City Desk

Neighborhood Watch: Humping Around in Benning Ridge?

4600 Block of Hillside Rd. SE

4600 Block of Hillside Rd. SE

The Issue: Residents in Southeast’s Benning Ridge neighborhood are a bit befuddled about speed humps that seem to have magically appeared on a number of streets.  They may be necessary to calm traffic, but some are concerned the city's not going through the proper channels—getting permission from residents, conducting a traffic study—before installation.

According to a D.C. Department of Transportation application (2002), requests for a traffic calming study must be initiated by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission with the approval of 35 percent of households on the block. DDOT conducts the study and renders its verdict: to calm or not to calm.

Where Did They Come From?: Ben Thomas, who sits on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7E, says the commission has approved speed humps in only two locations: the 1100 block of 46th Street SE and the 1100 block of 44th Place SE.  But other humps, in the 700 block of Burns Street SE and the 4200 to the 4500 block of Hillside Road SE, have since popped up, leaving him scratching his head. “Speed humps are necessary, but they need the proper approval. No studies are being done. They just seem to appear overnight,” says Thomas. He adds that some residents have concerns that the humps are too high—DDOT says they are supposed to be 3-4 inches high and 10-14 feet across.

Sloooooow Dooooown: John Lisle, of DDOT, says the city is not required to have the commission’s approval for installation of a traffic-calming device. “We do pledge and give the residents an opportunity to voice their concerns. We attend community meetings and give great weigh to what the residents say, but we’re not necessarily required to have an ANC Commission approval."

Despite the obstacle course feel of her neighborhood, Benning Ridge resident Shante’ Moore likes the humps. “It was annoying to me at first, but it slowed me down,” she told City Desk. “I’m all for it, especially since there are a lot of kids that live in this neighborhood.”

What’s Next?: There's not much else to do but put on the brakes.

Photograph by Tiffany Browne

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  • http://www.congressheightsontherise.com The Advoc8te

    So this is in Ward 7 but in what neighborhood? "Southeast" is pretty general.

  • http://www.congressheightsontherise.com The Advoc8te

    Nevermind - I saw "Benning Ridge" and was thinking of a development with a similiar name. Thanks for including the neighborhood in the post.

  • Contrarian

    Classic Fenty administration. People ask for something, just give it to them and more without really asking whether they want it or study it to see if it makes any sense to begin with...

  • DCAV8R

    How about the three in a row speed bumps on R Street NE? WTF? What if a neighborhood wants them removed? How do we go about that? This is a CITY after all, not the burbs. If some of these NIMBY's from the country want a walmart life, they need to move back. Enough already with these speed humps.

  • http://areyoutargeted.com/welcome/ Jeremy

    A neighborhood watch member got shot (paralyzed for life) a few months ago.

  • http://www.farmfreshmeat.com Jamie

    Why on earth is there no formal process for adding speed humps?

    Who, then, decides where they should go, outside of the handful of formally approved ones? Some desk jockey at DDOT? Anyone who calls? Santa Claus?

  • Contrarian

    There was a formal process and even a guidebook based on national best practices. The Fenty administration and activities "blew it up" because it was too slow.

    Give (some) people what they want as quickly as possible. Don't think about it, don't consider the impact on others, don't even think there is, egad, engineering involved -- those just waste time. Just Do It! (apoligies to Nike)

  • Contrary to Contrarian

    The way speedhumps get requested is by a petition from the block. The petition and site gets reviewed by engineers. If it's a local street and if there are safe places to install them, they can go in.
    I like the current system. It puts the power in the hands of the people who actually live on that block, and not in the hands of the drive-through NIOPFYs (Not In Other People's Front Yards) types.
    By the way, the block can also petition to take them out.

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