Akron considering street ‘humps’ for residential streets

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AKRON, Ohio - Some residential streets in Akron may soon get a true facelift.

After getting complaints of motorists speeding through neighborhoods, city officials have been studying a plan to put speed humps, not speed bumps, on residential streets where a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit is frequently ignored.

Councilman Mike Freeman, who lives on 19th Street, said the speed humps are 12-feet long, gradually rise to a height of four inches, and are much different from the speed bumps motorists are used to seeing.

"A speed bump at your local grocery store is about 12 inches wide and you feel a very violent jolt if you go over it at 25 to 30 miles per hour, but a speed hump, if you are going 20 to 25 miles an hour, you are going to feel and hear very little," said Freeman.

"If you go over it at 35 to 40 miles per hour, there is a good chance you may lose a little metal off the bottom of your car," he added.

Public Works Manager James Hall traveled to Toledo to check out the speed hump system that has already been in place there for 30 years.

"Their program has been around for quite a while. They have really got it down to a science. It was very nice to meet with them and go over all the pitfalls they got into when implementing the program. And we want to make sure [with our program] that we make all the right decisions going forward," said Hall.

And making those decisions comes with a cost. These humps are said to range from $2,000 to $4,000 each.

The first of them could be installed sometime this year, but before they are widespread throughout Akron, the city will need to do a study to determine where the greatest violations occur.

City Council will also have to determine how to pay for the project.

One consideration is assessing homeowners on the streets where the humps are installed.

The city already allows homeowners to share the cost of improvement projects on streets where fifty percent of residents agree to the improvements.

Hall said the speed hump construction could fall into that description, although any plan to finance the project is premature.

Residents of Akron who live on streets where the speed limit is 25 seem to have mixed feelings about the plan.

"Every time the city wants to do something to the roads, then the homeowner gets stuck with the bill," said Larry Widder, who has called his councilman numerous times to complain about the speed on his street.

Most agree something needs to be done.

"I think it would be a great idea because people need to slow down due to children and pets," said Bryan Balas.

The speed hump program, according to Hall, is in its "very, very early stages."

Hall told Fox 8 News that there will be no resurfacing money used for the humps.

"I know there's going to be some people who are going to say 'forget about the speed humps, just fix my street right now,' but I think once they see how effective they are, especially those who have children in their community, I think folks will be sold," said Freeman.