Alabaster city officials working to change speed breaker policy, address citizen concerns

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This is a Your Voice Your Station special report.

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

ALABASTER, Ala. (WIAT) — If you drive around the city of Alabaster, you won’t see any newly built speed breakers despite citizens’ legitimate concerns.

“If we had a speed breaker, one right there and one right in here, that would save a life. I feel like it would,” Alabaster-resident Shirley Bishop explained.

Bishop called CBS 42 with concerns about speeding along Cohill Drive. Her neighborhood has a steep hill, followed by a sharp turn. It can significantly reduce visibility for drivers and creates a dangerous situation for kids playing near the street or riding bikes. She said she’s contacted the city asking for speed breakers to be put in, but it’s been years– and she’s still waiting.

Rumble strips were added to the top of the hill, and police patrols were increased in that area, according to City Administrator Brian Binzer.

Bishop said the strips aren’t enough, and she feels speed bumps are the only way to get cars to slow down.

“I’m so afraid that someone’s going to come over here so fast and kill a child,” said Bishop.

Binzer told CBS 42 that the city is aware of residents concerns on Cohill Drive, and so far they’ve done all they can because the city’s current policy on speed breakers doesn’t allow them to be added.

“The city has a long-standing policy on speed bumps just from a liability standpoint,” said Binzer.

Binzer further explained that this policy was put in place since speed breakers can slow down emergency vehicle response times and damage cars.

The city is looking to change that policy, however, as administration has shifted after new city councilors and a new mayor arrived last November.

Binzer said city council is working on getting new ordinances off the ground, which can take several months, and the public safety committee is currently reviewing newer speed control technology, like speed tables instead of breakers, to help crack down on speeding throughout Alabaster.

Once the policy changes, Binzer explained residents would have to put in a request to the city for speed control devices, and the city would have to decide if it’s needed.

“I anticipate that the neighbors in Cohill will probably bring something to us when we have a new policy in place. We’ll have to look at it, see if it meets the merits of traffic volume and those types of things,” said Binzer.

The public safety committee will also have to factor in budget when deciding which devices they use and where they can be placed.

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