It can be frustrating to watch cars whiz through your neighborhood with seemingly no thought to the safety of children and pets. Increasingly, fed-up residents are taking action by requesting that their municipalities implement traffic calming measures, including speed bumps. Once a formal request is made, officials at the city and county level decide whether to honor the request based on features of the proposed site.
Requesting Speed Bumps
Determine which agency will process your request. If you live within city limits, your city most likely has the authority to add speed bumps. If you live in a town or rural region, however, your county will probably make the decision.
Visit the municipality's website or planning department and locate information about the request process. Most cities and counties require that a petition be signed by a percentage of residents who would be affected by the addition of speed bumps. For instance, the city of Bakersfield, Calif., specifies that 75 percent of citizens in the affected area must sign a petition in order for the request to proceed.
Request a copy of the required petition. Go door-to-door, discussing your concerns with your neighbors and explaining the speed bump request process. Obtain signatures when possible and turn in the petition. In some cases, the municipality may notify residents of the request by mail or members of the city's staff may obtain signatures themselves.
Wait for the municipality to determine whether your location meets the criteria for speed bumps. Criteria varies by region, but typically includes speed limit, incidences of speeding, traffic volumes, population, visibility and the probability of speed bumps causing diversion to other streets.
Be prepared to make your case in front of a planning commission and, later, a city council or board of supervisors, if requested.
- While it's important to recruit supporters, make sure to also be sensitive to neighbors who may disagree with your request. Some people view speed bumps as an inconvenience, and may be more likely to put up a legal fight if they feel threatened. Some municipalities do not allow speed bumps on public streets, but will consider other measures to slow down traffic, such as installing curbing or adding pavement markings. You can also ask local law-enforcement agencies to help deter too-fast drivers by monitoring streets in the neighborhood and issuing citations to speeders.
- Bump sign image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com