Letter to the editor: In (partial) praise of speed tables


I live on Olympic View Drive, and I have one of those hidden driveways than can be lethal to get out of when traffic rushes by at Speed Limit +10.  The tables have made a difference, and it’s now easier and safer to emerge onto OVD. And that’s very welcome!

But: The traffic calming seems to have effect only in the short zone where the tables do their job. The rest of OVD can still be an unofficial rally track, and far too many drivers simply floor it as soon as the last table is passed. The sound of engines revving as impatient motorists re-accelerate to the traditional Speed Limit +10 – or more! – can be deafening, especially the motorcycles.

It’s a sad comment on our society that some people obey the law only when and where they are forced to, such as the speed table zone. The tables have done some good, and I’m grateful that they’re there — but I wonder if it might have been more effective to put the money into increased police patrols. A policeman with a speed gun, located 200 or 300 yards after the tables would pay for his time in fines in half an hour. Could we add that?

So, sadly, except for the table zone, the old proverb still holds true: If you want your own personal parade, just drive at the speed limit on OVD; you’ll have cars stacked up behind you in no time.

Nathaniel Brown

  1. How about extending the installation of the traffic calming tables onto Olympic Ave between Puget Drive and Main Street? The speed limit signs and the single radar sign are totally ignored by most drivers. And don’t forget the elementary school where some students actually walk with their parents to school and home. Maybe calming the traffic would encourage more to try it!

  2. Extension of calming devevices is also needed from current location to Andover street on Olympic View Drive. This will also help stop dangerous passing.

  3. Angry, and LOUD re-acceleration punctuated this afternoon with unusual frequency today, and at least one loud crash as some idiot hit the northern-most table way too fast.

    Can we please have the occasional police patrol?

  4. I would like to see the traffic calming strips on Sunset. A street with a 20 mph speed limit with increasing traffic, increasing pedestrian use and many cars definitely going much more than 20 mph!

    1. You already have speed bumps!! Those potholes are bad, Everyone wishes they had that view so of course there is traffic and people..Kinda goes with the territory..

      1. Please note that the comment you were responding to was about speed, not volume. Speed does not “go with the territory, and it endangers *all* of us as well as breaking the law.

  5. Some drivers angry at having to slow down are now honking their horns in frustration. I don’t expect that to last long. The speed tables are working and we expect the city will finish the installation this year or next, if we keep our interest level active. The tables should, as a minimum, extend to Talbot. Yes, OVD from the new tables to Talbot and beyond sees many vehicles pick up speed, even at the dangerous curves. Overall, the tables seem to be the least expensive means to calm traffic.

  6. I have an older, very quiet motorcycle. I used to enjoy riding out OVD to Perrinville, but generally have avoided it after the pandemic lockdown when speeding became a problem. I ride at the speed limit but have avoided OVD prior to the speed table installation because of the tailgaters the pile up behind me. It’s just not safe. I’ve even had cars pass me on OVD. A motorcycle will always lose a collision with a car.
    I look forward to once again riding quietly on OVD as the speeds come back down to legal and safe limits. It’s a beautiful ride in and out of the shade with occasional glimpses of Puget Sound, with my knees in the breeze.

    I agree that more police speed patrols will help, but that’s difficult when our Edmonds police are understaffed. Please slow down, enjoy our beautiful location, and be aware of walkers, bicycles, motorcycles, and hidden driveways.

    1. Police speed patrols would help in that area, but apparently our police will be utilizing idle time to review red light cameras.

  7. For those who want their areas looked at for these projects, you have to fill out the neighborhood petition form and turn it in, wait for it to be reviewed, then have a traffic study done by the city, then have it be ranked, and then have it be reviewed again against the funding available. For context, there were multiple projects last year that made the cut for some sort of action based on the speed/traffic study, but there was not enough funding and we were delayed until this year. There is more funding available this year than in previous years, but there have been postponed projects and neighbors who went through the process and have been waiting a long time. I am hopeful the city identifies the issue with once again lumping those delayed projects in with NEW requests, instead of ensuring those who have followed the process and have been patient be prioritized for this upcoming year.

  8. I guess I will be the dissenter here. I too live on OVD near the speed bumps. I deeply dislike them and I did not know they were being installed. And the problem with them – other than it is a pain to have to navigate over them multiple times a day – is that they are a cheap substitute for speed enforcement, as are the slew of cameras that just went in. Not surprisingly, look at the comments here – folks are already calling for a bunch more speed bumps all through Edmonds. Which I suppose is a possible way to keep speeds down, but, then, where does that rationale stop? Drivers do not like speed bumps. They are annoying and they are ultimately hard on vehicles. And as to OVD, I cannot even drive 25 mph to my house now; I have to drive 10 mph over each of the 4 bumps.
    Please stop installing these and go back to sporadically parking the motorcycle cop along that same stretch. It has at least as much deterrent and does cause all the other issues that commenters above have identified.

