Payson Council Discusses Installing Speed Humps In Neighborhoods

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The Payson Town Council approved the town's speed hump policy Thursday night with some substantial changes.

In May, the town council directed staff to expand the proposed speed hump policy into a complete town traffic-calming policy, which includes street widths, signage, landscaping, traffic islands, chicanes, on-street parking and speed enforcement.

In October, the town received a request to accelerate the speed hump section of the traffic calming policy as a way to begin evaluating speed humps prior to the completion of the overall policy.

The Surface Transportation Advisory Committee at its Dec. 6 meeting recommended approval of the policy to the council.

Councilor Andy Romance predicted the policy would be a failure as many streets such as Longhorn and Phoenix streets would not have speed humps.

He also wondered why the homeowners should foot the bill for trying to regulate speed in their neighborhoods.

Councilor Tim Fruth said he had the same concerns.

"If we can't control the speed limit, we sure as heck (should not charge them)," he said.

Public Works Director LaRon Garrett said if there was no cost associated with the speed humps, everyone would be requesting one -- even neighborhoods that have no speeding problems.

Councilor Mike Vogel addressed Payson Police Commander Don Engler, saying there should be zero tolerance for people driving 12 mph or more over the speed limit in a neighborhood.

"If it's over 12, burn them," he said.

The materials the town will use for the speed humps are rubber from recycled tires that are anchored to the asphalt.

The positive side of installing speed humps, according to the council decision request will allow the town to administer the installation of speed humps in a fair, logical and uniform manner as they are requested and may assist in maintaining slower vehicle speeds in residential areas.

The cons, according to the request, are that installation of speed humps can reduce response time for emergency service vehicles. Speed humps can also increase neighborhood noise and encourage drivers to use alternate routes.

Mayor Bob Edwards said he is not a big fan of speed humps, and added he is not sure that installing them would be the best solution.

"Speed humps will create controversy and a lot of problems," Edwards said before the meeting. "We need to find a way to keep the streets safe."

He mentioned photo radar as one possibility to encourage drivers to slow down.

Engler said the PPD made a request to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety for a portable radar unit and was turned down for the entire amount.

They asked for a little more than $18,000, and ended up getting about $2,000.

To get speed humps into a neighborhood, 70 percent of the nearby residents would have to agree to them, as well as all homeowners within 100 feet of where the humps would be installed.

The estimated cost is $3,500 to $4,500 per speed hump.

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