traffic on the road during rush hour is people doing things other than commuting to or from work, so yes, this is a serious part of the issue.)

        • Agreed, and I think a lot of people drive short distances simply because in the city of LA the streets are often unpleasant and sometimes quite dangerous for pedestrians. Better street design would help out tremendously, but thus far the DOT has only taken baby steps to moderate traffic speeds and prioritize safety.

        • “Anti-social”, how?

  2. I always follow a speed bump with a speed hump, but don’t tell my parole officer (or my sponsor).

  3. Ironically, if one travels fast enough over these “effective measures”, they aren’t very effective at all. Especially in cars with modern suspensions…

  4. While I do appreciate the traffic-calming effect of speed humps, I’d be more in favor if they were used as demarcators of crosswalks. In other words, have a slightly wider traffic hump that doubles as a crosswalk. As it is now, oftentimes motorists get so annoyed with traffic humps mid-street that by the time they get to a crosswalk at an intersection they just want to plow through.

    Still, there’s no perfect solution here.

    • There’s certainly lots of proven options for traffic calming, but not a whole lot will change until LADOT recognizes the importance of safety over speed, and takes bold actions to address that imbalance… the policy in any big city should be “how do we move people safely and efficiently”, not just “how fast are cars traveling at rush hour?”

  5. Glassell Park Man

    Best way to keep speed bumps/humps out of the hoods is to “honk” every time you roll over one.

    Drives the people nuts.

  6. Do you know what the speed limit IS in our old ‘hoods? 25mph unless a WHITE sign says less. The speed hump will be designed so cars can safely roll over it at 25mph. And when you hit my kid going 27mph over the speed bump, the court will call it an accident.

    The real change we need is reduced speed limits that a cop can enforce and a speed hump be designed for. 20 or 15 mph, when you have a street without sidewalks would be nice. Now the guy going 27mph gets to pay $400, or gets arrested for reckless driving, or the chassis of his car gets bent by the steep speed BUMP. And when he hits my kid it is not an accident, it is manslaughter, and he is going to jail. Then with a little education, speeds will come down.

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