Photo: A view of a speed hump, one of three built on Snowden Lane near BankPlus Amphitheater in Southaven. City officials will be considering adding speed humps in certain areas at a future meeting. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Southaven has not had speed bumps on streets for several years, a policy that pre-dated Darren Musselwhite becoming mayor in the DeSoto County city.
But, the city has been experimenting, by installing what is called “speed humps,” a more gradual rise in the street grade meant to slow down traffic, but not to a violent level for drivers and vehicles that speed bumps can provide.
At a recent Board of Aldermen meeting, Musselwhite informed aldermen the Traffic Safety Committee has considered moving to speed humps in certain areas and a move to allow them will come forward in ordinance form at a future board meeting.
Musselwhite explained speed humps were installed on Snowden Lane to slow down traffic between the park and the amphitheater. The mayor doesn’t want to see speed humps all over the city, but thinks there are places where they could be of value.
“We know we don’t want these things all over the city because they’re still going to slow emergency vehicles down,” Musselwhite said. “We would put these on collector and neighborhood streets and we would allow these in 25 mile per hour zones or less. Then, is there a pedestrian or children component?” He added another possibility would be streets considered a hardship because they feed traffic between two major roadways.
Musselwhite is aware there are going to residents who don’t care for speed humps.
“You’re going to have some people who love speed humps and some people who hate them,” Musselwhite said. “I don’t think we can put these all over the city but I think they can be useful for us, especially for kids near school crossings.”
Musselwhite used one particular street as an example where speed humps would be a benefit.
“Baird Drive is one of the best examples,” the mayor noted. “Baird Drive runs parallel north of Central Parkway near all of the DeSoto Central schools. I’ve been contacted about that street maybe more than any other street in the city. Cars are flying down and kids are crossing the street for school. It would make a lot of sense to put them on Baird Drive.”
Castle Ridge was cited as another street that sees many cars driving through faster than the speed limit.
“We’re going to put this in ordinance form so we can be fair but I think speed humps can be of value,” said Musselwhite.
There have been different views among DeSoto County cities about bumps or humps as speed deterrents. In September of 2022, Hernando aldermen enacted an ordinance allowing residents to request speed bumps through an application process.
Under the ordinance unanimously approved by the board, residents would have to start an application process for a speed bump study with a written request to the Planning Director for a specific stretch of street.
Individuals and businesses can submit a request for a study, however in most cases, those requests should come from a group or neighborhood association.
However, Olive Branch aldermen voted to rescind their speed bump request policy earlier this month on suggestion by Mayor Ken Adams. The policy was rescinded due to the impact on public safety response times.
Adams told aldermen that the only people who like them are the ones with houses adjacent to the bumps and that they are not effective, as people slow for them and then speed up to make up for lost time.
Horn Lake officials also do not allow speed bumps due to the impact they have on emergency vehicle response times.