The Thomaston City Council heard from a concerned citizen in regards to speed bumps in neighborhoods throughout town at their regular meeting held October 20. Ryan Kellett, a resident of R Street, addressed the council about several issues with the existing speed bumps, such as lack of uniformity and signage, and liability they pose for the City of Thomaston.
“I think there is a big misconception on what a speed bump is for and what is supposed to be in the road,” Kellett said. Kellett is employed as a Construction Manager with the Georgia Department of Transportation. “One of the biggest issues with what we have is there is no ordinance set up whatsoever for the placement (of the speed bumps).”
Kellett stated the speed bumps that are on streets such as R Street, 2nd Avenue or Avenue L are not the type that are designed for actual city roads, noting that many municipalities use “speed humps.” Speed humps are a roughly 12 feet long device that is about three inches high and are used to slow traffic down to about 20 miles per hour, not to cause drivers to come to a complete stop. He gave examples of other types, such as speed tables that are used when there is a crosswalk with heavy channeled pedestrian traffic, such as the ones at Upson Lee High School and speed cushions that has gaps to allow emergency personnel to travel across them easier as to not delay their response time. However, he noted that according to the Institute of Traffic Engineers, many municipalities do not install any due to the high amount of damage claims and issues with citizens’ vehicles being torn up.
“If you are going down the road and come up to a speed bump and slam on brakes because you didn’t know it was there, then the person behind you is probably going to rear end you. That is a liability to the city,” Kellett said. “Especially if it is not signed appropriately and there are no warning plates to say these are designed for five miles per hour or less or there is no uniform stripping to it.”
In addition to there being no ordinance, Kellett stated there is no procedure to decide as to where and why a speed bump should be put in. He gave the example that a resident could call and say there was excessive speeding on their road, but without a proper speed study, there is no way of knowing if a particular spot has an issue with speeding or not. He told the council there is a device that can be installed to monitor the speed of vehicles and will record the amount of traffic, their speed and the time of day so it can be known if there is a need or not. He added that most municipalities now require 85 percent of the speeding to be at least greater than five miles per hour and sometimes 10, as well as a petition signed by the residents of that neighborhood with at least 65 percent stating they would like to have the speed bumps installed.
Kellett went on to say that several city streets have speed bumps that are just illogical, such as the one on 2nd Avenue, which is only a 340-foot long street and is hardly long enough to speed on.
“It just seems like a waste of funds,” he stated. “Personally, I am against any of them, but if we are going to do it, then we should create as little liability as possible by installing the correct devices. Basically, what I am asking for is a resolution to find a program where it is not just one person complaining, and that way you can actually conduct a speed study and put these in appropriate areas. Also, I ask that the ones on R Street be removed. One of the people who wanted it, well they have moved and haven’t been there in a year, and we are all now left with the consequences.”
The council thanked Kellet for his comments, but did not offer any comments on the issue. Captain Sidney Corely of the Thomaston Police Department was also present at the meeting and stated the TPD has already placed a line item in next year’s budget for the device to do speed studies.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1