Opinion: Slow road sets right example

With one speed hump painted yellow, a three-man city crew paints the second on Granite Street on Thursday. The humps ensure that the green light at Garnett Street won't entice drivers to race down the road.
With one speed hump painted yellow, a three-man city crew paints the second on Granite Street on Thursday. The humps ensure that a green light at Garnett Street won’t entice drivers to race down the road.

There’s no getting around the need to go slow on Granite Street now.

Public Works Director James Morgan and his crew installed their first speed humps Wednesday, placing two of the “traffic-calming meassures” and related signage in the 200-yard block between Chestnut and Garnett streets.

When the city workers paint the two humps yellow today, they’ll complete a process Beth Gister and her neighbors began nearly a year earlier with a petition to lower the speed limit on their street from 35 mph to 25 mph. That step took place three weeks ago.

Officially, the speed humps (wider and lower than their better-known cousins, speed bumps) are on Granite Street on a trial basis, and crews could return during the summer to rip them out. But we’re confident that these humps will prove the perfect hurdles to high-speed traffic and will become as permanent a part of the road as anything made of asphalt can be.

Still, this won’t be the end of the story for speed humps in Henderson. As City Manager Eric Williams warned the City Council in an e-mail message about Granite Street on Wednesday, “More may be coming our way.”

That’s because the city has set its precedent and its process, as painful as it was at times. It wasn’t pleasant for Gister to return to council meetings month after month — believe us, sitting through hour after hour of chatter in the council chambers is no one’s idea of entertainment — and it wasn’t much fun for the council members to toss around the same issue time and time again.

Now neighborhoods that need to slow down traffic know what to do. The city will investigate the need for measures if residents ask, and the council will look beyond the data in response to a petition with at least two-thirds of affected residents’ signatures.

In this case, the process worked. Granite Street is unusual in being a residential neighborhood that feeds immediately into the commercial strip of U.S. 1 Business (Raleigh Road). It required and received unusual measures, and, luckily, no one was hurt in the year it took to get the humps.

Most streets shouldn’t have speed humps. Taking the example of Roanoke Avenue, which the city studied at the same time as Granite Street this winter, it’s important not to ruin streets that are wide enough to serve as convenient routes from Point A to Point B for all Hendersonians. We don’t want to spend the rest of our lives bouncing up and down humps and bumps to get anywhere in town.

The important thing is that Henderson can move full speed ahead in the future in deciding when and where it needs to act to slow all of us down.