by Jane Larson – Nov. 21, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Speed humps have come to Hidden Hills in another step to make peace between cyclists who ride on a steep private street and the Scottsdale residents who live there.
The acrimony that boiled over two years ago seems to merely simmer now. Some say it’s because more cyclists have tried to be better neighbors, watched their speed and no longer congregated at the top of the hill. Others say it’s because the most vociferous homeowners on the street bordering Fountain Hills have moved away.
At the very least, both sides have a new common concern: the speed humps on 145th Way.
“People are saying they are having minimal effects,” said Sandra Goldenberg, president of the Hidden Hills of Scottsdale Community Association. “A lot of cyclists are not slowing down, and some of the cars are not happy, either. It is a 20-mph road.”
Cyclist Paul Berggreen of Paradise Valley criticized the devices for another reason.
“Speed bumps are very dangerous,” he said. “They’ll bend your wheel if you go down them at any speed.”
The rubber humps, each about 7 feet wide and 4 inches high, stretch across the street at three spots over the eight-tenths of a mile that is 145th Way. The homeowners association installed them about three months ago to see whether the design and placement are effective in making cyclists and cars obey the posted speed limit of 20 mph.
On a recent Saturday morning, residents and cyclists gave mixed reports on whether the humps have slowed traffic. But they did agree on two points:
- Most cyclists go around the speed humps rather than over them. Many cyclists said either way slows them down.
- With two humps near the top and one at the bottom of the hill, there is still a long stretch in the middle where cars and bikes can pick up speed. A hump is needed before the blind curve in that stretch, some residents said.
The homeowners association plans to install a fourth hump, Goldenberg said.
The speed humps are a compromise in a controversy that erupted two years ago when the homeowners association asked the city to abandon its easement that allowed non-motorized traffic on 145th Way at the end of Via Linda.
Homeowners complained that their steep street had turned into a training ground for cyclists, who would grind up the hill, congregate in the cul-de-sac at the top to talk and sometimes urinate in the desert and zoom back down the winding street. Residents said they feared backing out of their driveways.
The issue fell to the city transportation department, which maintains that the route is an important future connector to Fountain Hills and a way to keep bikes off busy Shea Boulevard.
Scottsdale retained the non-motorized easement as part of a 2000 deal with the Hidden Hills developer. Under that agreement, the city shelved plans to make Via Linda a four-lane public street and the developer agreed to turn 145th Way into a narrow private street with an easement for cyclists, pedestrians and emergency vehicles.