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Dear PoP – Speed Bumps Getting Removed on Clifton between 13th and 14th, NW

by Prince Of Petworth May 26, 2010 at 9:42 pm 49 Comments

“Dear PoP,

I just returned home from an appointment this morning and noticed a road crew on my block that had just broken up and removed the three speed humps that were installed less than a week and a half ago. I asked them about it and they said someone on the block didn’t want them there. I can only assume that person has some sort of power that I do not. This is a residential street that is home to children, dogs, seniors and some folks that use wheelchairs, and is also next to Cardozo High School. Why would someone not want speed humps on our block? My husband and I had already noticed how much quieter the block has been and how much slower people drive. This just doesn’t make sense. What a waste of tax money not to mention the time and energy of the large work crew. Any clue what’s going on?”

Anyone care to speculate? This one stings a bit more given all the budget woes and compromises we’ve been witnessing.

  • Jay’O

    I’ve heard from sources inside DDOT that they really hate Speedbumps and blocks always askig for them. I don’t know if that’s because the DDOT traffic enginers love to speed traffic along, or buy the claim they hurt cars. Maybe it’s just because they represent extra work.

    Honestly, if you’re driving slowly down a residential side street, you should be going slow enough not to worry about hurting your car or speeding down the street.

    • Rick Shard

      That’s assuming it’s a properly-engineered speed bump. You can’t always assume that DDOT is that competent.

  • KStreetQB

    Despite the budget woes, they also found the cash to tear up my perfectly fine sidewalk and replace it with a fancy brick sidewalk. I mean, it looks good, but wtf?

    • Apparently the people deciding to put in brick sidewalks have never had to walk on them on icy days. They’re always significantly worse than cement. They’ve been putting in a lot of them around the Logan Square/U Street area and my fiance and I keep worrying they’ll replace ours with brick.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Jim Graham,

    Please find out how much DDOT spent putting in and then taking out speed humps. What is the process to have Speed Humps Removed? Can one resident on a street get the humps removed w/o any consultation with other residents?

    Thank you.

    A resident who wanted speed humps.

  • Ace in DC

    Below was published by Sedrick Muhammad, ANC 1B Chair, in an email earlier this week:

    “Speed Humps To Be Removed Immediately on 1300 block of Clifton St NW!

    On Friday, I announced that I secured on your behalf speed humps on the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Clifton St. NW. Our neighbor, Sabita Soneji initially brought to my attention Friday night that speed humps were also installed on the 1300 block of Clifton St. NW, which I was not aware. DDOT mistakenly installed speed humps on that block. I was informed today by DDOT that those speed humps will be removed immediately.

    As previously mentioned, I am concerned with vehicular congestion on that block. I am working on your behalf to make that block one way. I will keep you updated. Thank you for your support!

    Have a great evening!

    Commissioner Sedrick Muhammad
    ANC 1BO3
    Chairman, ANC 1B Public Safety Committee”

  • Dan

    wrong place for your feedback. Jim might not read your comment here. You should send him an e-mail and petition DDOT for speed bumps. Generally, DDOT will install speed bumps as long as 50% or more of residents support it. If petition was not done and someone complains than they might have to remove them, but they have to install them with the petition in place, so go ahead and petition.

  • Heather

    Those must have been fairly new, as that block didn’t have speedbumps when I lived there 2.5 years ago. I don’t remember traffic ever being loud, and am wondering exactly what “congestion” they were trying to prevent? I still walk by there all the time and rarely see a single car, if any, stopped at either corner.

    • ah

      “Congestion” means “more of the traffic on our street should be on the next street over.”

      • Heather

        Yeah, and what I meant was, “there’s no traffic on that street to begin with.”

  • dcjay

    The speed bumps were never supposed to have been put in on this block. Anyone who lives and/or drives on this block of Clifton, as I do, knows that speed is not an issue here. Slowness and congestion is the problem here. In fact, I believe Sedrick is working to get this block made into a one way street to help deal with the fact that it is nearly impassable.

  • Darth Fabulous

    Speed bumps kill. What if a fire truck or ambulance needs to come down your street? You want them to deal with speed bumps?

    • aNON

      Emergency vehicle drivers are trained to slow down when they approach them. I used to be an EMT and never had problems with speed bumps on ambulance calls (except one time when the driver wasn’t paying attention and we hit one and went airborne for a couple of seconds.)

      • Eric in Ledroit

        i think that’s the point – that they will be slower arriving to your house and giving you CPR

        • aNON

          I doubt that has ever happened. I volunteered for years in PG County, in areas full of speed bumps. The speed bumps never slowed our response time.

          Just because emergency vehicle operators are allowed to speed, run red lights and stop signs, etc. it doesn’t mean they can drive that way in an unsafe manner.

          Real life emergency response is nothing like you see on tv.

