• Local
  • Pittsfield, MA
  • more weather >

Speed bumps make streets safer, for drivers and pedestrians

More Info
By Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018 Letters 5

To the Editor:

To those officials in Gt. Barrington and elsewhere considering making streets safer for pedestrians:
Having spent over the years much time abroad, and currently four months every winter in Mexico, I’d like to suggest a significant solution to reducing pedestrian accidents, particularly at crosswalks. Among other countries Mexico installs “topes” or as we call them speed bumps.
These have warnings in advance suggesting a reduction in speed to virtually a walking pace of 3-4 mph. The consequence of not doing so is the equivalent of hitting a significant pothole.
Even coming into a rural area, not necessarily a crosswalk, the warning of a speed bump ahead slows traffic before entering a village, town, school zone, etc..
For some unfathomable reason Stockbridge has removable speed bumps on Elm Street, presumably so that in winter snowplows don’t hit them. The removing of them is absurd. Surely in winter with ice and snow, the chance of an accident is significantly increased, and those that are plowing would be fully aware of their locations along with the warning signs for vehicular traffic.

Many of us, including myself, from time to time miss seeing speed limit reduction signs. With speed bumps one cannot miss them and IF missing them this will NEVER follow with a 2nd miss!

Christopher Owen


5 Comments   Add Comment

  1. concerned says:

    Just saying..Mexico has no snow,thus no reason to remove speed bumps,Have you ever tried plowing,and hit a speed bump?

  2. Ed Abrahams says:

    Thank you for the suggestion. No solution is perfect, and as you state, speed bumps pose problems for snow removal that Mexico doesn’t have to worry about, but no idea is off the table. Speed bumps, narrower traffic lanes, better sinage, shared bike/pedestrian/vehicle areas, there are many ways to address access and safety issues. What’s exciting is that DOT is looking at roads as something over than a way to move cars quickly through town.

    Right now we are looking for community input to see where in GB we should employ Complete Streets methods. Please take the attached survey and weigh in on that. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GBSTREETS

  3. Robert Slonaker says:

    On the issue of speed bumps and snow plows, since that seems to be the main topic of controversy for utilizing them(speed bumps). I have spent several winters in Colorado resort towns where large speed “humps” are used as the crosswalks themselves. The difference between a speed bump, what most of us probably envision as the brief and steep mound of concrete or asphalt maybe six inches high and only a foot or two wide in the direction of travel like you find in parking lots around the area, a speed “hump” is the same height of six to eight inches or so with a much gentler rise from the normal street level and a much wider width of 8-10 feet. Or the same width as say the crosswalks on main street in GB. This broader hump allows the plows to smoothly transition over the rise from normal street level and not impede the snow removal process but does make speeding over it challenging for the cars. It also provides just that little bit more of elevation for the shorter pedestrians among us to be visible to the drivers. Well worth considering as they are very effective in other communities with lots of pedestrian and vehicle traffic confluence.

  4. Jim Johnston says:

    Who will pay for the speed bumps? And further, who will pay for all of the repair bills our wonderful Town Manager will undoubtedly absorb when every non-driving snowflake complains about damage to their cars, ala the great curb fiasco of ’16???

  5. Christopher Owen, AIA Architect says:

    I find there is merit to some of the above replies, both positive and negative to my suggestion of “speed bumps” or if you prefer “speed humps”. The need for clarification however is suggested.

    In the first place I spoke of Mexico and certainly it’s true that we don’t have, but rarely, snow though it’s frequently known in the north and at high elevations. Please note though that I also referred to Europe where one finds speed humps where there is no shortage of snow. One way or the other as a rule only four months of the year and pedestrian traffic is likely less during those months.

    As to their widths to which I hadn’t referred certainly wider ones, even as wide as a pedestrian walkway,
    serve exactly the same purpose, and when it comes to snow plows, as it does for RR tracks, etc. signage in the form of a warning is usually if not always in place.

    With respect to snow plows if the approaching rise is not overly steep, and certainly not 6-8″overall as Robert implies, snow plows or the speed bumps are not adversely affected. If the plow’s leading edge, as is usually the case, provided with attached wheels or sled guides its ends and just ahead of the plow there is no problem. Note also plows are not as a rule in direct contact with the roadbed.

    For an economic solution, I can think of no other method which would be less expensive or more effective.

    Finally taking into account the choice of a plow in contact with a speed bump, what is your preference, slight damage to the bump or being hit, wounded, or even killed by the plow?

What's your opinion?

We welcome your comments and appreciate your respect for others. We kindly ask you to keep your comments as civil and focused as possible. If this is your first time leaving a comment on our website we will send you an email confirmation to validate your identity.