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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Sheriff asks Council to reinstitute TDCs

Sheriff asks Council to reinstitute TDCs

Lafourche Sheriff Craig Webre addressed the Parish Council on Tuesday, asking them to reinstitute the “Traffic Calming Device (TDC)” policy.

TDC’s, or speed bumps, are “safe, effective, affordable, and ubiquitous,” said Webre.

Because of the geographical characteristics of our parish, with atypical subdivisions featuring long streets without stops, speed bumps are necessary, he said.

“I am an advocate of speed bumps since 1992 when the first ordinance was introduced. Simply writing tickets every day does not solve the problem of speeding.”

He explained the process by which a citizen or group can request speed bumps.

First, an application must be made by a resident(s) requesting the devices to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

If 50% or more of a neighborhood agree with the application, LPSO conducts a traffic analysis in that area. If the need is there, two-thirds of those residents must agree to the placement of the devices.

A package is sent to the Council for approval, and Public Works would then install the speed bumps.

“Each year, LPSO appropriates $50,000 out of our budget to help fund the program,” said Webre.

In the past, the parish typically matched that amount.

Although the program was terminated in 2012, it was later reinstated without funding in the same year.

But Councilman Jerry Lafont noted that the funding amount would be exhausted right away as each device costs about $2000.

“$50,000 will do one subdivision. Look at back of LCO (Larose-Cut Off School). We ate up that budget in one area,” he said.

Lafont asked Webre to consider putting more money into the program. With a matching amount from the parish, the program could be more effective, he said.

Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle was in agreement with Webre.

“I think we have the money, and it’s a good idea,” he said.

Councilman Daniel Lorraine asked that parish administration talk to Webre and come back to Council with a supplemental appropriation, effectively rescinding the “moratorium” on the devices.

“We need to grant him (Webre) his wishes. Not everybody’s happy with them, but 95% are. It works,” he said.

To the arguments against speed bumps, Webre offered to debunk some so-called myths about them. That there is a “liability issue”, or chance the parish could be sued over someone being injured from crossing the devices,

Webre said there have been no reported cases of any municipality or any part of government being held liable since the program started in 1992.

To the argument that TDC’s inhibit the operation of emergency vehicles, Webre said LPSO is the largest and most frequent “first responder” in the parish and that the safe arrival of emergency units is more important than being “reckless” in responding to emergencies.

“Safe arrival outweighs any perceived hindrance by speed bumps; slowing down takes maybe 10 seconds. In the long run, it saves lives,” he stated.

Webre also reminded the public there is a process for removal of the devices as well if people don’t like them.

“TDC’s are a cost-effective safety measure for residential streets. Please revisit this program,” he said.