Opinion: Bumpy question on Witt Road

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To speed hump or not, that is the bumpy question. After being told the speed humps would be replaced on Witt Road, the county manager informed the Taos County Commission that a public decision-making process would be necessary. This has pitted Witt Road residents against emergency personnel who will most likely speed (I mean speak) against the replacement of the speed humps.

Since completion of a $200,000 road improvement early September, the speed bumps have not yet been replaced.

According to speed bumpology, several of the former speed humps were installed too close together. My hope is to reinstall most of them with correct engineering and spacing (based on the speed limit). Currently, nine speed-hump signs line the 1.16-mile long road. The speed limit says 20 MPH, but it is hardly ever obeyed.

The current process requires 70 percent of the impacted residents whose property abuts Witt Road to petition the road superintendent who then brings the petition to the County Commission for a vote within 45 days. The Commission’s decision is partly based on the technical opinion of the superintendent of public works.

From what I am hearing from District 5 constituents along the road, there is strong support for re-installing speed humps. They say many speeding people use Witt Road. Area residents are concerned about the safety of children and pedestrians who live along this quiet, residential road. Residents on the road tell me they want the speed humps so I speak in favor of reinstalling correctly engineered speed humps on Witt Road. I feel it is more important to consider residents’ quality of life over the convenience of high-speed traffic.

One of my constituents who resides in Peñasco recently accused me in The Taos News (Sept. 28 letter to the editor) of favoring reinstallation of the Witt Road speed bumps as “political candy.” I disagree.

My support of the project is based on my concern for safety. Quality of life means a safe community where the elderly can safely walk along their street, children can safely ride their bicycles and farmers and acequia members can walk their traditional paths without the fear of fast-moving cars.

We want a better community by making it a safer community – not just a community overly focused on the convenience of drivers.

I look forward to the public process as proposed by the county manager. I have posted the speed hump resolution on my Facebook page: “Taos County Commissioner District V Candyce O’Donnell.”

I speak for myself, not the commission.

O’Donnell is the District V Taos County commissioner.

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