The Washington Post

The life (and death) of a speed bump

In life, things come and go.

Friends. Taxes. The Walkman. Speed bumps.

That last come-and-go — speed bumps, only slightly less controversial than the U.S. credit rating — was one I always assumed was impossible to let go. When a locality approves a speed bump, its career is typically longer than a Supreme Court appointment.

Not so, apparently, in Takoma Park.

I’ll get to the city’s remarkable legislative action in a moment, but first let’s be clear about Takoma Park and speed bumps: The city seems to erect them at roughly the same pace that I post blog entries — about twice a day.

“We embraced the speed bumps very early on here,” said Daryl Braithwaite, Takoma Park’s director of public works. “We have a pretty high number of them.”

I’ll say. Takoma Park has 180 speed bumps bumping up across just 2.36 square miles. That’s a lot of speed bumps — roughly 77 per mile.

See the bump on a hump? (CITY OF TAKOMA PARK)

City officials think the design slows down drivers better than standard speed bumps. “You feel it in a different way,” Braithwaite said.

They appear only slight less gentle than a bed of nails.

One less bump on a hump coming to Takoma Park. (CITY OF TAKOMA PARK)

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF TAKOMA PARK, MARYLAND, THAT: SECTION 1. Ordinance 2010-44 is rescinded, thereby nullifying the order to install a speed hump on the sloped section of the 100 block of Sherman Avenue.”

And now there is one less speed bump in the world.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.

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