  • Matt

    I have lived on this block of Clifton for two years and while congestion is a major problem, that does not stop people from driving why too fast when they can. Since there installation about two weeks ago, the street seemed better and even less congested. Guess they just made people more aware and careful.

  • Kalorini

    The amount of irritating double parking that occurs on that block slows down traffic enough–speed bumps were unnecessary and I’m glad they’re gone!!

  • photodork

    They made a mistake installing them on this block. A petition never gathered enough signatures to allow speed humps on this block, just the 1100 and 1200 blocks of Clifton. The 1100 and 1200 blocks of Euclid are next, we are supposed to be on the schedule early this summer! Yay speed humps! Hopefully it will stop people from flying down Euclid, and maybe work to reduce traffic on the street. I agree with other posters comments that that stretch of Clifton is nearly impassable with all the double parking and people standing in the street talking to people in parked cars.

  • I’m happy to see them go – any reduction in the speed bump arms race is fine by me. They waste fuel, time, and increase wear and tear on cars. Speed bumps create difficulty for snowplows and emergency vehicles. In addition, I think they actually INCREASE noise over freely-flowing traffic. As drivers slow down, for the speed bump, their brakes squeal, then as they accelerate away from the speed bump, engine noise increases.

    • Ragged Dog

      Not sure about this street, but when any commercial truck goes over them you get the sound of all the cargo bouncing. It’s horrific if you’re trying to sleep.

    • photodork

      I would rather put up with more noise and less people driving 40+ down my street than the alternative.

      It also causes drivers to pay more attention, and those who want to drive recklessly will be drawn to larger thoroughfares that are more convenient to drive 40+ down.

      If people just SLOW DOWN, any additional wear and tear is negligible.

      Bring on the speed humps!

      • Belgian block. Don’t build streets for speed. Narrower lanes. And bump outs. These are all things that can be done to decrease speed without speed bumps.

        Speed bumps are lazy street design.

  • wiserpenny

    Why can’t they put speed bumps in the alleys. I can’t stand when people
    speed through the alleys to avoid traffic on the streets. We have had
    several near misses when pulling out of a parking space & slamming on
    the breaks because of people detouring through the alley. I think that the
    trash collectors & recycle trucks will be able to navigate them.

  • Dartagnan

    I hate speed bumps, they scrape the bottom of my car and large vehicles such as SUV’s many times drive faster, because that way they barely feel it. With that being said, the DC speed bumps are the best designed ones I have ever seen (I believe the ones in DC are referred to in traffic planning as “Speed Humps”). Other places I have lived, such as Puerto Rico, the speed bumps look like someone just placed a curb or a log in the middle of the street. Streets should be designed in a way to slow people down (smaller, tree-lined, and street parking), rather than huge streets that look like highways with a speed bump. With that being said, I know not everybody will drive slower on a narrower street, just like not everybody slows down for speed bumps.

  • ontarioroader

    If they started placing speed bumps in alleys we would probably see a quantifiable increase in repair costs and out of service DPW trash trucks. It does the same thing to personal vehicles, but since the total damage can’t be tallied up as quickly/easily most folks don’t seem to care.

    I can tell you being in the back of an ambulance with a patient absolutely sucks no matter how slow you go over speed bumps. I can’t imagine how bad it must be for neck/back/spinal injury patients, but if their screaming is any indication – I guess folks who choose to have bumps put on their streets are just positive thinkers who hope it’ll never happen to them.

    • Otis

      I believe one purpose of speed bumps is to reduce the number of injuries requiring transportation in an ambulance in the first place. I suppose that, as with many things in life, one cannot then have it both ways. Indeed, there is at least some anecdotal evidence that EMTs believe the trade-off to be worth it, as there are several particularly jarring speed bumps along the alleyway that ambulances take to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital, after turning off Michigan Avenue, on to hospital property. If EMTs really thought these were such a bad idea overall, perhaps the hospital would have removed them.

  • angela

    Speed bumps are actually really dangerous for bicycles. The rivets or speed table are much safer for cyclists. Personally Sedrick came down my street and asked me to sign a petition to put in speed bumps and I refused (despite 2 car chases that ended in crashes over the previous few months). I don’t own a car so the speed bumps would only affect my bicycling and the speed people drive down my street (which I’m less than worried about having the government spend my money to control).

    Why doesn’t this block of Clifton do a fundraiser to build their own speed bumps?

    • ah

      That would be a terrible solution–just because the neighbors can throw in money, they should get to build speedbumps?

      How about if I have the money I can install a remote-controlled gate at the end of my block, and get to give the remote code only to the neighbors?

    • photodork

      They don’t need speed humps there. They have already spent ‘your’ money to install them and then spent more to remove them. How are speed humps really dangerous for cyclists?

  • Badger

    I honestly think that it’s probably just the city trying to make sure it spend all of its budget. You’ve got to spend everything in order to demand more next year.

