Opinions mixed about speed bumps on Mill Street

By Thomas Wilson

   Some call them speed bumps. A few use the technically proficient term "traffic calming devices". Others refer to them as "a monumental pain".
   Traffic calming devices have been added to Mill Street as part of the road's massive reconstruction efforts. Motorists may dislike the devices if they are speeding to avoid congested Elk Avenue and Broad Street.
   City Councilwoman Nancy Alsup said at Thursday's Elizabethton City Council meeting that she was aware of some grumbling by motorists about the devices. She also said the bumps' purpose -- to slow traffic -- was being served.
   "Traffic has slowed down," said Alsup. "After people get used to them, it will be fine."
   Alsup pointed out that the speed bumps were initiated via a petition from citizens disturbed by the rate of speed from some vehicles on the two-lane road through the Blackbottom community.
   "There was a petition, and we had a public hearing on it," she said.
   Observing traffic patterns along Mill Street, the raised asphalt mounds have sent the front tires of some vehicles airborne when hitting them.
   Mayor Sam LaPorte supported Alsup's position, saying the only two ways speed bumps could be constructed was by a petition from citizens of a neighborhood or on recommendation from city administration for public safety.
   "It was decided by this city that it was a priority to put that up," said LaPorte.
   At least one Mill Street area resident heartily approved the traffic-calming devices.
   "I want to thank the council for their job they are doing on Mill Street," Blackbottom resident Charles McQueen told the Council Thursday night. "The traffic calming devices are really working."
   Traffic patterns aren't new concerns for Mill Street. The city had difficulty preventing large trucks such as tractor-trailers and paving trucks from using the street as a by-pass shortly after resurfacing and sidewalk renovations were completed in 2000.