How about speed bumps on Valley Road?

The in basket: Merry McAllister of Valley Road on Bainbridge Island has renewed her campaign to make the road safer for pedestrians with a proposal for speed bumps. She learned via a previous Road Warrior column in November that there’s no likelihood of the road’s narrow to non-existent shoulders being widened for six years or longer.

“Could we get two or three LOW profile speed bumps on Valley, especially going downhill?” she asked in a new e-mail. “One could be at Parkhill, one at Kallgren, and another at Hyla.  Any of these would be appreciated. Maybe just start with one at Hyla, so folks get used to it and don’t start aeroplaning going down the hill.

“A sign saying ‘speed bump ahead’ always gets some attention, too,” she said. “Shouldn’t be too expensive.”

The out basket: I told Merry that most jurisdictions won’t approve speed bumps for arterials, and Valley looks like it would fall within that prohibition. But I asked the city about the idea.

K. Chris Hammer, the city’s engineering manager, replied, “Valley Road is classified as a secondary arterial street. (It) is traveled by nearly 3,000 vehicles each day, serving the Rolling Bay Town Center and connecting to many neighborhoods.

“The city has not placed speed bumps on secondary arterials and collector streets,” he said. “There are reasons for this. The primary one is that speed bumps themselves can present a hazard to the traveling public. Another issue is that emergency responders may have a good reason to travel at or higher than the posted speed limit. Maintaining response times to under 5 minutes for paramedics can be the difference between life and death and the severity of a fire can double every two minutes. Ambulances transporting the injured/ critically ill must slow to a crawl over speed bumps.”

Valley Road comes closer than many others to meeting a key measure of how appropriate the posted speed limit is, the so-called 85th percentile, according to the most recent speed study there.

“Designers must consider what speeds most drivers are comfortable driving on a segment of roadway and design the roadway to safely accommodate that speed,” Chris said. “This speed is known as the 85% speed (15% traveling faster, 85% at or lower) which in this location is 35mph, coincidentally the same as the posted speed.”

The 85th percentile is often slightly higher than the posted speed on other roads and highways.

“The city is looking to scoping a speed limit study of its 35mph streets and both Valley and Sunrise (the cross street in Rolling Bay) may be good candidates,” he said. “In 2013 we studied the 40-mph-posted speed streets and the speed zones approaching the Island’s town centers. One result was extending the speed controlled zone (lower speed) for the Rolling Bay Town Center further north on Sunrise.”

One thought on “How about speed bumps on Valley Road?

  1. You know they should call the speed bumps on Tracyton Blvd in Silverdale, Stop bumps. I dont know what kind of road Tracyton Blvd is considered but just about everyday you will see cars backed up on that road because when most drivers see those speed bumps (which while big and wide, they are pretty smooth to go over) they will come to almost a complete stop and then slowly go over them. Well when you have 4 of them in a relatively short distance it can back up cars and its even worse when there are a couple cars that do that. And you know I do believe that those are the only speed bumps on any roads in Silverdale. Not real sure why those are there. Its funny to see Fire Trucks and Ambulances try to go over them. I dont think I have ever seen a sheriff car go down that road. Did see a WSP go that way once, but he was actually pulling someone over.

    I can understand the purpose of speed bumps, I tried for years to get some put in the neighborhood streets on Bangor after a couple kid almost got hit from speeding cars. But on base if you are a dependent or service member and you get hit, they say watch out for cars but if you are a civilian worker and you get hit you will see speed bumps pop up overnight. But I can also see why there are streets that dont need them. If you live on a street that is off the main roads then yes put them in, but if your road is very well traveled no matter the speed limit, then no dont put them in.

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