Lucy Harrison said she couldn't believe her eyes when she went to her front yard one recent morning and saw a yellow-and-black street sign announcing that speed bumps would be installed in front of her home.
"We didn't sign a petition. We don't want speed bumps, and we can't stand them," Harrison told the City Council this week about the bumps that are slated to go in on Carnation Avenue.
However, equally baffled are most of her neighbors, who have been waiting for more than a year to have the speed deterrents installed.
"The majority of neighbors on our street want this and would like to see it through," said Linda Lumsden, a Carnation Avenue resident who organized the petition drive for the speed bumps.
"The system was followed," added resident Laurie Gore, also a bump supporter.
At issue are five speed bumps scheduled to be constructed on the residential street, primarily between 2nd and 4th streets, to slow traffic on the thoroughfare that feeds into busy Coast Highway.
Many residents in the neighborhood have worked diligently to have the bumps installed, and now the resistance of some neighbors is stalling the construction, which was expected to be completed by June.
The city decided that it was best to halt the project, rather than spend $1,000 per bump, if not all residents are in agreement.
"There are people in the affected area who feel very strongly on both sides of the issue," said Benjamin J. Nolan, public works director.
City Manager Kevin J. Murphy said at Tuesday's meeting that the city will poll the residents there to see if, in fact, the majority is in favor of the bumps. That move may set a precedent, switching the responsibility for polling the neighbors from the residents to the city.
Under the street-bump policy, Newport Beach residents who want bumps installed need to win 65% of their neighbors' support through petition signatures. That was done on Carnation Avenue, but the city now will poll the residents by sending postage-paid postcards on which residents will cast their votes.
The council will vote at a future meeting on whether the city policy should change so that the city, not neighbors, should take control of polling residents about speed bumps.