New council ordinance smooths speed bump application process

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Staff Reporter

EDGARD — In an effort to streamline the process by which speed bumps are placed on parish streets, the St. John Council unanimously approved an ordinance that creates stricter rules regarding the traffic-control devices.

The measure, which was introduced by Parish President Bill Hubbard, amends the existing parish ordinance pertaining to speed bumps and sets up guidelines that neighborhoods must follow when applying for a speed bump on a street or in front of a residence.

“There was a situation recently where a speed bump was picked up, put down, then picked up again because of requests from residents through council people,” said St. John Spokesman Buddy Boe. “There was no process on the books. Every time a complaint was made, action was taken. It was becoming an issue for the public works department not knowing whose side to take.”

St. John Public Works Director Cliff Bailey said his department is currently dealing with about 35 separate requests for speed bumps on various parish streets. He said many are valid requests, but some just are not necessary.

“These changes will help the department do a better job of planning most of our work when dealing with speed bumps,” Bailey said. “In the past, the department would just react to requests whenever they were made.”

Bailey said his department would handle about 20 of those requests, since the parish had already requested the materials to do the work. He said the remainder will go through the new process.

Boe said the new ordinance mandates that neighborhoods requesting a speed bump organize themselves and designate one representative to coordinate with parish officials. That representative is responsible for obtaining applications from the planning and zoning department and also must make sure all residents of the street in question are accounted for.

“The street must have at least 75 percent of the property owners in the area in favor of placement in order to be considered,” Boe said. “Planning and zoning will then conduct a 30 day review period. If no adverse comments are received, the installation will proceed. It allows for decisions to be made in an objective manner rather than subjective.”

The changes also call for consideration from the St. John Sheriff’s Office, St. John School Board as well as emergency response crews working in the parish.

“Placement of a speed bump affects response time for ambulances and law enforcement officials,” said Boe. “This makes everyone involved better aware of where speed bumps may end up in the parish. All parties involved must sign off on the request before it can be fulfilled.”