City Council OKs speed-hump changes 

A group of residents from a Canyon Country neighborhood to met Friday with city officials to discuss concerns raised by speed humps on Abelia Road. Tammy Murga/ The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council approved staff-recommended changes to its speed-hump policy Tuesday, which codifies how the “speed cushions” can get installed, removed and paid for when residents make requests about them. 

Some of the changes were meant to codify the city’s existing practices, which includes who pays for the speed humps once they are requested, studied and then approved by city policy and residents’ feedback — which is now the city, per the ordinance change approved Tuesday. 

City Manager Ken Striplin said during the discussion that city staff brought the recommended change forward because the city has always paid for the speed humps’ installation in the past; but currently, the city’s ordinance technically calls for the affected residents to pay for them through a localized neighborhood assessment district. 

The cost of installing the humps was another discussion point, with Councilwoman Marsha McLean inquiring into the cost.  

Senior Traffic Engineer Ian Pari said each four-panel strip, which generally covers a two-lane road, costs about $5,000 for the materials and another $5,000 for installation. 

The discussion looked at the threshold for how much input and feedback is needed to justify their installation or removal, with McLean saying residents have complained in some cases that they weren’t wanted in their neighborhoods, and they’ve also had unintended consequences in diverting unwanted traffic. 

“Not everyone is in favor of speed humps,” McLean said, “so by spending city money to satisfy a small area, we are in fact taxing many to satisfy the few.”     

McLean cited an $18,000 figure for each speed hump, referring to the staff time involved as well. 

Each installation process requires the city to solicit feedback through outreach and then conduct a traffic study to verify the speed adjustment is justified by vehicle volumes. 

During the previous discussion of speed humps, Councilwoman Laurene Weste said the speed humps have never been removed once they’ve been installed in the city’s 12 years of having them. 

Under the new process, a property owner who wishes to have a street evaluated can submit a request. The city then establishes “preliminary boundaries of the subject street segment” and asks the owner to get support from 10% of owners living in that area.  

Once that threshold is hit, traffic engineers make sure the road meets the program’s criteria: In 2018, the City Council adopted a threshold of 1,500 vehicles for an average daily volume requirement.  

If the requirements are met, then city staff will conduct a survey of property owners within the established boundary, to see if two-thirds of residents support installation.  

If speed humps are approved, they can’t be reevaluated for a three-year period. Similarly, if a study is requested and then ultimately no speed humps result, there’s a three-year “cooling-off” period before that neighborhood is eligible for another city study. 

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