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Transportation and Mobility

Hey, LA: Want Speed Humps In Your Neighborhood? Here’s How And When To Request Them

Three men in orange vests and safety helmets use tools to move asphalt on a road as they construct a speed hump.
(Courtesy Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
/
via Twitter)
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After more than two years, the city of Los Angeles will soon begin taking applications again for its neighborhood speed hump program.

L.A.’s Department of Transportation has announced applications for the revamped program will launch at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6. Officials say a link to the online application form will be shared on LADOT’s website at that time. The department is only accepting online applications.

Why You Need To Act Fast

If you’re concerned about speeding drivers on your neighborhood streets, act quickly: the application period is set to close once 375 applications — 25 in each of the city’s council districts — have been submitted.

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LADOT officials note that they will only accept one application for each segment of street requested. So if you plan to apply, it may be a good idea to check in with your neighbors to make sure you're not filing multiple requests for the same street.

And you should plan on dealing with the city bureaucracy. Each applicant will be considered a "Block Representative," according to LADOT, "and will be responsible for all related correspondence with our staff.”

If you’re not sure which of L.A.’s 15 city council districts you’re in, you can put your address in this Neighborhood Info map to find out.

Point of reference: L.A. manages more than 7,500 miles of streets, although a fraction will qualify for the speed humps.

Which Streets Qualify?

The program is for residential streets but even not all of those qualify for speed humps, so we suggest checking these guidelines ahead of time.

A few of the “limitations” noted by the city:

  • "Speed humps can only be installed on streets with speed limits of 30 mph or less and the 85th percentile speed is more than 5 mph above the speed limit."
  • "The daily volume on the street should be greater than 900 vehicles per day (VPD), but typically not more than 10,000 VPD."
  • "There should be a minimum of 600 feet between controlled intersections, where at least 2 speed humps can be installed."
  • "Humps should not be installed on streets where there are known drainage/flooding issues."
  • "Speed humps cannot be placed on streets that have a grade greater than 8%."

How Do I Know Stats On My Street?

It’s unlikely most Angelenos know the results of the latest speed survey or vehicle volume counts on their local streets. Is there a way they can be sure they’re not requesting in vain? I asked LADOT about that and spokesperson Colin Sweeney gave more details about what happens after an application is received:

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"We encourage residents to familiarize themselves as much as possible with the guidelines posted in advance of applying. However only upon finalizing our review of applications will the department be able to determine if a particular street is eligible.

Once that determination is made, we will reach out to the applicant/sponsor so that they may engage their neighbors in a petition process to ensure that there is community consent for speed hump treatment on a particular block."

Why The Slow Pace Of Installations?

The program has been quite popular, according to LADOT, with 805 speed humps installed between 2017 and 2020.

Then came COVID-19. The program was halted as the city shifted to focus on emergency response and recovery during the pandemic.

The department has also been seriously understaffed in recent years and officials say that led LADOT to delay speed hump installations that had already been approved. But L.A.’s current fiscal year budget provided enough funding to address that backlog — and also relaunch the program, officials said.

“Once applications are received, LADOT ensures resources are distributed equitably across the city so that each Council District receives approximately the same resource allocation for speed humps,” officials wrote in a press release.

Sweeney said LADOT has previously received $1 million each year for its speed hump program, but that funding was doubled for this fiscal year.

"This will allow us to increase the number of speed humps we install this cycle," he said.

Why Speed Humps Help

Orange cones bordering a speed hump on a residential street.
(Courtesy LADOT
/
via Twitter)

“The severity of collisions is closely correlated with the speed of the vehicle at the time of impact,” Sweeney added. “By forcing vehicles to slow down, speed humps reduce the likelihood that if a collision does occur on a neighborhood street that it will result in severe injury or death.”

Local stay-at-home orders decreased traffic on L.A. streets in the first year of the pandemic, but traffic deaths actually increased in 2020, which safety officials traced to an uptick in speeding and other dangerous behaviors by drivers. Traffic levels mostly returned to normal in 2021, and the death toll continued to climb to record levels.

"When we control speeds in our communities we not only save lives, but we also improve the quality of life of our neighborhoods," LADOT Interim General Manager Connie Llanos said in a statement, adding:

"By relaunching our speed hump program after a pandemic induced hiatus, bigger than before, we will be able to bring speeds down in hundreds of residential streets across our city, and support safer and more comfortable neighborhoods for all Angelenos to enjoy."
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