Speeders beware, traffic tech could slow you

July 1, 2008 5:05:33 PM PDT
Some residents are tired of drivers speeding down their streets. The city gave them the power to put the brakes on the problem. You've probably seen the mobile signs police put out that flash your speed as you drive by.

People in the Southampton neighborhood are already talking about buying the signs. They say speeders around Greenbriar and Sunset make their streets dangerous.

Every moment Brandon Davis spends with his two nieces is special. He often takes the girls to Fleming Park.

"It's nice to be able to have them come out and play without worrying about something bad happening," he said.

He never lets them get too close to the road. Several months ago residents concerned about speeders began lobbying the city for signs that remind drivers just how fast they're going.

"West University and Bellaire have them so people ask why can't we have these in our neighborhood," said Houston City Councilmember Anne Clutterbuck.

Now they can. While Houston city council voted to allow those neighborhoods that want speed feedback signs to buy them, the motion did not pass without some healthy debate.

"I think the fixed signs from where I'm sitting could be very intrusive and distracting," said Houston City Council Mike Sullivan.

Houston isn't the only city trying to get drivers to slow down.

Philadelphia is using fake speed bumps. Engineers are installing high tech plastic devices in the road that create a 3D image. They look like real speed bumps but actually the road is completely flat. Drivers are looking at an optical illusion made with three different paint colors.

Back here at home, Davis hopes the signs will have same effect.

"I think it's a good deal to be able to put the signs up and keep the kids safe," he said. "There's a lot of families that live here. It can help more than it can hurt."

The city will have to approve each request and purchase the signs. The neighborhood civic or homeowners association would in turn reimburse the city for the cost. One sign could cost as much as $200,000.

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