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Speed cushions get OK for Lathrop streets
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LATHROP – First there were police patrols. Then a pair of stop signs.

And now, in a further attempt to curb speeding in Woodfield Estates, the Lathrop City Council has approved the installation of “speed cushions” – slightly raised sections of road aimed at slowing down cars – at strategically placed locations on the collector streets.

According to Public Works Director Steve Salvatore, the exact locations of the traffic calming devices – which will likely be constructed of asphalt and won’t protrude more than three inches above the normal roadway height – will be determined by a traffic engineer that will evaluate the flow in the neighborhood and give his best assessment.

Over the course of the last week Salvatore has been testing two different speed cushions. He has solicited the input from both Lathrop Police Services as well as the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District – settling on one particular style that will allow fire engines to roll straight through a gap at regular speed without having to crawl over the hump.

Lathrop Police Services will be in the area to monitor the speed of motorists before the devices are installed, and will do the same after. it will give staffers the chance to analyze the data and see whether it actually makes a difference in slowing down motorists before adding any more in other portions of town where speeding has become a problem.

By relocating the ones already purchased by the city, the total cost of consulting, installation, preparation, striping and signage should cost the city just under $13,000.

The issue of speed in Woodfield Estates has been a semi-regular topic at Lathrop council meetings since May when an Army Sergeant watched a speeding motorist slam into a parked car, slide across his driveway and end up on his neighbor’s lawn.

He told the council that he was forced to reconsider whether to let his children play in the front yard out of fear that something similar could happen again – this time with disastrous results.

In response the council proceeded to turn the intersection of Woodfield Drive and Long Barn Drive into a three-way stop – adding crosswalks to give pedestrians a safe opportunity to cross the street and utilize the deep basin that draws people from adjacent neighborhoods who appreciate the open space.

Salvatore expects that hot asphalt will be used to create the cushion. He noted that the striping could be done to meet the desire of the council – whether that includes reflective paint with glass-beads or large zags that signify that something is coming up.

No timetable for completion was discussed.