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Speed tables are city’s newest tool to slow traffic in certain neighborhoods


Speed tables are city’s newest tool to slow traffic in certain neighborhoods

By LANDON WOODROOF

In response to complaints of speeding from residents of a Brentwood subdivision, the City of Brentwood has agreed to implement a new speed control method on certain city streets.

On Monday night, Brentwood’s City Commission voted to approve $20,000 to install two speed tables on Charity Drive in the Highland Park subdivision.

According to city documentation online, concerned residents of Highland Park contacted the city about drivers regularly surpassing the speed limit on Charity Drive.

Charity Drive is a residential collector street, defined by the city’s traffic calming policy as streets “which connect a significant number of local streets or neighborhoods to another connector road, or more commonly, to an arterial road.”

Some of the other residential collector streets in Brentwood are Arrowhead Drive, Belle Rive Drive, Bluff Road, Knox Valley Drive, Lipscomb Drive and McGavock Road. A full list can be found in the city’s traffic calming policy.

Unlike many residential streets, collector streets are ineligible for speed humps. Instead, the city has a two-tiered policy for dealing with speeding issues on these streets.

After Highland Park residents got in touch with the city about their concerns, the city followed that policy by having traffic engineers conduct a speed study on Charity Drive. That study concluded that there was a speeding problem on the road.

In response, the city made some signage changes and stepped up police enforcement of the speed limit on Charity Drive.

Several months later, Highland Park residents contacted the city again, believing that the Tier 1 efforts to rein in speeding had been ineffective. The city commissioned another speed study, which found that there still was a speeding problem.

As a result, traffic engineers that the city use one of its Tier 2 tools to combat the problem. The tool that was decided upon was the installation of speed tables.

Speed tables rise to roughly the same height as speed humps, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches, but they do so in a less abrupt way. There is a small slope on one end of a speed table that raises the vehicles to a certain height before another slope on the other end leads back down to ground level.

“It’s supposed to slow them, but not as much as a speed hump,” City Manager Kirk Bednar said.

Speed tables are more expensive than speed humps to install. They cost $10,000 each, and road closures are necessary when they are put in place.

Unlike with speed humps, though, where nearby residents put up 40 percent of the cost, the city will pay 100 percent of the cost of speed table installation.

Bednar said this is because collector streets are really used for directing outside traffic through an area.

City Engineer Mike Harris said more speed tables are likely on city collector streets in the coming years.

“We expect this to be the first of many,” he said. “We get a lot of requests for speed and traffic calming in neighborhoods.”

According to the city’s traffic calming policy, in order for a Tier 2 strategy to be implemented, 2/3 of residents within 1,000 feet of the affected area must sign a petition supporting the decided upon strategy. In the case of Highland Park, 76 percent of homeowners within 1,000 feet supported the speed tables.

The speed tables will be installed in the summer months, after school has let out.

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