News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City to introduce speed tables to slow traffic

Traffic-calming devices will be installed on West McKinney Butte Road between North Trinity Way and the new Sisters Elementary School. Cities employ a number of barriers to reduce speed: speed bumps; speed humps (a wider, smoother contour, lower-profile bump); and speed tables.

Speed humps are parabolic vertical traffic calming devices intended to slow traffic speeds on low-volume, low-speed roads. Speed humps are three to four inches high and 12 to 14 feet wide, with a ramp length of three to six feet, depending on target speed. Speed humps are used to reduce speeds to 15-20 mph.

Speed tables are asphalt or rubber mounds that cover the full width of the roadway. Speed tables are essentially speed humps that have been modified with a flat top, thus reducing the disruption to vehicle operations. The flat top is typically long enough for the entire wheelbase of a passenger car to rest on.

Speed tables are commonly preferred over speed humps. This preference is due in large part to an emergency service vehicle's ability to cross with minimal disruption.

Parents and residents along McKinney Butte Road have long complained about excessive speed in both directions, and fear that it's only a matter of time before a pedestrian is struck. Their greatest fear is that injury will befall children going to or from school.

The Nugget caught up with Lt. Chad Davis who heads the Sisters station of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. Davis has made stops of parents, teachers and students alike rushing to and from classes.

He says that the worst times are when a student has no first-hour classes or are otherwise getting a late start. Recently retired School Resource Officer Brent Crosswhite told us last year that he got most of his "business" off campus with students old enough to drive speeding to and from campus, particularly at lunch time as kids rush to get to food or home and back in 30 minutes.

"The addition of speed tables will be helpful in reducing speeds in McKinney Butte Road, raising awareness of the presence of the schools, and allow for better pedestrian access through the addition of new crosswalks," Davis said. "The Sheriff's Office is present in our school zones on a daily basis; however, we cannot be present at all times, so physical improvements to the roadway will assist us in keeping speeds down and making it safer for all pedestrians and motorists."

According to the city's public works department, the project could cost as much as $250,000, monies not presently allocated. There are possible grant opportunities both for the City and the school district, as child safety is a high priority in the grant funding world.

The goal is to raise the funds and complete the work in time for the new school year this fall.

The proposed speed tables will also serve as crosswalks with pavement markings and signage.


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