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Albany announces new speed hump pilot program in traffic-calming effort

Speed humps will be installed in 5th Ward Common Councilor Jahmel Robinson's West Hill Neighborhood.
Dave Lucas
Speed humps will be installed in 5th Ward Common Councilor Jahmel Robinson's West Hill Neighborhood.

A pilot program has begun to calm traffic on busy streets in the city of Albany.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she's gotten an earful from residents that walkability and safety in their neighborhoods requires slowing down cars. Standing on Second Street near Bleecker Stadium Friday, Sheehan announced the start of a modest pilot program to install speed humps along selected streets.

“It's an expensive proposition," Sheehan said. "Half a million dollars to do speed humps on four streets. So I do ask that our residents think about that and visitors think about that. We can all do our part by simply slowing down.”

Sheehan’s 2022 budget included more than $250,000 to launch the initiative, but the Democrat says bids for the work came in at nearly twice as high as expected. She credited additional financial support to cities in the state budget with making the program possible.

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says the department receives numerous resident complaints about speeding cars and trucks.

“It's dangerous, it's a quality of life issue. And having these speed humps will add to the traffic enforcement efforts that we have in the city," said Hawkins. "They’re force multipliers, because when you add the speed humps, with the regular traffic enforcement efforts that we're doing in our city, with our patrol officers, and with enforcement and education efforts that that we have going on, it enhances the safety. The speed humps, I'm sure will help us to save lives. It helps to minimize injuries. And it'll help with the quality of life in our city.”

Humps will be installed in 5th Ward Common Councilor Jahmel Robinson's West Hill Neighborhood along First Street between Ontario Street and Judson Street, Second Street between Judson Street and Manning Boulevard and Third Street between Manning Boulevard and Judson Street.

"I receive calls several times a week from community members concerned about the speeding, that they won't let their children play in front of the house because they're afraid that their children will get hurt," Robinson said. "So this pilot is a way that we can ensure that cars will slow down on our streets and ensure that our families are safe, especially during the summer months when we have our children who want to go outside and play.”

Humps will also be installed along Mount Hope Drive between Southern Boulevard and South Pearl Street in the South End.

Sheehan expects the project to be completed by the end of July, and says the city hasn't forgotten the more-challenging busier roadways, like Central Avenue, notorious for speeding cars.

“One of the things that we look at our combination of traffic calming opportunities like we did on Madison Avenue. That is something that we're looking at for Central Avenue because, you know, that has helped to get traffic to slow down and actually go the speed limit. And so, you know, there are multiple ways of addressing that. And with Central Avenue, the traffic calming measures of potentially looking at, similar to line striping to what we have on Madison Avenue is one of the things that we're considering,” said Sheehan.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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