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Durham Residents Debate Effectiveness of Speed Humps

Posted April 24, 2007

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— Speed humps can divide streets and pit neighbor against neighbor. Studies show the traffic-calming measures do work, but one neighborhood in Durham wonders if they are worth it.

Some streets have one or two speed humps, but motorists who travel on Berini Drive have to encounter 10 on the roadway.

"I think it's a good idea, but it's too many in a short distance," said neighbor Susan Grubbs.

Many neighbors question whether the mini-mountains make a difference.

"I really don't know if it's slowed anyone down," Grubbs said.

Joe Cohn, who pushed for the speed humps, said cars would barrel down his quiet street at lightning-fast speeds. He said he knows many of his neighbors see the humps as an inconvenience, but he has no apologies.

"I know we've had complaints. People say the bumps tear up the bottoms of their cars," he said. "It's the people who tear up their cars by how they go over the bumps."

The city requires a petition with signatures from at least 75 percent of the people living in the affected area to get a speed hump. The city also require a petition to get rid of the speed humps.

Once a petition is in place, city workers conduct traffic counts and speed studies. The asphalt mounds can be between 275 and 750 feet apart, depending on the street and the situation.

"Some neighborhoods have none. We have 10 within six-tenths of a mile, so we were overly blessed," Grubbs said.

This spring, 104 more humps will be added to the city landscape. Studies have shown speed humps can add seven to nine seconds to response times for emergency vehicles. Officials with Durham's Transportation Department consult with the Fire Department every time they add a hump to a street.


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  • oMzziG Apr 25, 2007

    10 within 6 tenths of a mile??? That's over kill and a waste of money.

  • mslisac363 Apr 25, 2007

    hdsoftail - Whom ever created the speed bump must also be the person that came up with the idea that cars should be able to run 100+ miles and hour even though it's against the law and cops. sit and wait to right you a ticket for excessive speed. I guess everything in life does not make since.

  • Hip-Shot Apr 25, 2007

    As bad as I despise them, sometimes they are probably a necessary evil. Our street is a 35 zone and we have people flying through at 60-70MPH, crotch-rockets going even faster, and there are usually kids out playing during the daylight hours.

  • Durham-Raleigh Apr 24, 2007

    Er, NHH... note that 75% of residents have to sign off on the proposal to get speed humps. So clearly there was support. I think the issue here is that too many were installed on this street.

  • nithea Apr 24, 2007

    Joe Cohn is a jerk. It's not his right to dictate things to other people but he obviously disagrees. The City of Durham trucks into a neighborhood and carves up the pavement for the future speed hump and often leaves them sitting there as unfinished ditches for a couple of weeks before finishing them. He's probably responsible for them being recently installed on Duluth, Fleming and Kimball Sts as well. Durham has gone absolutely hump crazy in that part of town.

    Berini Dr. is near Cole Mill Rd in Durham, which is a busy thoroughfare, but it is a quiet neighborhood and hopefully Cohn will be evicted before he can wreak any further havoc on the others who must be penalized for the actions of a few.

    The only hump he needs is his wife. Maybe that would lighten him up and give him some much needed perspective.

  • notadumbredneck Apr 24, 2007

    Why ask the Fire Department? Emergency Medical Services runs MANY more calls than the FD; they're the ones to ask about how they affect their vehicles and response times.

  • hdsoftail Apr 24, 2007

    Who ever invented these speed humps need them stuck somewhere

  • sick of You Apr 24, 2007

    Durham should be more worried about thier crime rate than making dumb decisions about speed bumps. Get the basics out of the way first. Sheesh.

  • RRsaidso Apr 24, 2007

    That road is terrible! A highway patrolman lives on it also. What more can you do.

  • 1Rx4FN Apr 24, 2007

    If they consult with the fire department, why not leave gaps in the speed humps the width of the fire engine's wheelbase. That way cars would have to slow down but the fire engines could still pass through unabated. That is what the Morrisville FD asked us to do if we placed them in our development.

    My favorite are the neighborhoods that have the yellow painted "speed humps" on the roads. They give you the impression of humps but when you reach them, they are nothing but a painted line on the road. What's up with that?