Every time Andrea Avalos’ newborn startles when going over a series of speed humps on Abelia Road in Canyon Country, the mother recalls the discomfort she felt during her pregnancy.
“I was nine months pregnant, and every bump was like a pain,” she said. “It was really painful during the entire pregnancy, even when my husband drove really slow. Now with my newborn, even he’s reacting to them. It’s really not a comfortable ride for anyone, and we’re fed up.”
Avalos is one of several Canyon Country residents living north and east of Grandifloras Road, whose homes are accessible only via Abelia Road, and feel the speed humps should either be removed or replaced. A group of residents has even created a website (abeliahumps.com) with surveys, questions, suggestions and a comprehensive, 32-page report that details major concerns for the city of Santa Clarita.
This comes after the city installed about 10 rows of the bumps on the road to help reduce speeding several months back. Residents living on Abelia Road raised concerns about the issue and sent a request to have them placed, thanks to the city’s Speed Hump/Cushion Program.
The program, which was first adopted in 2010, established procedures and requirements for residents to formally request speed cushions. In July 2018, city staff updated the program to deter collisions and reduce the average daily traffic volume from 2,000 to 1,500 vehicles. Since January 2001, there have been a total of 53 reported collisions along Abelia Road, with 11 reported between January 2016 and December 2018, according to Gus Pivetti, the city traffic engineer.
Jesus Garcia, who lives on Abelia Road, near Begonias Lane, said he’s thankful for the addition of the speed humps, but he could also imagine how “annoying” it would be for those not living on Abelia Road.
Avalos estimated she drives over about 60 speed humps per day as she’s often commuting to and from work, her children’s schools and other errands. The main problem, she said, is that the city failed to ask those living on the adjacent streets whether they approve of the speed humps.
“I am the second house as you enter (an adjacent road),” she said. “I am basically living on Abelia Road, and the city didn’t notify us. We’re affected, too.”
The city conducted outreach only on Abelia Road, Pivetti said, as they are the residents directly affected by the speeding problem.
The residents’ report, titled “Major Concerns and Recommendations about the Installation of Speed Cushions on Abelia Road,” highlights their three main claims: speed humps could impact emergency response time and increase noise levels; the potential traffic during emergency evacuations; and their belief that the city deviated from the Speed Hump/Cushion Program.
In a survey that Avalos participated in, nearly 85 percent of 124 who replied to the survey said they’d like to have the speed humps removed. Almost 92 percent answered that they can’t access their homes without going over any speed bumps on Abelia Road. A series of comments collected by participants indicate a collective belief that “they’re causing more of a traffic hazard than before.”
However, the city is “very happy with the results” in regard to reducing speeds in the area, Pivetti said. “We know there are advantages and disadvantages to speed cushions. In this particular case, we feel the advantages and changes outweigh the disadvantages,” he added.
He said city data showed more than 400 vehicles a day have traveled at speeds of 33 mph or greater. Some residents on Abelia Road say speed humps have helped reduce those speeds for the most part.
City Manager Ken Striplin responded to the co-authors of the report and said they could discuss their concerns with the traffic department Friday, according to Pivetti.
“They did not address any of the concerns outlined in our report so that will be the focus of our questions at the meeting,” according to a section on abeliahumps.com.