Spring 2002, p.15

DOT Needs New Speed Hump Policy

Read the latest news on this issue.

St. Adalbert Church in Elmhurst, Queens will not be getting the speed hump it requested last summer-and it is not because the Department of Transportation (DOT) cannot do it. A recent letter from the DOT to the church and Assemblymember Margaret Markey (who requested the humps on the church's behalf) cited Community Board 4's opposition as the reason it was denying the request. Says the DOT, "Our investigation determined that it is feasible to install two speed humps at this location." However, it concludes that, since the community is not in full agreement, the DOT is "unable to accommodate the request."

This is wrong. Community board votes are advisory. Board members are appointed to voluntary posts and should not have veto power over requests for improved pedestrian safety.

T.A. agrees that finding a community consensus on traffic calming and other changes in the traffic status quo is tough. We also recognize that many DOT officials try hard to navigate divergent community interests. But, clearly, a new, fairer, process needs to be implemented. We urge the DOT to adopt a process similar to the following:

Model Review Process for Speed Hump Requests

  • Person or institution makes request using DOT form, which is posted on Web site or can be mailed. The form requires a detailed description of the problem the hump is intended to address as well as the location.
  • DOT makes determination that hump is feasible and appropriate or inappropriate for problem and location.
  • If hump is not the right device for the location and problem, DOT recommends engineering changes to address the problem described by the applicant.
  • If the hump is declared by DOT to have merit on technical grounds, the request is forwarded with DOT's endorsement to the community board and the city councilmember for review. (A number of hump proposals would be forwarded simultaneously to save time.)
  • The community board endorses or opposes installation. If opposed, the community board must provide a technical reason for its opposition which can be substantiated.
  • DOT assesses validity of community board opposition.

T.A. believes that this new process will bring speed humps to those communities that need them in a fair and efficient manner.