Norristown Municipal Council March 15 steered their work session meeting toward a solution for speeding cars on residential streets.
Municipal officials discussed using removable speed humps as the preferred method to slow down cars that zoom along streets throughout many areas of the municipality. Speed humps will cost about $2,500 each and the Public Works department will be able to remove them as needed for any street maintenance, including snow removal in the winter.
The municipality would not place speed humps at random, leaving it up to residents to affect the change they desire.
“Part of the problem with us doing it is that we shouldn’t put ourselves in the position of determining for the residents where (we) should do it,” said Municipal Administrator Crandall O. Jones at the meeting. “Some people on the block will feel differently about it. That’s why you ask the residents. We’ll give you the criteria of 75 percent of you guys signing, and we’ll engage the process.”
Residents who want a speed hump will have to file an official petition with the municipality that includes the signatures of at least 75 percent of the residents on the block where they believe a hump is needed. A review process of the site will commence and the police chief will help determine whether a speed hump will be appropriate for the petitioned block or not. After receiving public input on a proposed safety plan, the affected residents must vote to approve the final plan with a 75 percent majority.
The petitioned block must also be at least 1,000 feet long, have a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less, be located in a residentially zoned district, and be owned and maintained by the municipality.
No block can have more than two speed humps noted Municipal Engineer Khal Hassan.
This process will be formalized in a resolution that will be presented to council for approval in April.
Council did not take any formal action on the proposed policy Tuesday.
Even with few streets having a speed limit over 25 mph, residents have complained about cars speeding down the wider streets in the west end, through denser areas near parks in the east end, and just about everywhere in between. Resident Chiffon Holmes told council Tuesday night that cars race through her neighborhood on East Oak Street, a peculiar section of which has parks on both sides of the street regularly active with kids. She said she looked forward to helping council with the enactment of the policy.
There was no other public comment on this agenda item at the meeting.
Council, with the exception of an absent Tiffani Hendley, did not voice disapproval of this planned speed hump policy, but did inquire about alternative means like painted crosswalks and signage. Hassan said the implementation of any sort of traffic calming initiatives looks at vehicle speed, sight distance and accident history in areas where calming initiatives may be needed. Thomas Odenigbo, Public Works Manager for the municipality, said speed humps were the most feasible option.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first update on traffic calming initiatives since council’s May 19, 2021 work session when this was last discussed. Municipal officials have been looking at different initiatives and policies in other communities before Tuesday’s meeting.
Municipal Council next meets on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.