EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Speed humps added to Marshall Drive in the Ballenger Woods development in early December have brought mixed reactions from drivers.
On the Facebook group page for Egg Harbor Township Area Happenings, a post by user Gregg Clerico drew numerous comments both for and against the traffic-slowing devices. Some people said drivers zip through the residential street far too fast, while others said speed bumps are unnecessary and possibly illegal.
Clerico said he agrees that cars need to slow down on Marshall Drive — but the humps are a hazard, he said.
“That road — no doubt it’s a speedway,” Clerico said. “But the speed bumps are as high as the curb."
He said he has seen cars bottoming out on the humps, and there are skid marks around them from drivers who fail to see them until the last minute.
The warning signs are very close to the humps, he said, so drivers have to slam on their breaks to stop, and there are no painted lines on the pavement marking them.
“Even people who live back there, they’re getting their cars beat up,” he said.
The style of hump the township used is perfectly legal, according to township business administrator Peter Miller.
“They’re called speed shelves or speed-calming devices. We don’t use the term speed hump anymore,” he said.
Signs warn drivers before they reach the obstruction, which is designed to be navigated at 15 miles an hour or slower. The posted speed limit on Marshall Drive is 25.
“If you’re going 15 miles per hour, it will not damage your vehicle. If you’re doing around 30 or 40, there’s a good chance you’re going to damage your vehicle,” Miller said.
He said in an interview that the speed humps were installed at the request of residents in the neighborhood. He said Township Committee approved the project after a study by the township engineer and the Police Department concluded they could reduce speeding and improve safety.
Five speed humps were installed the length of Marshall Drive. On a recent snowy Saturday, several cars slowed down while going over the humps on the snow-covered road, and at least one driver slammed on the breaks just before reaching the hump. The warning sign says not to go more than 10 mph over the hump.
The township cannot install that sort of traffic calming device on roads where the posted speed limit is over 30, according to Miller and state Department of Transportation guidelines.
So far the township has heard a few complaints about the obstructions, Miller said, but he has received more thanks from people who live in the neighborhood.
Marshall Drive runs from English Creek Avenue to Zion Road through a residential neighborhood lined with single-family homes on either side.
According to Miller, in 2016 police surveyed traffic speeds after neighbors asked for the township to install traffic-slowing devices, and found that cars were cutting through the street at speeds above the posted limit. The department worked with the township engineer on a recommendation.
A different style of speed bump or speed hump has indeed been disallowed by the state, Miller said.
DOT guidelines say a municipality may install traffic-calming measures, which can also include narrow areas of the road or rumble strips. The municipality can install them without state approval in slow-speed areas if the road is entirely within its borders, but there are detailed requirements for signs and road markings informing drivers of the obstruction.
While many people use the terms speed bump and speed hump interchangeably, in engineering literature, a speed bump is a narrow, sometimes steeper obstruction, while a speed hump is wider. Speed bumps are no longer placed on public streets, but are sometimes used on private property.
According to Miller, neighbors in other areas have asked for speed humps to be installed, including in the Anchorage Point development near Longport, but those roads failed to meet the state criteria, he said.