Back-seat Driver: Who put speed humps in road?

Published: Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am

Reader George Calderon asks about what he calls the “silent policemen” on Winding Way near Hazel Avenue – his term for the speed humps that recently showed up there. He asks: Who put them there, and how were they justified?

Lupe Rodriguez of the Sacramento County Department of Transportation said the process is the generally the same. If 10 people who live on a street sign a petition for reducing speeds, the county will conduct a traffic speed study. If the county agrees vehicles are going too fast, it will work with residents on potential solutions. The county also puts up a sign with a phone number for drivers to express their opinions. In the end, though, it comes down to a vote of people who live on the street.

Speed humps are a frequent traffic slowing device on residential streets where blocks are long and where traffic should be going 35 mph or slower. Humps (unlike their steeper cousins, speed bumps, in parking lots) are sloped so cars can travel at decent speed. Even longer, flat-topped undulations are called speed tables.

Rodriguez said reactions to traffic-calming devices, like speed humps, are usually the same wherever they are installed. “People who live there and experience the traffic and speeds, support the installations,” he said. “People who drive there but don’t live on the street, generally oppose it.”

Honking horns

Reader Tim Ford recently reported an interesting issue he faces as a blind person – one that we hadn’t realized existed.

Ford, who works for the state, is legally blind. Often, when he is walking on the sidewalk, he hears “honk, honk.” Immediately, his body is on alert and his mind is racing. Is it a warning that a vehicle is careening at him? Or are two cars about to crash near him and possibly hit him? It’s especially worrisome when he’s crossing the street.

Then, when nothing happens, he says he realizes it was just someone a few feet away, clicking their key fob to lock their car door. One click locks most car doors fine. But many of us do the double click, which causes the horn to honk, which assures us the car doors really did lock.

Now, we know, it can cause at least some people nearby a jolt of worry.

Thunder Valley parking

Ron Hayes of Roseville likes to go to Thunder Valley Casino but wonders about the legality of something he’s noticed in the parking lot. Thunder Valley sometimes installs event tents in the lot, effectively blocking use of disabled-parking spots.

Turns out it’s legal, county officials say. Thunder Valley has substantially more disabled spots in its lot than required by local ordinance. So, as long as the casino maintains the minimum required number, it can cover up some for special events. A spokesman said the casino often adds a few more nearby when tents go up.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak,

(916) 321-1059.

Read more articles by TONY BIZJAK

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