INDIANAPOLIS -- For about a month now, drivers along Central Avenue on Indianapolis’ near north side have been bumping up and down over big plastic speed bumps along the road.
The plastic speed bumps, known officially as speed tables, were installed by the city to slow traffic down along Central Avenue in preparation for the upcoming IndyGo Red Line construction on College Avenue.
The speed tables were first installed at the end of July, and some frustrated drivers made dangerous maneuverers trying to get around them. To combat that problem, DPW installed flexible poles next to the speed tables to prevent swerving, and it's also ordered extensions for the speed tables.
But over the past month, more frustrated drivers have reached out to Call 6 Investigates about how the speed tables are slowing traffic down too much.
Drivers told say cars are slowing down to 5 or 10 mph before traversing over the table. RTV6 cameras captured cars slowing down right before crossing over the speed tables.
Call 6 went digging and looked at Federal Highway Safety Administration and Department of Transportation standards for speed tables and how they work. We found that speed tables are supposed to allow traffic to move at “speeds to the range of 25 to 35 mph when crossing the table.”
But frustrated drivers tell Call 6 if they drove 25 to 35 mph over the speed tables installed on Central Avenue, they would do significant damage to their vehicles. Instead, they say, cars are required to slow down much more than the posted speed limit.
So, is there a benefit to having them or is it more of a headache?
IUPUI's Transportation Active Safety Institute says there has been a steady increase in fatal crashes involving speeding vehicles over the past few years and they tell us while they might be uncomfortable for drivers, they do slow down traffic.
“Safety is number one,” says Dr. Yaobin Chen, the Director of the TASI program at IUPUI.
“In the greater Indianapolis area, pedestrian fatalities, bicyclist accidents, and crashes have been increasing steadily nationally and also locally, so it's important to take whatever measures necessary to slow down the traffic," Chen said.
We also took driver’s concerns over the speed tables to the city, which reminded us that the speed tables along Central Avenue are only temporary during the reroute of College Avenue traffic while construction is ongoing.
“The speed tables are a device which calms traffics and reduces traffic speeds without stopping traffic altogether,” Indy’s DPW said. “Traffic calming, such as this, provides the greatest benefits to pedestrians, bicyclists and local residents.”
The city says it will continue to monitor traffic flow along Central Avenue, especially as College Avenue construction starts.
“We continue to talk to neighbors and work closely with Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association leadership,” DPW said.
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