Reducing Speed on Weirton’s Bell Boulevard: The Rumble Strip Proposal
Residents of Weirton, West Virginia may soon see a new measure aimed at reducing speed on one residential street. Weirton Council will be asked to consider a resolution to install speed reduction devices in the form of rumble strips at three separate locations on Bell Boulevard. This proposal was discussed and recommended by the city’s Finance Committee and will go before the full council next week.
The issue of addressing speeding on Bell Boulevard has been a topic of concern among residents for some time. In September, the city’s Traffic Commission deliberated on the matter and decided to conduct a traffic study before taking any action. During the speed test, which included the use of a speed trailer, it was found that out of the 3,436 vehicles counted, 3,424 were traveling at or below the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The average travel speed on this dead-end, residential street was recorded at 15 miles per hour.
However, Ward 6 Councilman Enzo Fracasso believes that these results were skewed due to the presence of the speed trailer. Fracasso believes that motorists tend to slow down when they see a speed trailer in the area, which may not be representative of their natural driving habits. In support of his claim, Fracasso spoke with a resident who witnessed several individuals speeding on Bell Boulevard.
To address these concerns, the resolution proposes the installation of rumble strips at three locations on the street. The total cost for these rumble strips would amount to $3,486.40. While this may seem like a reasonable solution, Public Works Director Allen Hess cautioned against the use of rumble strips due to their cost and lack of resiliency. Hess pointed out that rumble strips, especially if they have an increased height, can easily be damaged by snow plows, resulting in a shorter lifespan of approximately two years.
Hess’s concerns extend beyond the practicality of rumble strips on Bell Boulevard. He worries that if the council approves this measure, it may set a precedent for other council members to request rumble strips in their wards. If each ward were to submit similar proposals, the city could find itself spending over $100,000 each year just to maintain rumble strips.
Despite these concerns, Ward 4 Councilman George Ash also expressed interest in trying rumble strips in areas of his ward. Fracasso echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need to take action and stating that installing rumble strips is the easiest fix at the moment.
The resolution is set to be discussed and voted on during the next Weirton Council meeting. It remains to be seen whether this speed reduction measure will be implemented on Bell Boulevard and potentially expanded to other areas in the city.