Every day has become hump day in parts of East Washington.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback. A lot of it has been good, and a lot of it has been bad,” police Chief David Bradley said of speed humps, which the borough installed July 10 on South Wade, Wilmont and Christman avenues, and Thayer and Harrison streets.
The reason for the raised surfaces, the chief explained, is simple: “We wanted to slow down traffic in those areas. We’ve gotten numerous reports of people not coming to a complete stop and driving over the speed limit. We were limited in the options we had.”
So the municipality turned to the appropriately named speed humps, which are affixed to roadways that a growing number of towns have deployed to thwart overzealous motorists. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in its online Traffic Calming Handbook, says “speed humps are by far the most popular traffic calming measure in the United States.”
Although it is too early to properly gauge their effect in his borough, Bradley is impressed early on.
“It seems to have limited the traffic on South Wade and has reduced speed – at least on South Wade, Harrison and Christman,” he said.
In East Washington, they are made of hard plastic, rise 2 3/8 inches above the road surface and span the width of these five streets. These humps are shorter than those installed in some municipalities. “There is a 4-inch maximum and the recommended height is 3 to 4 inches,” said Jay Ofsanik, safety press officer at PernnDOT District 12 in Uniontown.
Yet a shorter hump should still serve as a deterrent in East Washington. A driver cruising toward one without properly decelerating risks loosening a molar.
Bradley said the cost of this project wasn’t prohibitive, estimating it at about $9.000. The humps themselves, he added, “were less than $4,000.”
Although the devices have been in place for only eight days, that has been long enough to polarize segments of residents and motorists alike.
“I understand the borough trying to curb speeding because most streets are residential. But putting in humps that are intended for parking lots is like having a broken leg and having the cast put on the arm,” said Patrick McGill, a Wilmont resident.
He said a driver has to come to a complete stop at a hump. McGill, in particular, is wary that the smaller car he drives will be damaged.