Laredo, TX Puts Speed Humps Program On Pause, Explores Speed Cushions

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When the local fire department expressed reservations about speed hump installations, the City of Laredo put the speed hump program on hold and began exploring speed cushions.

Traffic Logix rubber speed cushions

“They helped us customize our cushions just the way we needed. Their customer service was really excellent.”

For nearly 10 years, the city of Laredo, TX has been using speed humps to slow cars down. But around a year ago, the speed hump program hit a bit of a bump itself. The Laredo fire department began to object to the speed humps, concerned for the delay they caused in emergency response time. The city responded by starting a pilot program of speed cushions, a speeding deterrent designed with emergency vehicles in mind.

For the past year, the only traffic calming installed on Laredo roads was inside school zones. The fire department approved humps at school crossing locations but objected to them being placed in any residential areas. While the speed humps the city had been using were effective in slowing cars, there was concern about their effect on response time.

The city began exploring alternatives to slow speeding cars and discovered rubber speed cushions. Unlike speed humps that extend the width of the road, speed cushions are designed in a series of several small humps with spaces between them. The cushions allow emergency vehicles to straddle them when passing so that both wheels stay on the road. Cars must actually drive over the cushions, which cause them to lower their speeds.

The City decided to purchase speed cushions based on the City of San Antonio's specifications and through a bidding process. The bid was won by Traffic Logix, a leading traffic solutions manufacturer based in New York.

The primary factor for the winning bid was pricing, but the city didn't want to rely just on good pricing. They explored the product features and were pleased with the simple installation process, solid rubber construction, and patented interlocking feature that keeps the cushions securely in place. The Traffic Logix speed cushions were tested and approved by fire departments throughout the country. When the city contacted local cities that had purchased the products, they provided raving reviews.

The Traffic Logix speed cushions are customizable and the city chose the width, length, and arrow color and direction. While a one-of-a-kind online tool let's cities design their solutions on their own, the company provided assistance in making sure the cushions were exactly as the city wanted them.

"They helped us customize our cushions with the arrows just the way we needed," said Manuel Benavides, Engineering Technician with the City of Laredo Traffic Safety Division. "They also kept us posted on product delivery and even offered to help with installation. Their customer service was really excellent."

The 3 sets of cushions the city purchased will be installed in early 2010 when testing locations are decided on. The city anticipates that the installation process will be even quicker than the products they used in the past, which had an iron bar in the cushion's center. The Traffic Logix cushions instead rely on patented interlocking units and a secure anchor system for stability.

Once the products are installed, the Laredo fire department will test them to see how they affect response time. If approved, speed cushions will become the city standard on Laredo roads.

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Devorah Werner

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