Oppose Traffic Calming Obstructions

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Click and Clack on traffic calming and car damage:

RAY: Traffic calming is not used on main thoroughfares, where efficiency IS the top priority. But on neighborhood streets, where commuters from outside the neighborhood speed through, traffic calming can provide great benefits.

TOM: There are a number of different "tools" in a traffic calmer's toolbox. There are chicanes, which put little "S-curves" in the middle of a block by using trees or sidewalk bump-outs as baffles. There are sidewalk extensions that make the street narrower by expanding pedestrian space. And there are raised crosswalks and speed humps.

RAY: Unlike a speed BUMP, which is literally just a small, semicircular bump, a speed HUMP is a larger raised area. For instance, an entire crosswalk, or even an entire intersection, may be raised a few inches so that a car drives up a ramp onto this platform, continues across it and then comes down on the other side.

TOM: As long as you approach it at a reasonable speed -- say, 20 to 25 mph, in most cases -- absolutely no harm is done to the vehicle. To put it in perspective, hitting a pothole is far worse for a car than driving over a speed hump is.

RAY: Our only caveat is that there has to be clear signage in advance of a speed hump. It's not fair to drivers to simply surprise them. Or even to post the speed limit somewhere else on the street, and let them pay the price if they exceed it.

TOM: It's actually a safety issue. If a driver hits a speed hump without slowing down first, the tires can leave the ground momentarily, making it impossible to stop or steer. And that's very dangerous, especially because many speed humps are located at intersections or crosswalks.

posted by Ontario Emperor  # 11:53


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