Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Lanham residents say new speed humps are a success

Less speeding is occurring through neighborhoods

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Lanham residents have expressed satisfaction with the recent construction of speed humps on Nashville and Trexler roads in their Kingswood neighborhood.

Eight speed humps were constructed on Nashville Road and another four on Trexler Road on Oct. 28, and residents say the long-awaited traffic-calming devices have contributed to reduced speeding on both roads.

Speed humps are a gradual raised pavement surface, averaging 10 to 14 feet in length and 3 to 4 inches in height. They differ from speed bumps, which are more abrupt raised areas typically about 6 inches in height and less than 3 feet in length, according to trafficcalming.org, an online guide to neighborhood traffic management.

‘‘The community has changed 180 degrees,” said Hakeem Muhammed, vice president of the Kingswood Civic Association. ‘‘We don’t have anyone racing through there like NASCAR anymore.”

Muhammed said residents had been lobbying for speed humps on the two roadways for ‘‘a few years,” but were unable to drum up enough support in the past.

‘‘We tried to get speed humps before, but it just didn’t happen,” Muhammed said.

Last summer, Muhammed and other members of the Kingswood Civic Association took a petition advocating for the construction of speed humps to residents on Nashville and Trexler roads. More than 120 residents signed the petition, Muhammed said, surpassing the 60 percent required by the Department of Public Works and Transportation.

‘‘We had a few people who objected to it, but overall I’d say the community widely supported this,” Muhammed said. ‘‘It was a total community effort to have this happen.”

Councilman Eric Olson (D-Dist. 3) of College Park toured the neighborhood in July and helped the neighborhood in their quest to have speed humps constructed.

‘‘We worked closely with the community on the speed hump issue,” Olson said. ‘‘The community did a great job and the Kingswood Civic Association gathered an overwhelming number of signatures on their petition.”

After the petition was signed by more than 60 percent of the residents on the two streets an application for speed hump construction was submitted to the DPWT.

Once the petition was received with the required signatures, the DPWT traffic division conducted a traffic study to ensure that the speed humps were warranted, said Susan Hubbard, a spokeswoman for DPWT.

She said the study takes into account the number of cars exceeding the speed limit, if any schools or playgrounds are in the vicinity, the number of accidents on the roadway and any increases in population or the number of vehicles.

It was determined that the two streets did indeed meet the criteria for speed hump construction, Hubbard said.

John Sloan, a longtime Kingswood resident, said that in years past there has been quite a lot of speeding on Nashville Road.

‘‘It was so much traffic going up and down Nashville and they were always speeding, going 50, 60 miles down that street,” Sloan said. ‘‘We had to do something to calm that traffic, and the speed humps have helped tremendously.”

E-mail Jonathan Stein at jstein@gazette.net.