County proposes 'speed humps' to slow vehicles on two roads EAST COLUMBIA

June 22, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Kings Contrivance village resident Richard Tucci won't let his 8-year-old daughter cross Vollmerhausen Road by herself to visit friends for fear of speeding vehicles.

"It's too easy to get hit," Mr. Tucci said.

A recent county traffic study of Vollmerhausen Road and Shaker Drive -- primary residential arteries in Kings Contrivance -- confirmed Mr. Tucci's and other residents' concerns that motorists are taking liberties with speed limits.

"There's substantial speeding on both roads," said C. Edward Walter, county Traffic Engineering Division chief.

At a village board meeting last week, the division recommended installing "flat-top speed humps" to control speed at several locations along both roads. The division plans to identify locations with markings on the roads to apprise residents and motorists.

The study "confirmed what we had been saying for many years without a solution from the county," said Sunny McGuinn, who lives off Shaker Drive.

Ms. McGuinn said she supports the speed humps proposal. "We've wanted something to slow traffic that residents and the county could live with," she said. "I'm anxious to see the project under way . . . It really is a safety factor with children in the neighborhood."

The village board has invited traffic engineers to the July 7 meeting to explain the proposal.

The board plans to vote on a recommendation, but the traffic division has overriding authority to implement a traffic plan.

Board Chairman Bill Sowders encouraged input from residents. "The sense of the traffic division is [speed humps] are not a pilot program," he said. "You put these in and they're here to stay."

He said the board was impressed with the proposal. "What I hope people will understand is that they're different than speed bumps. They're not designed to stop you."

The village board requested a county study on vehicle speeds on both of those roads following complaints by residents.

Traffic engineers recorded speeds at four locations along Vollmerhausen Road and Shaker Drive. They determined the speed at or below which 85 percent of the motorists traveled, a measurement commonly used to set speed limits.

On Vollmerhausen Road, where the speed limit is 30 mph, speeding ranged from 40.1 mph to 46 mph westbound, and from 38.8 mph to 43 mph eastbound. That means that at the worst spots for speeding, about one in six motorists exceeded 46 mph westbound and 43 mph eastbound.

On Shaker Drive, where the speed limit ranges from 25 mph to 30 mph, the 85th percentile speed ranged from 39 mph to 45.5 mph westbound and from 36 mph to 47 mph eastbound. At the worst spots, about one in six motorists exceeded 45.5 mph westbound and 47 mph eastbound.

The average speed for Vollmerhausen Road, which handles about 4,700 vehicle trips daily, was 37.5 mph westbound and 34.8 mph eastbound.

On Shaker Drive, which averages 3,500 vehicle trips daily, speeds averaged 36 mph westbound and 36.5 mph eastbound.

Mr. Walter said speeds are "way too high for the characteristics" of the roads, along which children travel to schools, tot lots and recreational facilities.

"Flat-top speed humps" are 22 feet long. They rise gradually to a height of three inches, extend for 10 feet at that height, then gradually decline to road level.

"Speed humps are the most effective means to control speed, if they're done properly, and they're economical," said Mr. Walter.

The speed humps cost about $1,000 to construct, he said.

Traffic lights cost between $60,000 and $80,000 to install, and must meet national standards to be warranted, he said, adding that the two Kings Contrivance roads wouldn't qualify.

A series of stop signs is ineffective in controlling speed, Mr. Walter said. "People stop paying attention to them and accidents happen."

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