Amendment could put brakes on Belmont drivers

For one Belmont neighborhood, the very reason they needed speed humps — a hill where drivers pick up speed before a blind turn — was also the reason they were unable to have them installed.

But tonight, that may change, if the Belmont City Council votes to amend the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program.

The amendment would mean that residents along Monserat Avenue would be able to get three speed humps installed along their street to slow drivers as they come downhill from Cipriani Elementary School.

The amendment would change a ruling that requires that neigborhoods requesting speed humps must have a grade no steeper than 5 percent. Monserat Avenue would qualify under the new 8 percent grade guideline.

The changes — which also include limits to how close speed humps can be to traffic signals or intersections — will align the city’s program with guidelines set by the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Three-year Monserat resident Terry Koehler — who lives at the bottom of the hill — said his own Dodge van has been clipped by drivers, his grandchildren have almost been hit by cars and one neighbor’s front fence has been struck eight times by drivers who take the turn too quickly.

“Slow it down,” he said. “That’s all we’re after.”

Public Works Director Ray Davis said the city had rarely received requests for “traffic calming” until this year, when they have already received two.

“These efforts are all done on a complaint-driven basis,” Davis said. “So, more streets in hillside communities will now meet the minimum requirements for speed humps.”

Although the city installs the humps and shoulders most of the financial burden, neighborhoods are required to pay 25 percent of the cost, to show their dedication to the traffic-calming program, Davis said.

According to a Public Works report, installation of one speed hump is between $2,500 and $3,500, with up to $2,500 in costs associated with the design and planning of the installation.

“This is about the kids around here and their safety — it’s worth it,” Koehler said.

The program amendments will be discussed by the City Council at its regular meeting today at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, One Twin Pines Lane, Belmont.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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