The installation of speed bumps and other similar speed-reduction devices will be considered on a case-by-case basis, following a decision by the Village Board of Trustees.
A policy, established in 1998, prohibits speed bumps in the village, and the village, at the recommendation of the Village Engineering Department, voted to maintain the policy, despite requests for speed bumps from residents.
Both Fire Chief Tom Ebsen and Police Chief Rick Tanksley oppose adding speed bumps on side streets to reduce speeding.
Ebsen said speed bumps can reduce by as much as 20 seconds the amount of time it takes emergency vehicles to reach their destination.
"Twenty seconds may not seem like a lot, but … we try to shave every single second we can; if we're trying to respond to a fire or a cardiac event or a traumatic injury, those seconds count."
Village President Anan Abu-Taleb, who voted in favor of maintaining the prohibition, recalled a devastating house fire in early May on the 800 block of South Clinton Avenue that destroyed one home and severely damaged two others.
If the 11 communities that sent fire trucks and emergency vehicles responding to the fire "had to go through those speed bumps, I think that would be much more difficult for them," Abu-Taleb said.
Ebsen said the speed bumps also are hard on the suspension of the heavy fire trucks and have an adverse effect on patients traveling in ambulances.
"We try to do everything we can to minimize movement [of patients]," he said.
Tanksley said the few existing, experimental speed bumps, speed cushions and speed tables — all of which aim to reduce speeding — have little impact on police response times compared to the fire department but more could have a cumulative effect.
"I would not have them," he said. "I would lean more toward directed enforcement."
Trustee Glen Brewer suggested that in addition to stepped-up enforcement, the village consider increasing the fines for speeding in residential areas.
Village Manager Cara Pavlicek said speed bumps could still be approved on a case-by-case basis by the village board, even if the prohibition remains in place.
Acting Village Engineer Bill McKenna said a few experimental speed bumps installed in the village on East Avenue have resulted in reduced traffic, but the village fire department complained and the bumps were altered into speed "cushions," which have gaps to allow emergency vehicles to pass through without slowing down.
"We didn't notice much of a speed reduction with those," McKenna told the village board.
According to a report issued to board members, there is growing pressure from residents for installation of speed bumps. The engineering department currently has requests for such traffic-calming devices on the 200 block of South East Avenue, the 1200 block of North Woodbine Avenue, the 600 block of South Lombard Avenue, and the 1200 block of North Columbian Avenue.