Letters to the EditorNews

Go Slow on Boulevard and Watch for Speed Humps

There are new speed bumps or cushions or whatever you prefer to call them on Boulevard east of Chase Street, and I’m interested to see how they’re settling in, so I go out for a jaunt. It’s hot outside, but the breeze is cooler than it has been. The humid hair dryer isn’t pelting hot, sticky air in my face today; instead a cool, soft wind is dabbing the beads of sweat from my brow as soon as they start rolling off—a pleasant companion for a walk down Boulevard.  

Making myself a seat from a large tree stump, I have a clear view of one of the newly installed safety features. The speed bumps are the same design as the ones on the opposite side of Boulevard: curb-high tables with shallow pitching ramps on either side.  Decorative bricks line the edge where the ramps level with the tabletop. The key difference with these new speed cushions compared to their older counterparts is the lack of hi-visibility reflective paint on the ramps to warn drivers of their existence—a significant disadvantage to motorists, otherwise familiar with the street or not, navigating an obstacle that didn’t exist a week ago, evidence of which becomes immediately apparent.

A gray sedan taking Boulevard at its posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour does not see the speed table coming at all. The underside of the car’s nose scrapes on the decorative brick as the front wheels meet the ramp. The tires continue their upward trajectory off the edge of the table before touching back down close to the opposite ramp. Gravity plunges the full weight of the car on its suspension, causing it to stumble down the other side back to level ground. A few minutes later, a black crossover vehicle slams on its brakes just in time to screech over the obstacle at half-speed. While both of these cars did manage to slow down, the smell of burning rubber leaves me with the feeling that the speed cushions add more unpredictability to the road than safety. 

I have to imagine that the hi-res paint is coming, and with a slight learning curve, the daily Boulevard-goers will adjust without issue. For now though, it might be wise to be extra mindful of how you’re taking the roads you journey on. Roll the windows down and let the late summer air cool you. Notice the joggers, cyclists and babies in strollers, and give them a friendly wave. It’s never a bad idea to take it slow when you’re in the neighborhood. Taking it slow is good for you, not to mention good for your car, too, when it comes to driving over speed bumps.