Stanislaus County has a policy for speed humps: Residents can put the traffic-slowing features in their neighborhoods if they pay for them.
The county Board of Supervisors approved the policy this week to help residents deal with speeding in their neighborhoods. The policy went into effect immediately in county-governed residential areas.
According to a staff report, the California Highway Patrol has limited resources for issuing speeding tickets in the county jurisdiction.
Speed humps are one way to enforce the 25-mph limit in many neighborhoods. The 12-foot-wide obstacles are designed to slow traffic without damaging the vehicles.
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Officials expect residents will need to pay at least $10,000 for them.
Public Works Director Matt Machado said the county will likely receive a significant number of requests and does not have the resources to fund the traffic-slowing measures. Speeding in residential areas is one of the most common complaints heard by the traffic division of county Public Works.
Community leaders are considering speed humps for the main street going through Knights Ferry.
“We have a real problem with people speeding through town,” said Dolly Haskell, secretary of the Knights Ferry Municipal Advisory Council. “It’s a combination of locals and tourists who feel they need to get from Point A to Point B as fast as they can. The pedestrians are disregarded.”
Machado said staff members looked at policies in other communities before making a recommendation to county supervisors. The county will permit the humps for neighborhood streets with at least 1,200 feet between stop signs or traffic signals. They are not allowed on traffic arteries or primary routes for emergency vehicles.
Residents can ask for speed humps on 25-mph streets if drivers are commonly clocked at 32 mph or more. Residents need to circulate a petition to get approval from neighbors.
Proponents need 100 percent approval from people within 250 feet of the proposed humps and two-thirds approval from the affected the area. Noise is created when drivers brake before the humps or truck loads shift while going over them. The additional noise is the reason for getting consent from the nearest residents.
The 100 percent approval area is 150 feet for streets like the one in Knights Ferry with 15-mph speed limits. It is 350 feet for streets marked 35 mph.
When residents bring a petition to the county, Public Works will estimate how much they will need to pay for an engineering study and traffic counters. Residents also are expected to pay the costs – from $200 to $1,000 – for county staff to analyze the traffic data and verify if the street meets the guidelines.
Applications are reviewed by law enforcement and fire protection districts. Installing the speed humps could cost as much as $4,000 each. Depending on the location, the county also could require residents to pay for signs or street lights.
The county is responsible for maintenance after the humps are installed.
The Knights Ferry Municipal Advisory Council has been discussing the option with the county and has begun the petition process, Haskell said. The council has not worked out details of how to pay for the humps or the cost, she said.
Knights Ferry could receive consideration for grant funding because it’s a destination for park visitors, rafting and hiking. Haskell said the humps can be designed so they’re not a problem for fire engines and ambulances.
“It would be nice for the county to provide funding,” she said.
Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321