Tupelo City Council mulls speed table requirements for neighborhoods

·3 min read

Jun. 22—TUPELO — Tupelo officials are looking to give more guidance for neighborhoods looking to control speeding on their streets with speed tables.

Tupelo City Council mulled over a proposal amending the city's traffic manual to include new provisions on speed tables, including beefing up requirements for installation and traffic studies. The Council ultimately asked for further study and tests before bringing the draft to a vote.

Speed tables are asphalt or rubber mounds that are not as tall as traditional speed bumps but cover a larger area of the roadway.

The draft provides a laundry list of requirements for the city to consider, like: installation, limiting who can request to neighborhood or homeowners associations, private homeowners and council members. It further requires any person or entity looking to get speed tables in their area to canvas residents adjacent to it and secure a 60% consensus.

If the city determines that a neighborhood could benefit from speed tables and there is a 60% consensus, Lewis said it would go to the council for final approval.

"This is all a recommendation; you can take this, wad it up and throw it out of the window," Chief Operating Officer Don Lewis told the council.

The committee detailed requirements for streets that could benefit from a speed table. Streets in question must be two-lanes with a speed limit of 30 mph or less, straight where the tables would be placed and have less than an 8% incline. Roads that fall under Major Thoroughfares, including arterial, collector or local roads, are disqualified.

Lewis said the administration did multiple speed tables and other "traffic calmers" tests in the city, including temporary speed tables on Roughwood Drive in Ward 3. Councilman Travis Beard noted that the speed tables would not have gotten installed had the 60% requirement been in place before the city decided to install it. He told the Daily Journal Wednesday that when he canvased the affected residents of Roughwood, it was split 50% for and against it.

"You're either extremely on one side or the other, so it can be divisive in the neighborhood. It is not a measure that will bring people together," said Beard, who attended the committee meeting and was involved in crafting the draft proposal. "I've had more complaints about speeding since we put in the speed tables since before."

Despite his hesitancy, Beard said he believed there still needed to be some guidelines for allowing speed tables because many neighborhoods have requested them in his ward as well as citywide.

"We need some plan going forward on how we are going to make decisions," he said.

Council President Ward 5 Councilman Buddy Palmer questioned the effectiveness of speed tables.

"You will speed to that spot, go over it slowly, and then speed again," he said. "I don't think it impedes speeding. It may for a little while."

The expense was another wrinkle in the discussion. The proposal does not indicate who would foot the bill for installation and material costs for speed tables: neighborhoods or the city. The cost of two speed tables — one for each lane — is $7,500 a piece for the model the city used on Roughwood.

"A neighborhood should be able to afford them, and they should pay for them, not the city," Palmer said.