New step dramatically reducing speeding in Albany, city reports

They’re called speed humps. Similar to the “speed bump,” they seem to be working in some Albany neighborhoods, forcing cars to slow down.

The city says the speed humps are years in the making, after neighbors advocated for change.

Neighbors on Mount Hope Drive say cars come flying down the road, which has no sidewalk and a park adjacent, worrying neighbors about the children who live there.

Neighbor Ralph Balfoort has lived there for 46 years. He says speeding has gotten worse with new commercial developments in the area.

“I know it’s mostly not the neighbors who are doing it. It’s people who are coming through here from out of the area,” he said, explaining that the road has become a shortcut.

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Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced Thursday that the city’s speed hump pilot program will extend there.

The humps were recently installed in West Hill. Sheehan says speed camera data shows they’ve reduced speeding by 88% there since they were installed earlier this year — from 24% of cars speeding, to just 3%.

The city is spending half a million dollars on them, up from an initial $250,000. The mayor says the speed humps have turned out to be an expensive investment she wishes the city did not have to make.  

“I’m hoping that as we build out this pilot, we can start to change some habits, and change people’s behaviors,” she said.

This comes as councilmember Deborah Zamer confirms she’s proposing the city’s speed limit come down from 30 to 25 miles an hour. She did not respond to an interview request Thursday.

A bill signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul earlier this year allows cities to set their own sweeping speed limit as low as 25 miles an hour.

Mayor Sheehan says she’ll support the proposal on streets where it’s necessary. A traffic study will be conducted before it’s determined where to lower it.

“We’re not going to be implementing an across-the-board 25 mile an hour speed limit in the city in the near future,” she said. “I firmly believe that there are many streets in the city of Albany where the speed limit should be reduced to 25 miles an hour, particularly our one-ways, particularly in our highly residential neighborhoods.”

She also raised the issue of enforcement.

“I understand there are issues enforcing 30 miles an hour at this point in time,” she said.

Mayor Sheehan also indicated that more funding for speed humps and reducing the speed limit would be part of the city’s 2023 budget.

She says the city has applied for a grant to bring all of its traffic studies under one umbrella. Called a ‘vision zero’ plan, the goal would be to work toward having zero pedestrians killed in crashes. A similar plan was implemented in New York City.

If you believe your street needs speed humps, you can email with the subject line “speed humps.”