In the first year after Columbia County commissioners took control of the installation of speed humps away from residents, the number of speed hump installations more than tripled.
In 2006, when the previous policy still was in effect, 48 speed humps were placed on area streets. Since the policy changed in January 2007, more than 250 speed humps have been installed -- 187 in 2007 and at least 66 thus far in 2008 -- at a cost of about $1,500 each. A new set of speed hump installations recently was installed on Hickory Drive.
During a recent meeting, commissioners approved the installation of speed humps on West Kestwick, Oak Brook, Miramar, Sussex and Wade Plantation drives.
Commissioners voted to change the policy in January 2007, said Columbia County Traffic Engineer Glen Bollinger. The greatest change was the elimination of a petition process, he said.
"There was some confusion over the public involvement, so the board (of commissioners) elected to just do away with the petition process," Bollinger said. "Now, we get a call from a homeowner and we go out and do a study."
If the study concludes that at least 250 vehicles regularly traverse any given road and 15 percent of them drive more than 10 mph above the speed limit, then the road is selected for speed humps, Bollinger said.
In the past, traffic officials would present street residents with the results of the study. It then became their responsibility to rally neighbors in support of speed humps through a petition.
"They needed 70 percent of the property owners on that road to agree and sign the petition," Bollinger said. "The petition was then verified and speed humps were installed."
However, some residents listed on petitions claimed that they had not signed it or didn't understand what they were signing.
Though the commission's solution simplified the process, it eliminated the community's say in the matter, which Bollinger said is rare.
"Most entities have some public involvement, because these are not traffic control devices like a stop sign," he said. "They're actually a road design change. We usually want all the roads smooth, not going and putting bumps on them."
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