Police Chief Dennis Corcoran hopes the speed bumps provide a more permanent solution to speeding than has been found in the past
"Every now and then we'd have a complaint about speeding, so we'd put an officer there," said Corcoran. "So you'd correct the problem while the officer was there, but since you can't have an officer there on a permanent basis, you'd have speeding again."
In the past, the town has used speed meters, which use radar to provide a display of approaching cars' speed. They have also used unmanned police vehicles to give the appearance of an officer with radar.
The town will install a limited number of bumps on a trial basis, and if they are successful, they will install more. Corcoran said that speeding in the town is not as bad as people perceive it to be, with speeds averaging 28 to 30 in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
"On a narrow street, it gives the appearance of 30 miles per hour being much greater than it actually is," he said. "Every once in a while, we get someone going 35, but that person will get a ticket."
Corcoran added that complaints about speeding are sporadic, and investigations generally show the actual speed to be slower than what was reported.
Corcoran said that some of the speeders are local residents, although drivers sometimes use Front Street to avoid traffic on Route 3.
The proposed bumps would be 3 to 6 inches high and constructed out of asphalt. A sign will be placed before the bumps, and an unmarked police car will monitor traffic to see if people are slowing down prior to the bump.
The council has authorized the Street Department to do this work, and the only cost for the city is blacktop. Money will come from municipal funds, although they are looking into grant money.
One advantage of the speed bumps is that they are relatively silent compared to other street markers, such as rumble strips found at toll plazas to make sure drivers don't doze off.
"These don't make noise," said Corcoran. "If you hit one at 40 miles per hour, you may make noise, but the theory is that you'll slow down so you don't do damage to your vehicle."