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COUNCIL TO EXAMINE EXCHANGING HUMPS FOR LUMPS TO SLOW TRAFFIC.

Byline: Helen Gao Staff Writer

GLENDALE - Speed humps, one of the most popular traffic-calming devices, present a big dilemma for city officials: While they are effective at slowing traffic, they slow emergency vehicles responding to calls.

In an attempt to solve that problem, city officials are testing and considering the use of speed lumps - a modified version of speed humps.

While a speed hump extends across the full width of a street, a speed lump is broken into sections, with grooves that align with the wheels of fire trucks, enabling them to sail gently over the slopes.

``We are hoping this provides a reasonable alternative,'' Assistant Fire Chief Donald Biggs said as he and one of his fire crews prepared for test runs over an experimental speed lump.

A regular speed hump can slow a fire truck, some of which weigh up to 30 tons, by an average of 10 seconds, according to Fire Chief Chris Gray. The humps can also exacerbate wear and tear on the vehicles' suspension and brakes.

During test runs, crews of an ambulance and fire truck found the speed lump to be more forgiving.

They rolled and bounced over the slope with what appeared to be minimal jerking and jolting, but sometimes had trouble aligning their vehicles' wheels with the grooves.

The grooves are made only wide enough to accommodate one set of wheels not dual wheels, which both ambulances and fire trucks have. Another problem with the grooves is that they are spaced according to the axle width of a fire truck, but not that of an ambulance.

Some residents who showed up for the test runs were not impressed by the results, noting regular drivers can also make use of the grooves to defeat the purpose of the lump.

``This to me is a waste of taxpayer money,'' said Ken Steele. ``I would lay the odds that 90 percent of the people will use the cuts.''

In his test runs, Steele found that he had no trouble driving over the lump at 55 mph.

David Moreno, a local resident who has been involved in the issue of traffic-calming for six years in the city, agreed. ``It's going to meet the request of the Fire Department, but not the citizens' request to slow down traffic,'' he said.

--The City Council's meeting Tuesday will not address the issue of traffic-calming devices in the Mountain-Rossmoyne area as originally planned. The meeting has been postponed indefinitely.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 17, 2002
Words:409
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