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By Martin Lamarque

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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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Have you checked your speed bump lately?

Uploaded: Nov 12, 2013
You will often hear me refer to the fact that small transgressions eventually add up, and turn into bigger ones. Seemingly innocent violations of the rules, little by little lead up to more serious ones.

Speeding down residential streets without any regard for others' safety, is one of those "minor" misdeeds that nonetheless gives the impression that we live in a lawless town.

One of the first council meetings I attended, back in '97', when I moved to Belle Haven, was to hear discussion about the implementation of speed control measures around the neighborhood; namely speed bumps.

One of those speed bumps ended up right in front of my house. The first thing I noticed was that although better than no speed bump, this particular one seemed to be too low, and therefore, its speed calming effects were minimal. With the police sub-station right around the corner, I assumed that this particular speed bump had to be so low to allow for our police cars to give chase to criminals without my speed bump getting in the way of their pursuit.

A few years later, our street got a new layer of pavement, and the already too-low speed bump, became lower, and even less effective. So ineffective, that the worse drivers have figured out that the faster they drive over it, the less they feel it, and so you have them zooming by at speeds that can reach 40 miles per hour. I can recall one incident of someone crashing into my front neighbor's fence. She claims it's happened twice.

When I decided to write about the almost no speed bump in front of my house, to be fair and to give our City bureaucrats the benefit of the doubt, I decided to call the appropriate City department. Who knows, maybe no one from the City had ever noticed the mashed down cadaver of this speed bump laying across the street. It is possible that none of the policemen and policewomen, who drive their police cars over it several times a day, never stopped to think that this speed bump is not doing its job because well, they never ever had to slow down, let alone stop while going over it.

The gentleman that I would have to talk to about speed bumps happened to be in a meeting when I called. I left my name and phone number, and 5 minutes had not gone by, when he was returning my call. He was very courteous. He said would come out to take a look, and that he would let me know whether my speed bump qualified for a facelift.

It's been 10 weeks since our talk. In the meantime, I have gone around Menlo Park, East and West, testing speed bumps. I have found most of them forcing a speed reduction to between 12 and 19 miles per hour. I feel shortchanged! I can't wait for him to call me back. When he does, I will tell him about another speed bump just down the street that suffers from the same height problem as mine…

Comments

Posted by Janet L, a resident of another community,
on Nov 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

"Speeding down residential streets without any regard for others' safety, is one of those 'minor' misdeeds"

People may think speeding is no big deal, but it is. Fast-moving cars make streets dangerous and unpleasant for people walking their dogs, for people pulling out of driveways, for kids playing in front yards. At 25 mph, drivers have time to stop for someone or something they see in the street. At 35 mph, they'll barely have time to slow down before they hit it.

The extra time saved by going over 30 mph in a 25 zone saves little time and turns our neighborhoods into hostile zones for anyone except those who want our streets to be a faster short-cut across town.

Good luck with the fight to reclaim your street as a safe, calm place in your neighborhood.


Posted by Rc, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm

I live in a neighborhood where they continue to put in more speed bumps. Either people drive over them like turtles or hurdle over them at twice the speed limit. Very frustrating!


Posted by C'est la vie, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks,
on Nov 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm

We have speed humps in our neighborhood, though the recent repaving mellowed them out a bit. In general, they keep cars at around 25 mph which just so happens to be the speed limit. We still get some speeding cut-through traffic -- dangerous in a neighborhood where visibility is poor thanks to curving streets and lots of vegetation, and the number of kids and dogs and bikes is high.

But there are only a few vehicles that I have seen actually speeding through our neighborhood, and they all have been police cars, driven by cops. In one incident, three cars were traveling at least 3x the speed limit. Fortunately, no one happened to be crossing the street.

So don't expect much sympathy or support from their city. If they had their way, they'd go as fast as they can whenever they can.


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