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Uptown Greenville speed cushions get mixed reactions

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Feb 11 2013 11:38:03 PM CST
GREENVILLE -

The speed cushions put in on several streets in Uptown Greenville caused a debate between city leaders at Monday night's city council meeting.

The speed cushions are similar to speed bumps, but they are temporary, and made from rubber. The city chose to put the cushions in because they can be removed at any time and allow emergency vehicles to maneuver between them without having to reduce speed in the event of an emergency.

Since 2009, the city has been looking for ways to improve the safety for pedestrians in the uptown area after a drive-by shooting left two people dead.

Initially, the city tried to put up barriers on the weekends, which prevented cars from driving through the area.

However, business owners eventually complained about people not being able to get to their restaurants and bars.

In response, the city decided to take down the barriers and added the speed cushions in November. This decision came through the city manager's office, not through the city council.

At Monday night's meeting, the traffic calming study was presented and folks in the community gave their reaction..

"It's very unfortunate when people refer to the area and the first they say is 'Man that place sure is unsafe.' That's not the case," one woman said.

"I really don't see anything negative about speed bumps at all. I drive over em' every time I'm in town. After a while you get used to them," another person said.

However, not everyone was pleased with the decision to put the speed cushions in. In fact, the council spent a significant amount of time discussing the issue. Marion Blackburn said she wished council had been more involved in the process. She also hoped the public would have been given the opportunity to give their opinion as well.

"I'm not an engineer but it's kinda hard to work up speed when you've got stop lights and every block. Do we need them on 5th street? I'm not convinced we do, [but] maybe the engineers will have a different report. There could be areas where these speed bumps are useful. That's what we need to answer before we move forward," Blackburn said.

"This is an ongoing process. You know, I know the city has a lot of things planned to keep on revitalizing the downtown area and this is just one step along that way. It may not be the final solution but it's a good solution for now," Sharif Hatoum, owner of Stilllife and the Quarry in Uptown Greenville said.

The city started doing data collection on the effectiveness of the speed cushions in January.

Stay with NewsChannel 12 as we continue to follow this story.