Concerned about the safety of their children, Mount Rainier residents rallied for traffic-calming measures to slow vehicles traveling on 32nd Street and — despite police data suggesting speeding was not a problem — they will get their wish.
After a public hearing earlier this month attended by three families from 32nd Street, the council approved the addition of two speed humps on the 4500 block of 32nd Street, between Windom Road and Arundel Street, along with a stop sign on 32nd Street and Windom Road.
“It’s as good as an outcome as any of us expected, or wanted, really, to be frank,” said Nicholas Fechter, who lives on 32nd Street.
The speed humps will cost the city $2,200 in total and will be installed by Oct. 25, weather permitting, said Michael Barnes, assistant director of Mount Rainier’s Department of Public Works.
Fechter said vehicles were speeding on 32nd Street, putting children on his block at risk. After gathering signatures from more than 60 percent of residents living on or adjacent to the 4500 block of 32nd Street, he submitted a petition to the council recommending three speed humps and a stop sign.
Mount Rainier Police Chief Michael Scott conducted a study on the 4500 block — where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour — to determine the extent of the problem. In his provided sample, presented during an Oct. 1 public hearing, four of 116 vehicles traveled more than 35 miles per hour, including one that went 48 miles per hour late on a weeknight, he said.
Scott said he did not recommend speed humps, but he backed the council’s decision to compromise — adding two speed humps and a stop sign — because of the overwhelming residential support.
“Quite frankly, the citizens who lived there decided they would feel safer if they had those speed humps,” Scott said.
Fechter said the police department’s study was problematic due to its limited sample size. He added that the residential support was enough of a reason to implement the traffic-calming devices, even if their concerns were not validated by the data.
“If it is all perspective, then reality is just perspective,” Fechter said.
Scott said the new speed humps — along with the humps in other parts of the city — are not on main roads and will not have a major impact on public safety personnel traveling to emergencies.