Re: Where will the speed bumps lead us? | Diane Steinle column, Dec. 20
Bumps a good idea gone mad
I very much appreciated your piece on speed bumps as it was a voice of sanity in an otherwise fanatical approach to traffic calming.
I live in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood, which is constantly under siege to have more calming devices installed. The community has voted them down every time they were presented, however, many were installed in spite of our protests, I believe due to the "squeaky wheel."
I have driven these streets for 30 years and have rarely seen careless driving or read of accidents in this area to warrant any special traffic attention. I have lived in my current home for 17 years and in order to exit my neighborhood I must now negotiate three more stop signs and two speed bumps on roads that have always been safe to drive on or walk along. More are proposed.
It seems that parents are not taking responsibility for their children's safety by watching them while in their front yard. Instead they are transferring this extra responsibility to the driving public via traffic calming on roads that have not had an increase or even a history of vehicular collisions.
I believe that traffic calming at one time on some roads was necessary, however, it was a good idea that has gone horribly wrong. It seems that I am in the majority who feel this way and would favor of an initiative to eliminate the unnecessary devices already installed and severely restrict the proliferation of new traffic calming through more realistic regulation.
I thank you for your attention to this issue and allowing me to vent some frustration.
Ken Ford, St. Petersburg
Look at the big picture on traffic
Interesting viewpoint, which misses the point. "Traffic calming" is not the problem, it is the symptom of another much larger problem: obsession with cars and highways due to urban sprawl development, which is car friendly, not people friendly.
Florida, for all intents and purposes, gives short shrift to pedestrians or any alternative to cars and highways. That helps explain why the Tampa Bay region is one of the worst in the nation for pedestrian accidents caused by cars operated by inattentive or distracted drivers (texting, tweeting, etc.).
Because of traffic-choked highways, drivers seek alternative routes, often through residential streets, attempting to avoid the inevitable slow-down or gridlock. Those drivers fail to exercise due caution when navigating those often unfamiliar streets, ergo: pedestrian accidents.
In order to avoid those accidents, people-friendly traffic-calming schemes are the quickest solution. Or would you rather wait decades for Florida to pursue alternatives to cars and highways?
I'll take those traffic calming schemes, thank you very much.
Mike MacDonald, Clearwater
Speed limits make no sense
I read with interest and approval your commentary on the plethora of "traffic calming" devices. I have a related observation and question. In many neighborhoods there is a posted speed limit of 25 or 35 mph. It should be assumed the agency setting speed limits determined that was the appropriate speed limit for those streets.
However, on the same streets there are also speed bumps with a posted speed limit of 15 mph. My question is, if 25 or 35 is the appropriate speed, why slow people down to 15? If 15 is the appropriate speed, why have it posted at 25 or 35?
It seems that you are correct and someone is responding to isolated complaints in a neighborhood rather than an overall traffic plan.
Bill Johnson, Longboat Key
Fact: Speed bumps work
Diane Steinle, in her column on speed bumps, displays the same arrogant ignorance we always see from people who are too superior for speed bumps.
Nowhere does she mention children killed or injured, pets killed, lawns and foliage destroyed by speeders running over them, or sprinkler systems for whole neighborhoods being broken by jerks who think a corner lawn is to drive over, nor personal threats and property damage to volunteers who work on traffic control. All of this has happened in my neighborhood.
I'm sorry to read that Ms. Steinle finds Clearwater (and other) governments so ineffective at traffic calming. Perhaps they could study St. Petersburg's system, which though arduous (perhaps to discourage the frivolous), works just fine.
News flash: No one loves speed bumps. But they're a major way to deter inattentive speeders from threatening our children, and they are relatively cost-effective. (The other way to deter speeders, of course, is vigorous enforcement, but more officers takes more money than we're apparently willing to spend.)
Of course it's a shame to have to spend money defacing our streets' appearance. But as long as we have people who think car keys give them the right to disregard every other person — literally, to run over them — we need bumps and whatever else anyone can devise to keep these crazies under some control.
Eileen O'Sullivan, St. Petersburg