Oppose Traffic Calming Obstructions

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Monday, October 09, 2006

The engineers want to get their word in on some traffic calming proposals in East Baton Rouge:

Metro Councilman David Boneno is pushing speed humps and other traffic-calming devices as possible ways to slow down speeding vehicles in East Baton Rouge neighborhoods, and wants to establish criteria for neighborhoods to request them....

The city-parish chief traffic engineer, Ingolf Partenheimer, said engineers should have the final say about where to put speed humps and other traffic-calming devices.

“These decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis using engineering assessments. They cannot be political,” Partenheimer said.

Partenheimer said there’s a certain amount of liability in placing a speed hump in a roadway unless the location is based on sound engineering, Partenheimer said.

For example, Partenheimer said the city-parish will not place speed humps on roadways with open ditches for fear that someone might lose control of a vehicle and crash into a ditch.

“Everyone that I’ve talked to has said that traffic calming does not get you into liability situations. What gets you into liability situations is if it becomes political and doesn’t meet engineering standards,” Partenheimer said....

“This issue has been around for a while, and everyone throws that liability issue at us. But if that’s such an issue, why are the speed humps in Southdowns still there?” Boneno asked.

But Partenheimer said many Southdowns residents who initially requested speed humps have had a change of heart.

“That was really the wrong device. Their primary problem in that area was the volume of traffic, but speed humps aren’t really very effective at dealing with volume. They’re more effective at reducing speeding,” Partenheimer said.

Partenheimer noted that some Southdowns residents supported the idea of having a speed hump on their street, but didn’t want it in front of their homes....

While Boneno’s proposal focuses on speed humps, Partenheimer said he’s also looking at other traffic-calming devices, such as narrowing streets to force motorists to slow down.

As an example, he pointed to Glenmore Drive, where Public Works officials are responding to complaints of speeding cars and trucks by narrowing the roadway. Glenmore currently consists of two 18-foot-wide roadways separated by a median.

Partenheimer said plans call for narrowing of Glenmore to 10 feet on each side of the median, along with a flowerbox and a sidewalk, both 4 feet wide.

posted by Ontario Emperor  # 12:35


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