When it comes to slowing traffic down, there are better ways to do it than adding speed bumps, Greenwood City Councilman Johnny Jennings says.
A couple of speed bumps placed on Riverside Drive and West Jeff Davis Avenue a few years ago have been pulled up while the city considers possible solutions. Both locations are in Ward 1, which Jennings represents.
“I think that those things really tear cars up,” Jennings said Tuesday.
Jennings has said for several years that “speed humps” — gradual, sloping stretches of asphalt — and better enforcement of speed limits are better than the bumps.
In fact, he said speed bumps are a contradiction because people pay taxes for smooth roads and a police department that is supposed to enforce traffic laws.
“I am concerned about the neighborhood with kids playing. I really do want to slow the traffic down. It can be solved by speed humps,” he said.
As an experiment, Jennings recently set up a “Go Pro” camera to photograph the cars that crossed over the Riverside Drive speed bump.
“Out of 100 or so cars, only eight or 10 of them slowed down. People actually speed up,” he said.
Speed bumps such as those are really intended for parking lots and places where pedestrians cross a road, Jennings said.
“I’m tired of persecuting people who obey the laws for those that don’t,” he said.
Jennings said he wants to make sure the police enforce the city’s speed limit of 15 miles per hour around parks and schools.
He cited the example of Gordo, Alabama, which is widely known as a “speed trap.” He said he has never gotten a ticket there because he obeys the speed limit. “You can start a mind set,” he said.
Mayor Carolyn McAdams said she doesn’t like either speed bumps or speed humps. She said she’s heard from residents that they don’t want the bumps on Jeff Davis replaced.
“The ones that were there didn’t serve the public,” she said. “People are actually speeding up to get over them. It’s more dangerous.”
But McAdams said Jennings’ idea for an enhanced enforcement program wouldn’t work. “We don’t have the police patrols to be on every street,” she said. “We ask people to be mindful of the speed limit.”
The mayor said that citizens who would like to have speed bumps need to make sure that a large percentage of a neighborhood supports their use: “Some people like them; some people hate them.”
Early in her tenure as mayor, McAdams had speed bumps placed on East President Avenue. After an uproar, they were quickly removed.
She added that speed humps like those favored by Jennings cost around $4,200 apiece, so she’s not sure if that is feasible in an era of tight budgets.
• Contact Bob Darden at 581-7239 or bdarden @gwcommonwealth.com.