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Speed Bumps, Once Debated In Bloomington, Now Common Policy

The city has since installed similar speed bumps in two more downtown locations.

Speed bumps

Photo: Gretchen Frazee/WFIU-WTIU News

The speed bumps on West 3rd Street were installed after the city council approved them, the board of public works voted against them and Mayor Mark Kruzan then ordered them to be installed.

A set of speed bumps which Bloomington city leaders feared might lead to a lawsuit have done just the opposite.

Weeks of summer discussion have not only not led to the city being sued, but have spawned creation of similar traffic calming devices in the city.

For a time in May and June, it looked like Bloomington’s City Council might sue the city administration to enforce a vote it had taken to install speed bumps on West Third Street. But Mayor Mark Kruzan staved off that suit by ordering the bumps installed and hoping to avoid legal action.  In the intervening six months, the mayor says the city hasn’t been contacted by lawyers unhappy with the traffic calming devices – causing a shift in city policy.

“In fact, I will tell you that that method of traffic calming has worked so well there that we have now applied it in two other places,” Kruzan says.

City councilman Chris Sturbaum, who spearheaded the council’s push to get the speed bumps added, says he wants to examine the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program which led to the fight, but says the situation has been a win for local control of resources…

“I think the bottom-up idea is still sound.  Where’s the fire?  Well, people right on the ground know where the fire is,” Sturbaum says.

Sturbaum also says he’s been to conferences this year which he thinks show the city’s consideration of engineering principles – a key cog in the dispute — may need updating with respect to traffic calming.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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