Speed bumps in West Austin to be removed after neighborhood battle

Homeowners say the speed bumps on Jester Blvd. could be removed as early as Wednesday. (Photo: CBS Austin)

The city of Austin plans to take out speed bumps this week on Jester Blvd. which has some cheering and others saying it’s outrageous.

Homeowners on Jester say the city could take out the two sets of speed bumps as early as Wednesday. This comes after backlash against the speed bumps which included a shouting match public meeting with public officials.

Some say there will be cheers from drivers after the removal.

“I think there will be a lot of celebration,” homeowner Susanne Paul said.

Paul is the chair of the neighborhood safety committee. She said a lot of people don’t like the speed bumps because they’re so abrupt. She also said they aren’t needed, because the threat of speed bumps is slowing drivers down.

“We should be given the option of slowing down voluntarily,” Paul said.

This is one of the first times the city of Austin has decided to remove speed bumps. There have been other contentious speed bumps, like those on Far West Blvd.

“While ATD believes there is a need for speed management in the area, staff also recognizes Jester Blvd. is different,” the Austin Transportation Department said in an email.

ATD explained Jester is a wider street and serves as the only entrance to the neighborhood. It will also require speed display devices that show drivers their speed in miles per hour, modify striping to make the street narrower and the neighborhood to have speed awareness campaigns.

That’s something Paul has already organized.

“We put flyers on every single house in this neighborhood,” Paul said.

The city says it will cost $350 per speed cushion to remove them. At two locations and four cushions per location, the total cost will be $2800 for removal.

Paul says next month the city will install four more speed bump locations on the connecting street Beauford. She says that’s disappointing and will bring another outcry.

“Oh I am certain we will have another fight,” Paul said.

However, there are a lot of people in favor of new speed bumps and keeping the ones on Jester. Out of 65 petitioned households on Beauford, 49 were in favor of speed cushions on Beauford according to the city.

Many say it’s because of the windy road next to where children play in front yards. None of the people CBS Austin spoke to Tuesday who were in favor of speed bumps would talk publicly. Many said it was because of fear of harassment from those against speed bumps.

“This is such a contentious issue,” Paul said. “It’s really torn our neighborhood apart.”

Someone supposedly against the speed bumps cut the wires of the speed radar signs on Jester when they were installed. An act of vandalism showing how passionate some homeowners are about the issue.

Paul says she knows this is very contentious. That’s why she has a compromise. She said before the city installs speed bumps in the future, it should warn the neighborhood. Then give homeowners three months to slow down. If they don’t, the speed bumps go in.

“We’ll prove to you that we’ll abide by the speed limit voluntarily if you will allow us to not have those speed cushions,” Paul said.

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