By Chris Eversole, Contributing Writer
Speeding through neighborhoods is the No. 1 complaint the City of Mustang receives, and City Manager Tim Rooney has an idea to help – speed tables.
Unlike speed bumps, speed tables have a beveled edge and run up to 25 feet before easing a vehicle down on the other side.
The city has a longstanding policy against installing speed bumps.
“They’re not allowed for good reason – because of the potential liability for damage to vehicles,” Rooney said.
“Speed tables encourage traffic to slow down without being jarring. We need to move beyond putting stop signs at every intersection.”
At Monday’s special meeting, Rooney presented a staff report on traffic-calming devices, including speed bumps, speed tables and increased speed limit signs, that nine other Oklahoma cities use.
Five of them use traffic calming devices – Broken Arrow, Edmond, Norman, Owasso and Tulsa. The four that didn’t were Yukon, Midwest City, Oklahoma City and Moore.
Council member Josh Leete embraced speed tables, noting that up to 40 children play in the street near his cul-de-sac.
“I’m very happy to see this,” he said.
Vice Mayor Jess Schweinberg was skeptical about how the public would respond. He noted that many people in his neighborhood were against a discussion several years ago to have speeding patrols.
“You’d be surprised at how many people opposed it,” he said. “Once the police told people that 90 percent of the speeders would be people from the neighborhood, they said ‘forget it.’”
The survey of other communities yielded the following results:
—The cities required approval by 60 to 75 percent of people in a neighborhood before installing speed tables or speed bumps.
—The traffic calming devices generally were placed only on streets with speed limits of 25 miles per hour.
—Edmond was the only city that required residents to pay part of the cost of traffic calming devices.
Rooney said he plans to develop a speed table proposal for council to consider later.
Flexible Rates for Newcomers
Rooney also recommended creating more flexibility in the initial sewer rate charged people moving to town.
In general, sewer rates are calculated based on water use during the winter months – December, January and February – based on the assumption that people aren’t watering their lawn then.
The present policy is that all new accounts are charged for 7,500 gallons of usage. This is adjusted once new customers have a winter water use record.
Households of one or two people complain about being billed for sewer initially at the 7,500 gallons rate, Rooney said.
“They feel like they’ve been ripped off,” he said. “People who work in utility billing get beat up quite a bit on this.”
Rooney proposed creating three tiers billing – possibly 3,000 gallons for a single person, 4,000 for a household of two and 7,500 for other households.
“Small households use considerably less than 7,500 gallons,” he said.
Rooney said the Utility Billing Department will flesh out a proposal to bring back to council.