Missing speed bump angers neighbors

The city of Oak Harbor’s relationship with a community hit a bump in the road when it removed a bump in the road.

“Somebody stole our bump,” complained Evelyn Jones, a resident of the 32-home Spring Hollow community at the end of Tenth Street off Oak Harbor Road.

The community association paid for the $750 speed bump across Tenth Street, as well as parking striping that brought the total bill to about $1,500, according to Robyn Carter, an association officer. “It’s like living in hell because of the crime and the speed,” she said. “So we got the bump.”

The new development is strung along both sides of Cordero Place, the community-owned roadway. Carter and Jones said they understood that the lower portion of Tenth Street was also the community association’s responsibility, because it is within the confines of the development.

That’s where they went wrong, according to Eric Johnston, a civil engineer with the city. He said the speed bump was erroneously placed on a public road. “Tenth Street is a city street,” he said. “Unfortunately, they had some misinformation.”

Carter said the speed bump was in place for several weeks, and she acknowledged there were complaints in the community about the bump. It was so high that drivers had to come to a complete stop, but Carter said “we would have modified it.”

But there was no chance to modify the bump. A city crew came in Friday morning and removed the asphalt bump and the new striping along Tenth Street.

The move caught neighbors by surprise. “They scraped all the paint off, I was stunned,” said Jones. “”They should have had some kind of meeting.”

Johnston acknowledged the bump and paint were removed without notice, but he said the city had received many complaints about the bump. It was actually scraping the bottom of cars going over it. “It was a hazard to people and a liability to the city, and we can’t afford the liability,” he said.

Carter reacted angrily and demanded the city compensate the community association for its costs. That won’t happen, Johnston said, but the city is willing to compromise. If the association wants the speed bump installed on its own roadway, the city will provide the labor and equipment if the association buys the material. Johnston said he tried to make the offer by phone Friday, but Carter wouldn’t listen. He was putting the offer in writing on Tuesday.

Spring Hollow is one of several developments in the city that has one or more private streets. Homeowners there pay $200 annually in community dues, as well as their full property taxes. Johnston said that’s the choice of the developer. In Spring Hollow’s case, higher density was allowed along the private road than would have been allowed on a city street.

While the city will assist with replacing the speed bump, Johnston said that’s not the recommended solution to speeding problems. “In my opinion they don’t need any,” he said.

“Traffic calming is a problem throughout the city,” Johnston added, but he said there are better ways to address the problem than by installing abrupt speed bumps. Increased awareness, better enforcement, and even lower “humps” are preferable, he said.

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