Editor's note: This story has been updated with the type of material that will be used for the cushions on Greystone Drive.

Residents of Northwest Hills are fired up over a proposed project to add 15 speed cushions—asphalt bumps that have gaps in the middle so emergency vehicles can straddle them—along a 2-mile stretch of Greystone Drive.

The project was initiated when the Austin Transportation Department received several complaints from residents about vehicles speeding down the road. There have been 22 crashes on Greystone Drive in the last five years, one of them involving a pedestrian.

The estimated $65,000 project was originally slated to begin this spring; however, it was pushed back after residents raised additional concerns about pedestrian crosswalks and some drivers turning too quickly, said Cody Stone, an engineer for the city of Austin.

As the project looms closer, more people from the neighborhood are coming forward with concerns about the high number of proposed speed cushions that would affect their daily commutes.

The context

Twice a year, the Austin Transportation Department selects 10-12 speed management projects based on a variety of factors, including speeding, proximity to schools, the type of vehicles that drive on the road, and if the road has sidewalks and bike lanes. After considering this data, Greystone Drive ranked No. 11 out of 375 streets.

Greystone made its way to the top of the ranks due to a high tendency of “egregious speeding,” or vehicles speeding over 40 mph on the road. Greystone Drive’s speed limit is 30 mph.

Speed management has been a top priority for the city, as state data from last summer revealed speeding causes one out of every three traffic fatalities. Further, data from the National Association of City Transportation Officials revealed how an increase of just a few miles per hour can cause exponential harm to a pedestrian if they are hit.

If a pedestrian is hit by a car going 23 mph, there is a one in 10 chance that person will die, but a driver who hits a pedestrian at 32 mph raises the odds to one in four. At 50 mph, that rate jumps to 75%, according to the NACTO.

What residents are saying

While the project was initiated by resident concerns, other Northwest Hills locals are fighting to stop it.

“The issue is that for many of us in the neighborhood, Greystone is our way in and out, and we have to drive on Greystone several times a day,” Northwest Hills resident Chis Lamprecht said. “One neighbor has kids, and he estimates he drives [on Greystone] six times a day. The city has proposed installing 15 speed bumps, which will punish every driver, including those driving the speed limit.”

Lamprecht along with several other like-minded residents are working to launch a website called www.keepgreystonesmooth.com to help those against the speed bumps organize. Lamprecht’s efforts wouldn’t be the first time residents successfully terminated a speed management project.

Back in 2017, speed cushions that were installed on Jester Boulevard in Northwest Austin were removed just six months later when a petition to remove them circulated the neighborhood and garnered over 400 signatures.

What city officials are saying

The city chose to propose 15 speed cushions based on guidelines from the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration, which generally recommends installing cushions every 250-500 feet.

“[We’re] trying to prevent vehicles from speeding up and slowing down between the speed cushions and having vehicles operate at a more consistent speed instead of going much faster and that slowing down for them,” Stone said, adding that the cushions should be appropriate for the roadway and allow drivers to go the speed limit, not under it.

To learn more about Austin’s speed management projects, click here.