‘Traffic-calming’ speed humps meet adoption hurdle|One resident speaks out in public hearing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A comprehensive policy to allow residents to apply to Warren County for speed humps in residential neighborhoods remains at least 30 days from adoption, with strict criteria on how many residents it will take to further the process likely to stay in the final version.

After a few letters a year for several years, supervisors decided late last year to develop an ordinance on  “traffic-calming measures,” most often seen in the form of raised bumps or mini-traffic circles. A draft under review allows a resident or group of residents to apply for such a device, then secure signatures from at least 80 percent of residents in an affected area within 60 days if county engineers deem the area worthy of speed controls based on traffic counts. Petitions to have a device removed after a year in service must also come from 80 percent of residents.

Public comment during a hearing Monday came from a single speaker, but centered on driving habits and annual attempts to legalize radar for sheriff’s departments.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“What you do with the speed bumps and speed circles is you penalize people who aren’t breaking the law,” said Margaret Gilmer, general manager of the Outlets at Vicksburg and longtime Openwood subdivision resident.

Supervisors have cited the use of roads in subdivisions as convenient detours from major thoroughfares as the reason for putting the issue on a fast track this year.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald said those complaints have also come from those “who walk or ride bikes” on Newit Vick Drive in Openwood. Residents of nearby Fairways subdivision “will cut through Newit Vick, go around the developed side of the way” en route to Oak Ridge Road.

Gilmer, who opposed McDonald for his seat in 2007, referred to roadside flower gardens along Washington Street as a traffic-calmer that has worked, but expressed doubt the idea would garner long-range support in county subdivisions.

“Most people, when they get them, they want them taken out,” Gilmer said.

District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale, who furthered the idea following a letter signed by residents on Bradford Drive, off Fisher Ferry Road, made assurances — with the draft copy in hand — the devices will be built only according to language spelled out in the ordinance, once adopted.

“This doesn’t mean we’re going to go out and put traffic-calming devices out all over,” Lauderdale said. “This is strictly the guidelines for us to have for when we do get (the devices).”

Costs specifically marked for speed bumps do not appear in the 2009-10 operating budget. To be decided in the final policy is the eligibility of votes in the petitioning process — for example, whether tenants in rental property may vote or just the owner — and how many votes count per household.

Also mentioned was the lack of radar checks of vehicle speeds to curtail speeding. Bills are routinely filed in the Legislature to expand the use of radar to county sheriff’s departments, none of which have passed as general state laws.

As planned, the policy would be a bit more stringent than Jackson’s rules on traffic calming devices. Affected areas there must support the idea with at least 75 percent before any devices are built.

At about $3,000 each, speed humps would have the lowest installation costs compared to circles or other road designs and can be styled either long or short, according to county engineering firm ABMB Engineers Inc.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at dbarrett@vicksburgpost.com