Winter 1999-2000, p.8

City Hall Affirms Support for Speed Humps

At a City Council meeting on November 8th, DOT Commissioner Wilbur Chapman told a panel that "speed humps were a Band-Aid instantaneous relief. We do not think it's in the best interest to expand the project." He also added, erroneously, that brighter signs, upgraded street markings and new one-way streets were more effective than speed humps in combating speeding and dangerous driving.

The Commissioner's comments were especially unfortunate and ill-timed given the recent passage of the NYC Slow Speed and Traffic Calming legislation and the 1000 outstanding requests for speed humps from neighborhoods around the City. As elected officials, transportation advocates and citizens were quick to point out after the Commissioner's comment, speed humps are not 'Band Aids', but in fact just what the doctor ordered. They have strong support from neighborhoods all over the city because of their ability to slow speeds, reduce accidents by 50% and save lives.
Fortunately, according to a Daily News editorial in support of speed humps, City Hall overruled the Commissioner the next day and announced that the City's speed hump program would continue full steam ahead. There will be 130 new speed humps in NYC by July 2000, bringing the total to almost 500.

While the public uproar around Commissioner Chapman's comments helped to further show the Mayor and elected officials the tremendous support that exists for speed humps and traffic calming in NYC, it also pointed to a marked lack of any coherent city policy regarding their use. Indeed, the Staten Island Advance wrote in a November 30th editorial that no one - not the public, community board district managers or city council members - has been able to get a straight answer from DOT on their policy toward speed humps.

T.A. was heartened to see City Hall stand behind speed humps and commit to firmly moving ahead with traffic calming. Now DOT needs to develop and make public an explicit speed hump and traffic calming policy and a comprehensive traffic calming plan for the next two years. The Neighborhood Streets Network has sent a sign-on letter from all 63 groups to Mayor Giuliani asking him to put the new Slow Speed and Traffic Calming law to work and to expand the City's traffic calming program. The Network hopes to meet with the Mayor's Office and DOT early in the new year.

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