Archive for Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speeding top topic at town hall forum

June 29, 2006

Gregg and Kim Buehler, who have lived on Holiday Drive for the last two years, are concerned about the safety of the children in their neighborhood.

Kim Buehler has seen cars driving up to 40 mph in the their 20 mph neighborhood and said that the problem has worsened since their road has been opened to De Soto Street. She and her husband attended a June 21 town hall meeting, where parents and neighbors like themselves gathered to hear about possible solutions to what seems to be a growing neighborhood speeding problem.

Soon, residents may be arming themselves against the problem. Buehler said she would sign up for the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program, where residents will participate in an eight-hour training program and check out laser speed units to gather information about speed violations in their neighborhood.

"Anything we can do to give the city more information," Kim Buehler said.

John Jacobson, director of community development, offered possible traffic calming solutions to the town hall attendees, who were asked to return after an April 15 meeting to give the city time to research possible solutions to traffic problems. Possible solutions under study included speed humps, chokers and roundabouts.

Speed humps typically are used to slow traffic in subdivisions, whereas speed bumps are intended to stop traffic. While the City of Lansing's insurance contract does not allow the city to install speed bumps, the gentler humps are a possibility. The humps are 3 inches tall and 14 feet long and cost $4,250 per installation, paid by the district that benefits from the hump, Jacobson said.

Another possible solution is installing what are called chokers, which are a "bumped out piece of curb in a problem roadway," Jacobson said, and decrease the width of a street, thereby restricting traffic.

Roundabouts, which direct traffic around an intersection, are the other possibility.

A final option is using battery-operated speed limit signs. These are portable and removable, and are placed below speed limit signs to display the speed of each car as it passes.

Jacobson stressed that traffic calming was "ineffective unless used as part of an engineered regional traffic program" because treating spot locations only moves the problem traffic to another location.

Lansing Police Chief Steve Wayman spoke about the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program, where residents gather information on the speed, location, day and time of violations and vehicle and occupant descriptions.

In this program, residents gather information and keep records on information sheets, but do not issue traffic violations.

To sign up for the Neighborhood Speed Watch Program, call the Lansing Police Department at 727-3000.

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