The Fairway City Council is moving forward with adding five permanent speed humps on Belinder Road, south of Shawnee Mission Parkway. At Monday’s meeting, the council approved a contract with Superior Bowen for the installation of the speed humps.
The city will not spend any money on the project because Superior Bowen — whose owner, Matt Bowen, lives on Belinder Road — is donating all labor and material costs for their installation. Mayor Melanie Hepperly said the city did not ask for the donation, but she confirmed Bowen’s desire to donate after being approached by another resident.
Three years’ worth of studies identified speeding as an issue along Belinder Road, but the three temporary speed humps along the road now have proven unsuccessful, city officials said. In an effort to improve traffic calming, the city will install five permanent speed humps 500 feet apart from one another.
A number of traffic calming measures studied
Some residents, including Lucas Meek and Eric Smith, said they are in favor of adding the speed humps. Meek said well-placed speed humps could drastically decrease speeding along that stretch of Belinder, which runs along the western edge of Mission Hills Country Club.
Smith said while there is no perfect answer, he and neighbors he’s spoken with think speed humps will be big improvements.
Public Works Director Bill Stogsdill said alternatives, like flashing signs, cost around $5,000 to $6,000 per sign, and after looking into all options, the city determined speed humps were the best fit.
“We looked at speed humps, we looked at a center island, we looked at a center median,” Stogsdill said. “We examined the full gamut, this is the best solution that we could come up with for this situation.”
But not everyone was sold. Sally Nelson is a real-estate agent who lives on Belinder, and told the council she’s not convinced speed humps are the right solution.
“I know if we put down permanent concrete speed humps and they are the wrong solution per the public, we could end up doing our neighborhood harm,” Nelson said. “I know we’re intending to do it for safety and that is a very important thing, obviously. I just have to weigh in.”
Councilmember Dan Bailey said he’d be hesitant to “throw $45,000 at” speed humps, which is what it would cost without a donation, and said there might be residents wanting speed humps on other streets after the ones on Belinder are installed. City Administrator Nathan Nogelmeier said he’s not concerned about a precedent being set because streets need to meet a certain criteria in order to qualify for traffic calming measures.
Meanwhile, Councilmember Kelly-Ann Buszek asked what the plan is if traffic increases on adjacent streets as drivers may try to avoid the speed humps. Nogelmeier said there is a process in place if residents are concerned about traffic and speed, but it would have to be worked out in another meeting.
Additionally, Stogsdill said the traffic calming studies conducted were focused primarily on speed and not on traffic volumes. The intent was to determine what would best slow down traffic, not divert traffic to other areas.
Nogelmeier also said the permanent speed humps will not be as jarring as the temporary speed humps currently on Belinder Road.
The city council unanimously approved the contract. Councilmember Tanya Keys was absent.