I never knew they had a name. I always just called them "reflectors". But an announcement made last week to replace the chicane barriers with speed bumps on some streets on Kalamazoo's Northside made me research the word a bit further. According to Wikipedia, "Chicanes are a type of 'horizontal deflection' used in traffic calming schemes to reduce the speed of traffic. Drivers are expected to reduce speed to negotiate the lateral displacement in the vehicle path." (And now you know. And knowing is half the battle).

If you're like me, you might be thinking, "I could have sworn that the city put those chicanes in fairly recently," and you would be right. According to an MLive article, it cost the city $30,000 to install those chicane barriers, and now they want to replace them all with speed bumps that will cost $75,000 a piece. Slaloming around chicanes might sound like crazy fun (in a Grand Theft Auto kind of virtual way), but hitting a speed bump at over 20 mph, you're going to feel it. Perhaps it's a small price to pay to keep residents (especially our children) safe.

Construction won't be affecting all of the streets and blocks on the Northside, however, look forward to detours around Mabel Street and Elizabeth Street, for sure, as the city works to install the increased safety measures. Remember to give plenty of space between the construction crew and your vehicle while the roads are being repaired.

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