    Speed bumps have a horrible environmental impact. Though I have not seen many in use in DC, there are plenty of more eco-friendly traffic calming schemes.

    Almost awesome captcha – students buts

  • briefly

    More importantly, is it speed bump or speed hump?

  • DC Hombre

    Speed humps on Euclid??? Please say it’s true!!! Idiots drive way too fast on the 1300-1100 blocks of Euclid.

    • photodork

      It is true. They are coming to the 1100-1200 blocks of Euclid.

      • Donovan

        Years ago we asked Jim Graham about “speed humps” on Euclid and he told us that it could not be done because Euclid St. was a path for fire trucks & EMS. He acknowledged that there should be “speed humps”, but
        the emergency vehicles would have a more difficult time.
        People drive like speed demons & there are plenty of crashes there to prove it. So–what is the real story!

        • Jamie

          “there are plenty of crashes there to prove it.”

          Name one. No, seriously.

          Speed bumps are almost all on residential side streets. I can’t think of a single car accident (much less one involving a pedestrian) in all my time in DC that wasn’t on a larger road that will never have speed bumps, or was otherwise related to drunk driving/police chases/general jackassery that speed bumps would do nothing to prevent.

          Almost all car accidents take place at intersections.

          • DC Hombre

            I’ve lived on Euclid for years (8-9), and I’ve seen three serious accidents related to speed on the 13-11th stretch alone. One involved a stolen car, the other a young man on a bike who was severely injured, the other appeared to be someone who lost control swiped a bunch of parked card.

            How many years have you lived on Euclid?

          • Res

            I’ve observed at least two crashes on my side street not related to any of the criteria you describe above. I’m sure there are plenty of other examples.

  • Jeremy

    I wish someone would come take the ones off of First & V Unit Block. No one was getting hit in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes, when speed bumps go in, drivers lay on the horn as they go over them to protest. Happened on a block I used to live on. Neighbors finally decided speed was better than horns at all hours.

  • DCAV8R

    If you want speed humps, move to the suburbs. This is a city— Shoot, they installed three in a row on R Street NE, followed by two more. Why make it more difficult on cars than the road conditions already are.

  • It sounds like most of you want suburban life in an urban setting. Don’t you know speed humps will force more traffic on to arterials? You all sound like you’re taking a page out of Fairfax’s planning and zoning guide.

    • Jamie

      Ridiculous. What “arterial” is an alternative to Clifton, or almost any side street? The traffic on that street is people cruising around or people trying to get somewhere nearby.

      Nobody’s going down Clifton street to avoid anything. For the love of god it’s only two blocks long! It doesn’t go anywhere.

      • Scott

        I think the real point of all “traffic calming” devices is to increase congestion to the point that drivers just quit driving. The arms-race only ensures that all streets become congested.

        Let’s all just drive 5MPH!!! Yay!

        I am so glad that 99% of the time I’m not driving.

  • Jamie

    “Why would someone not want speed humps on our block?”

    Because, er, not everyone agrees that they are a good thing?

    I hate them, especially the way they are usually installed in DC. There is no consistency in the design and size of them. My car has pretty low ground clearance, and it’s extremely difficult to navigate over some of them without bottoming out. I have to basically inch forward.

    Other than that, what do they accomplish? I have one in front of my house, and here is my experience.

    The real problem people who zoom through neighborhoods do it anyway, and don’t seem to care that their POS car bottoms out.

    Lots more noise because of that, and also because everyone else has to stop and then just zooms off as soon as they are past it.

    Snow plows do a much worse job of snow removal. Streets and plows get damaged when snowplows hit them. Emergency vehicles take potentially much longer to respond and get to a hospital.

    Wasted gas, noisier streets, damage to cars, slower emergency response, and highly debatable value in slowing traffic in the first place.

    Why would anyone not want them?

    I would pay large sums of money to have the one in front of my house REMOVED.

  • DL

    Speed bumps suck. They are the biggest nuisance on the planet for me as a driver. I can’t stand them. Most people don’t speed. Some people do. Here’s an idea: don’t walk in the middle of the street, it’s not there for you to walk in it. Cross at the crosswalk or corner. You let your kids play in the street? Shame on you. I lived in Manhattan for years, and people there drive FAST! No speed bumps, humps, mole hills or otherwise. This speed bump bonanza has got to stop. Or maybe we ought to put them on 16th St too, and Conn. Ave while we’re at it. Hey, let’s put them on I-95 – people speed there too.

  • Anonymous

    Does DDOT gather resident opinions before they install speed bumps in the first place? Or is it their own (clouded) judgment?

    • Many speed bumps are installed at the request of residents.

      There needs to be a well documented need for the speed bumps, 75% of residents on that street have to sign a petition, the ANC weighs in and then someone from DDOT makes the final decision.

      Search the DC.gov website and you can find all the criteria for installing speed bumps on residential streets.


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