The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

By Sean C. Morgan
Of The New Era 

Council puts brakes on 1st Ave.‘speed bumps’ plan


March 31, 2015

The Sweet Home City Council sent city staff members back to the drawing boards in the attempt to solve First Avenue’s ongoing complaints about traffic after rejecting a proposal to install “speed humps.”

The council considered three bids during its regular meeting on March 24 to install three asphalt speed humps on First Avenue, the lowest at a cost of $10,800.

Staff decided three would be optimal, said Public Works Director Mike Adams. Previous discussions had been for four speed tables.

The speed humps were placed to avoid impeding driveways, Adams said.

Staff also asked for bids for speed humps as opposed to “speed tables,” which had been suggested last year, after learning that speed tables don’t have much effect.

Traffic Safety Committee members brought forward an idea for speed bumps that could be purchased and installed for $750 to $1,100 each, said Councilor Greg Mahler. He asked why staff is proposing asphalt speed humps instead.

The speed humps use some recycled components and will provide the best value in the long term, Adams said. They won’t need to be replaced as often.

The other style is a temporary plastic design, said City Manager Craig Martin, and they won’t stand up to the traffic on First Avenue. They will become broken and loose, potentially a liability to the city if they damage a vehicle.

Councilor Dave Trask said his view on First Avenue is different.

“For me, it’s not a speed issue,” Trask said. “It’s a volume issue.”

Based on surveys conducted by a volunteer for the Sweet Home Police Department, few cars speed on First Avenue, Trask said. If the city installs three speed humps, his question is whether the council will need to install them on Elm Street or Long Street.

“Or 12th,” said a member of the audience.

Trask said he has a bit of a problem spending $10,800 before knowing how the speed humps will change traffic.

“That may not take care of the problem,” he said, and it might set up a precedent for Fifth Avenue, for example.

“I’m also concerned about the cost here,” said Councilor Jeff Goodwin. “I’m concerned it’ll backfire,” particularly if the concern is about the amount of traffic.

The consensus of the Traffic Safety Committee, which recommended speed tables, was to get it done, Mahler said. The issue has been discussed for many years.

“I agree with Councilor Trask,” Mahler said. “There’s not a speed problem. There’s a volume problem, but we have a volume problem on Elm, 18th, 12th.”

Goodwin moved to cancel the project and direct staff to evaluate less expensive alternatives. The council voted 6-0 to cancel the project.

Present at the meeting were councilors Mahler, Goodwin, trask, Mayor Jim Gourley, Ryan Underwood and Bruce Hobbs. Marybeth Angulo was absent.

In other business, the council:

n Approved an agreement to update the Linn County Deadly Force Plan. Oregon law requires each county to have a plan outlining the protocol to be used by law enforcement personnel when applying deadly physical force.

The plan was approved in 2014 and has been updated to reflect current policies and best practices, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn.

n Appointed Todd Branson to succeed Mona Waibel on the Parks Board. His term will expire on March 12. Waibel resigned because she was unable to continue regularly attending meetings.

n Approved numerous revisions to the city ordinance following the third reading.


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