April 27, 2012: THE TIMES PICAYUNE: GRETNA, LA
Gretna speed bumps praised in new traffic study
Despite some residents' complaints, a Gretna program to reduce speeding with traffic-calming devices has been deemed a success after a study in the targeted neighborhoods. Now city officials are considering installing the devices in other areas.
Councilman Vincent Cox III plans next week to release the findings from a traffic study examining speed cushions and speed tables placed in the Rose Park and Bellevue Gardens subdivisions. The city spent about $70,000 for the devices in response to long-standing resident complaints about speeding in the subdivisions, particularly parents bringing their children to a nearby parochial school.
He will release the results at a meeting Thursday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Gretna Middle School, 910 Gretna Blvd.
The report prepared by the city's engineering consultant found that speeding has been reduced by more than 20 percent in some areas, and that about 70 percent of all drivers in the subdivision now obey the speed limit. In one instance on Hero Drive, vehicle speed decreased by nearly 10 miles per hour. Before the devices were installed, about 50 percent of drivers in the neighborhood exceeded the speed limit, and 8 percent of them were well over the speed limit, the report said.
Not only have residents told Cox the program is working, he said has seen it for himself. He said he recently asked the Gretna Police Department to station officers in the subdivision to issue tickets, and only one ticket was issued in the first day of coverage, a sharp departure from years past.
'I think it's working,' Cox said. 'The support has been overwhelming.'
But some residents aren't happy with the devices. They say the racket from cars traveling over the speed bumps and cushions along with the vibrations the vehicles cause has disrupted their quality of life. Several residents have attended City Council meetings to get an explanation for how decisions were made on where to place the devices. They have asked Cox to move the devices from in front of their homes.
But the traffic study found that vibrations from crossing vehicles are not strong enough to affect residents' homes. Cox said moving the devices is unreasonable and would create additional problems. He said the speed bumps and cushions were placed by the city's engineers and he said he trusts their judgment.
'I've got to rely on the engineers' data on this issue,' he said.
Cox said the positive feedback has outweighed the complaints. He plans to install curbing to keep motorists from driving into residents' front yards to avoid the devices.
And Cox is eyeing other areas that he said could benefit from the devices. Councilwoman Raylyn Beevers also is considering installing them in her district.