Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

Over the hump?

April 1, 2004

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Speed humps successfully slowed neighborhood traffic in Oakland, Calif. Why not use them here?

Now, here's a news item that might be of interest to Lawrence residents and particularly to city traffic engineers.

Speed humps that force motorists to slow down in residential neighborhoods can significantly cut the risk of injury or death for children, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study was conducted in Oakland, Calif., which had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths among California cities in 1995.

After adding speed humps on many residential streets in 2000 and observing the results, the head of the Oakland Pedestrian Safety Project reported a 15 percent decrease in child pedestrian deaths and injuries in the past few years. The humps used in Oakland were about 6 inches high and cost about $1,000 each.

Seems like a reasonable alternative to the unsightly "traffic-calming" circles being installed in some Lawrence neighborhoods for exactly the same purpose: slowing traffic and protecting pedestrians.

Maybe Lawrence officials are smarter than Oakland officials, but the proven success in Oakland seems to make the traffic-hump strategy worth further consideration.

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