Hamilton's east Mountain gets its first city speed bump/cushion:Speed cushions, a new type of speed bump, gaining popularity

It’s a first for the east Mountain.

Speed cushions were installed late last month on Palmer Road near Henderson high school.

City officials have confirmed it’s the first time a traffic slowing device of its kind has been added to a city street in Ward 6.

Speed cushions are modified asphalt speed bumps but are lower and wider than traditional speed bumps and are usually put down in three sections at a cost of about $5,000.

The three-section design enables buses and emergency vehicles with wider wheel-bases to straddle them without slowing down.

They’re being used to slow speeding traffic through residential neighbourhoods, and the City of Hamilton has installed some 200 speed cushions across the community, with 50 more planned for next year.

The Palmer Road cushions were installed at the request of Steve Collura and Angela Martin, and the 38 folks who signed their petition.

The couple with three young children said they wanted to slow speeding traffic heading north down Upper Gage from the Linc, and slow down of the fast-driving students from Henderson.

“The no right-turn (on the red light) on Upper Gage at Mohawk had caused (Palmer Road) to be a throughway for cars cutting through the neighbourhood,” Collura said.

Drivers are making a right turn on to Muir Street from Upper Gage to get to Palmer.

Collura said the speeding traffic made it dangerous for elementary schoolchildren getting on and off the school bus at nearby Reno Avenue, and for people looking to cross Palmer to access the community mail box near the high school.

The couple said they contacted east Mountain Coun. Tom Jackson, whose office gave them a petition. They then collected signatures last winter before returning it to the councillor’s office in May.

Dave Ferguson, the city’s superintendent of traffic engineering, said they started using the modified speed bumps as traffic calming measures last year and it takes five to 10 days for them to be installed.

So far, they appear to be working on Palmer.

“I’m home during the day and I notice all day it’s a lot slower,” said Martin. “It does feel safer because I take the kids to the (nearby) park and it doesn’t feel as dangerous anymore on that street because people do like to whip through there.”

Unlike speed bumps, Collura noted, vehicles passing over the cushions make little noise.

During our chat with the couple, Hamilton Community News noticed most vehicles slowing down when approaching the speed cushions, although some drivers sped up again after going over them.

“Traffic complaints for the last five years is probably the No. 1 complaint from my constituents,” said Jackson. “I’m finding speed cushions are becoming the No. 1 request of neighbourhoods.”

Jackson noted speed cushions are also in the works for Oakcrest Drive and possibly East 45th and Rendell Boulevard.