  9. Speed tables are a one time expense every 10 or 15 years or so, as I assume they wear out eventually like any road paving does; while Motorcycle Cops are a forever expense. Ten thousand dollars every so often or $80K+/yr. until the end of time. Sort of a no brainer in that context.

  10. I visited a resident located on OVD last week. Our neighborhood is on the list of calming projects since we submitted the petition years ago. One interesting thing I noticed is a redundant radar feedback sign near a 15 mph speed table. It would be welcomed on northbound 84th Avenue W where one was removed to replace a damaged one on southbound 84th. There’s a portable trailer 25mph radar feedback sign here now and it is having a positive impact, but usually is moved when the battery dies.

  11. I will add the speeding by SUV and large pick up truck owners who have learned that their vehicle suspensions can handle the traffic tables at speed. The other reality is that some drivers are obviously speeding from one traffic table to the next as though they are competing in an off-road-race. Installing true speed bumps are one of the answers however, I am perfectly aware that our police and fire departments cannot allow that solution …perhaps a numerous series of small “vibrator” speed bumps in many sections throughout OVD would slow down the speeding vehicles and motorcycles without hindering the fire and police vehicles. I live on OVD near High street and believe it remains a potential danger and safety issue. However I do appreciate the efforts made to date by the City to address the problem.

  12. A big thank you to the people who petitioned for the speed bumps on OVD. Drivers do drive way too fast along this road, and my parents live on a stretch of OVD which now has the speed bumps. It is much safer to pull out of their driveway and has made a significant difference. I have driven that route in the mornings, only to be passed by speeding vehicles. I drive that route daily home, and don’t mind slowing down to the 15mph at each bump. I’ve also noticed fewer cars in the afternoons. I also hope that additional speed bumps will be added towards High Street and Talbot Road, as there are a number of hidden driveways towards those areas also.

    We have noticed cars honking, but hoping that will lessen in the future.

  13. Here we go again, requests for more speed bumps on Olympic View already (they already have 4 in a short span of road, any other street in Edmonds have 4?) and of course a full-time resident motorcycle cop and lets of course add Talbot. Let’s fill all the streets where there are multi-million dollar homes and the rest of us (99%) can fill out the form and wait until never. These homes have much higher priority over streets with schools, senior living, multiple pedestrian crossings, etc. Woodway, what are you waiting for?

    1. Edmonds collected data that shows they have a major speeding problem on OVD and a history of serious accidents. Getting speeding under control is a high priority for many residents in both cities. Woodway is studying their problem.
      Something changed during the pandemic lockdown that has lead to a big increase in speeding. I don’t understand what or why, but many of us are aware of it. I’m glad to see Edmonds is doing something effective about the problem.

    2. No one is asking for “a full-time resident motorcycle cop,” though the word “sporadic” crops up twice. And let me assure you, having lived on OVD since the early 80’s, there are plenty of us who do NOT live in “multi-million dollar homes”! On the other hand, we did fill in the forms, we waited, and we had the speed/traffic study. And I might add that there have been fatalities and serious accidents on OVD, which is now, in effect, a heavy traffic artery.

      Now, any positive ideas about controlling speed?

  14. Never mind speed ‘tables’ [or ‘bumps’]; ever been caught by one of those ’20mph blinking yellow school zone cameras’?!! If you’ve ever have had to go to court and ‘stand up’ for your violation and still pay a $65.00 fine (or whatever!!)– it’s pretty painful– and no escape!!
    I say put a radar officer along OVD issuing ‘see you in court’ tix, and see how quickly people slow down, knowing there might be one just waiting around that curve ahead, which you think you can easily ‘take’ at 40 mph!! You’ll slow down PDQ to make sure you’re ‘OK’ because you never know……!! BTW: If the realities of the current situation are anywhere near the bloggers’ complaints this officer will not only be doing his/her job, but earning his/her keep on the force.

  15. I agree about placing a speed table on Sunset Avenue as well as changing speed limit to 15 MPH. Two days ago, 7 out of 10 vehicles were observed speeding within 10 minutes. Change speed to 15 and paint it on the road … drivers do not look up at the puny sign on the pole.

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