Talking about installing speed humps on a neighborhood street can be similar to talking about politics. It’s a sometimes touchy topic with strong opinions on both sides. Typically, the advocates are homeowners living on a busier street with legitimate concerns about their children’s safety, but could also be walkers, runners, bicycle riders, etc.
The Oceanview subdivision is comprised of a multitude of interconnecting streets, the majority of which dead-end in cul-de-sacs. The cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets are all interconnected with higher traffic arterial streets however, which bring us to our homes via Johns Road or Oceanview Drive/Cross Road. The arterial streets tend to be longer and straighter, therefore more prone to higher speed traffic. That’s why Oceanview Drive, Mariner Drive and Nora Drive all have permanently installed speed humps, as well as a “relatively new” stop sign on Oceanview Drive at the intersection of Highview Drive. These changes were a direct result of homeowner input. I don’t know the specific history behind the aforementioned existing speed bumps and stop sign, but if you do and want to fill the rest of us in, you can do so via the comment tab below.
This article is the result of a blog request for information about the speed hump installation process. The following is a synopsis of my findings via online research and a phone call to the Municipal Traffic Division.
The Municipality of Anchorage website currently has a Municipal Speed Hump Program webpage viewable by clicking here. They also currently have a two page Speed Hump Installation Brochure which outlines the six step process to getting speed humps installed on your street. Click here to see the brochure. Notice that I used the word “currently” to describe the above mentioned resources. The program may be in transition soon and these resources could change or disappear. In addition, there is a Municipal Traffic Calming webpage viewable by clicking here and a 13 page Traffic Calming Policy Manual with additional information on speed humps. Click here to see the manual. Note: Page one of the manual may be blank on your computer. Pages 2-13 are OK.
OK, time for a reality check. The short story is that the speed hump program has been recently reactivated after being on hold for the last three years or so. Tim Myland, the Traffic Division’s Municipal Traffic Calming Engineer, is a recent hire who is now in charge of the program. He is facing a backlog of somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 traffic calming requests and has limited funding. He’s definitely got his job cut out for him due to the 2-3 year backlog and funding limitations. Note: As policies evolve due to political and administrative changes, traffic calming alternatives to speed humps (see the Traffic Calming Policy Manual) may become more common on either a trial or permanent basis. Please note that the Traffic Calming webpage indicates that the Temporary Speed Hump Program has been suspended. There is no such indication regarding the Permanent Speed Hump Program.
Frankly, if this topic happens to be a legitimate concern in your section of the neighborhood and you want to pursue speed hump installation, a logical first step would be to contact the Municipal Traffic Division at 343-8406 or SpeedHumps@muni.org. You’ll probably get a more immediate response with a phone call. You’ll also probably end up speaking with Tim Myland in order to get current valid information and direction. You might also informally canvas your neighbors to see if there’s agreement on this topic prior to your call. After all, I don’t think the current Step 4 requirement for Petition signatures of 51% of the residents within the project boundaries will change.
Just be forewarned that it could be a long and possibly frustrating process to get a speed hump installed due to the current backlog and limited funding. However, also keep in mind that it is often the squeaky wheel that eventually gets the grease.