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Rosenwald, Md.
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Posted at 10:58 AM ET, 08/11/2011

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)
These are very specialized speed bumps. A Takoma Park speed bump, as described by Braithwaite, is a “bump on a hump.” There’s a gradual slope up, then the bump, then the ride down.

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.

So, getting to the news. Earlier this year, responding to residents’ requests, Takoma Park approved a new bump on a hump on Sherman Avenue. Long story short: Residents had second thoughts, worrying that the slope on the road was too steep. This is
One less bump on a hump coming to Takoma Park. (CITY OF TAKOMA PARK)
where things get interesting. Before the city council adjourned for the summer, it passed, in the annals of speed bump history, a momentous piece of legislation:

“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 Ordinance 2010-44 is rescinded, thereby nullifying the order to install a speed hump on the sloped section of the 100 block of Sherman Avenue.”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.

By  |  10:58 AM ET, 08/11/2011

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