14 'speed humps' on Shaker Drive to start new anti-speeding campaign EAST COLUMBIA

August 03, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The county Department of Public Works will begin installing 14 "flat top speed humps," the county's first, on Shaker Drive in Kings Contrivance within a week to 10 days. And by fall, motorists will begin seeing the devices on other east Columbia streets.

The Kings Contrivance Village Board, responding to residents' concerns that speeding vehicles were threatening safety on Shaker Drive, approved the division's recommendation earlier this month.

"When you have people who are afraid to let children cross Shaker Drive because of speed, you have to look twice," said C. Edward Walter, chief of the traffic engineering division.

"Why are people speeding so much? They certainly have a right to be on the road, but at 1.7 times the speed limit?"

The 14 elongated humps will be placed between Seneca Drive, which links the residential area with U.S. 29, and the Route 32 ramp.

Along that 1.5-mile stretch are residences, a shopping center, a restaurant, a neighborhood pool and park, a nursery school and two pathway crossings.

Sunny McGuinn, who lives off Shaker Drive, said many residents have wanted the county to take action to slow down traffic for years. She said the humps should discourage motorists from using Shaker Drive as a cut-through between U.S. 29 and Route 32.

Whether area residents will be tolerant of the humps spaced every 350 to 650 feet remains to be seen, Ms. McGuinn said.

"It's a small price to pay to calm the traffic," said Shaker Drive resident Greg Mercer, adding that pulling out of his driveway has become dangerous. "It looks as though they'll be effective."

A traffic division study found that motorists routinely travel 40 mph or faster on Shaker Drive, which has speed limits of 25 mph and 30 mph.

"Flat top speed humps" are 22 feet long, Mr. Walter said.

They rise gradually to 3 inches in height, extend for 10 feet at that height, then decline gradually to road level. They are placed at close intervals to keep drivers from speeding up between the humps, he said.

The division has installed 12-foot-long speed humps on residential streets in North Laurel and near Ellicott City.

The longer devices are for more heavily traveled "collector" streets, Mr. Walter said.

The Shaker Drive project will cost about $15,000, and will be financed from a $100,000 capital improvement fund for "traffic calming measures," he said.

The division plans to construct flat top speed humps at Tamar Drive and Major's Lane, near Jeffers Hill Elementary School. PTA members have asked the county to improve safety for students crossing Tamar Drive.

Mr. Walter said that the division is aiming to complete the project before school opens.

The division also detected excessive speeding on Vollmerhausen Road, a main artery in Kings Contrivance.

That road also is slated for construction of flat top speed humps, provided that the devices work well on Shaker Drive, Mr. Walter said.

"The chief barometer is whether they're doing a good job controlling speed," he said.

The Kings Contrivance Village Board invites residents to its 7:30 p.m. meeting tomorrow at Amherst House to discuss whether speed humps should be installed on Vollmerhausen Road.

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