Phoenix family fights city over speed hump in front of driveway

Monica Anshell says before her family finished expanding their new garage, the City of Phoenix installed a speed hump right where their new driveway was going.
Updated: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:25 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A Phoenix family recently added on to their garage, expanding it from a two-car stall to a four-car. But before they even finished, the city installed a speed hump — right where their new driveway was going. They aren’t happy and turned to On Your Side for help.

Every day Monica Anshell leaves her house, she bounces into the street. “I hit the curb and the bottom of my car hits the speed bump,” she said. “And then I back up, I hit the speed bump, I pull forward, I hit the speed bump.”

Phoenix initially installed a speed hump there 15 years ago, before Monica expanded her garage. Then, in June of this year, the City of Phoenix began to repave Monica’s street. In order to do so, they removed the speed hump. But before reinstalling it, Monica and her husband say the city agreed to place the hump a little further down the street so it would not block their new driveway.

“They walked the street. I walked the street with them,” Monica said. “They re-marked the new location. So at that point, my husband and I thought, ‘OK, this is great, they agree that this can’t be put back in the original location.’”

The markings for the new location are still visible in the street and are away from anyone’s driveway. But when workers showed up, they reinstalled the new speed hump right in front of Monica’s new driveway anyway. “I tried to get them to stop,” she said. “I was on the phone with the City of Phoenix. I wasn’t able to reach anyone quick enough. And within 20 minutes, the speed bump was in. It was too late.”

It turns out that the City of Phoenix should never have placed the new speed hump here to begin with. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, it is “critical” that “speed humps shall not be placed in front of driveways or other significant access areas.” In fact, the city’s traffic operation handbook states, “speed bumps and cushions should not be located immediately adjacent to driveways.”

Monica says the city obviously made a big mistake. Regardless, she says city officials have refused to relocate the bump 30 feet further, where she says they agreed they would put it. “We want to do what’s best for the neighborhood,” she said. “But where it is now is not OK. It’s nothing I can live with for the next 20, 30 years.”

On Your Side reached out to the city of Phoenix — and they defended the placement of the speed hump! The city gave us a statement that says they did not make a mistake and will not remove the speed hump.

The statement reads, “The Phoenix Street Transportation Department is working with the Anshells to address their concerns and facilitate the City’s required petition process to remove and relocate a speed hump. It is rare that residents request to have a speed hump removed. This situation is especially rare because this speed hump was requested to be installed in this location in 2007, after the neighborhood successfully petitioned and provided funding for it, with the intent to make their street safer. Installing, removing and relocating a speed hump is a neighborhood decision, and the approval of residents who live in the impacted area is required.

The City would never install a new speed hump in front of an existing driveway. In this situation, a resident chose to expand their driveway in alignment with an existing speed hump. It is important to note that the Anshells began their renovation project prior to the City removing the speed hump as part of a planned repaving project, and intended to expand their driveway in alignment with a speed hump that has been in that location for 15 years.”

On Your Side reached out to city council member Debra Stark, who represents Monica’s district. But a spokesperson told us Councilwoman Stark did not want to get involved, saying she’s “respectful” of the Street Transportation Department’s process.

“I’ve been taking the high road with the city, trying to be nice and let’s do the right thing for the residents here and for us as well,” Monica said. “I don’t feel like I’m getting the cooperation.”

The Anshells tell us they have enough signatures from neighbors to get that speed hump taken out and not replaced. But they say they shouldn’t have to pay $6,000 to get that done because they say it’s the city’s mistake. They’re considering their next step, which may include legal action.