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Speed bumps can improve safety, cause safety concerns
Dear Street Smarts, Q: We need a speed bump on Rodriguez Street to get some of the cut-through's stopped. One out of 100 cars that come down our section of Rodriguez -- between Capitola Extension and 7th Avenue -- actually live there. Many use my driveway to turn around creating a dangerous situation for my family and neighbors as they whip in for whatever reason to turn around. In, addition I learned that the previous owner of my property had his dog killed by a speeding car day-one of his move in. The neighbor across the street also had their dog hit by a car. Since I have been here, cars whipping in my driveway nearly killed my mother as she unloaded her groceries. We need to calm this. I have spoken with others on that portion of the road and all are in agreement. The bump should go in front of the Holy Cross Cemetery entrances where it won't impact anyone but would do some traffic calming and deter folks from using our neighborhood street for a speed-through. Years ago, we had asked and were told we would have to pay for it ourselves, what are all those high taxes were paying going to, right? We need this Ramona, there are many children including mine that would be safer for it. I think one speed bump, a big one, and appropriate signs would suffice. Once ALL the cut thru's realize this is no longer a shortcut to 7th, our nice little street will return to just that. Hope you can help, Rod Miller, Rodriguez St. A: Speed humps, or bumps, are a tricky subject. Yes, they slow down traffic for awhile but then I have heard stories of drivers using them to catch air. They also cause noise as drivers slow down on approach then hit the gas after passing the speed humps. Local governments have set up programs to have neighborhoods seeking these traffic control devices to pay for them because in the past, communities would rally for the humps, the public entity installed them, then complaints came in about them with requests for their removal. What's more, traffic and speed on adjacent streets without speed bumps increases, causing those neighbors to complain. Meanwhile, first responders tend to lobby against installing speed humps because they slow their response time to emergency calls. Seconds count when lives are in danger. But there are other ways to calm traffic. Take a look at the Rio del Mar community that set out "Drive Like Your kids Live Here" signs in just about every yard: http://www.santacruzlive.com/streetsmarts/2013/10/09/neighborhood-addresses-speeders-head-on/. Try talking with public works or your government representative about ways to creatively, legally and inexpensively alter your street to entice drivers to slow down. Some years ago, I covered a gent who was sharing traffic calming strategies to communities seeking to take back their neighborhoods from speeders. Key ideas I took away: Have all your neighbors pledge to obey all traffic laws, as many of neighborhood offenders are our neighbors. Go outside. Over the years, people stopped hanging out outside their front doors. Children no longer play out front and adults don't mingle with their neighbors. These activities tell drivers people live here and it gives them something to be careful for. Empty streets, save for parked cars, fallen leaves, the occasional squirrel or pet and traffic signs give lead-footed drivers the all-clear to tear down the street.