NTMP Plan Moves Forward with Temporary Speed Cushions / by Michael Graves

Dear neighbors,

I wanted to inform you about the installation of the speed cushions you may have seen going in around the neighborhood. The Woodland Heights Civic Association board remains neutral about traffic calming, but it is important for us to convey correct information to the community.

Today I spoke to Khang Nguyen at the City of Houston Public Works & Engineering (PWE) department. He's given me the definitive information regarding the speed cushions. What follows is a step-by-step explanation of what is happening:

  1. Seventeen temporary asphalt speed cushions are being installed: one on Michaux, four on Watson, three on Beauchamp, two on Euclid, two on Bayland, one on Merrill, and four on Pecore.
  2. Yes, these are temporary speed cushions. They can be pulled up at any point and the street repaired.
  3. The streets are being milled in order to accept the speed cushions. Without milling, the asphalt can come loose. So grooves are milled into the streets.
  4. Because our streets are primarily asphalt, PWE determined that asphalt was better than rubber, which can sometimes come loose on an asphalt base (rubber is bolted, whereas asphalt adheres through melting.)
  5. Also, rubber can come loose with high volume traffic. In some locations, PWE measured high use and felt asphalt was best.
  6. Once milling is done, asphalt cushion installation will start right away, possibly even today. They will finish a few streets each day, so it may be finished by mid-next week.
  7. Once the speed cushions are installed, PWE will paint striping on them for visibility.
  8. After roughly 90 days (September/October), PWE will complete a second traffic study assessing the effectiveness of the cushions.
  9. The traffic study will examine three things: overall speed, enhanced or reduced traffic volume, and traffic shifting to other streets.
  10. Once the study is complete, PWE will hold a public hearing and collect comments again. This will be around November/December.
  11. At that point, the neighborhood could (a) accept all of the new speed cushions, (b) ask than some be removed but others remain, or (c) reject all of the new speed cushions.
  12. Based on those comments, they will then take the study to the City Council for final approval. If the council agrees that the speed cushions are working, they become permanent.
  13. If, however, the community or council rejects the speed cushions, they will be removed and the roads patched to their prior state.

That's the entire process, as detailed by Khang Nguyen at PWE.

Matt Johnson
WHCA VP Infrastructure