City, college at odds over speed bumps
Talladega City Manager Brian Muenger said that he and Public Works Director Karen Phillips found workers under orders from Talladega College installing speed bumps along Martin Luther King Drive and Battle Street Wednesday morning. If the college does not comply with the city’s speed bump policy, Muenger said city workers will take them up on Friday.
TALLADEGA — Talladega College has taken it upon itself to install speed bumps along Martin Luther King Drive and Battle Street, according to City Manager Brian Muenger.

“I received word this morning that work was occurring on Martin Luther King Drive,” Muenger said. “I drove there with my Public Works Director Karen Phillips to find workers from the college actually boring into our road to install speed bumps.”

Muenger said the men would not stop installing the speed bumps, saying that they were under orders.

He said he immediately sent a cease and desist letter to TC President Billy C. Hawkins Wednesday, only to receive a letter back from the college’s Facilities and Management Director Gary Lawson saying they would proceed with the installation of the speed bumps in light of Friday night’s shooting on campus.

Lawson’s letter in response says that calls to both Phillips and Muenger have gone unanswered and unreturned, and that “due to a recent accident on campus, I am requesting permission to add the speed breakers on Martin Luther King Drive and Battle Street. This is an emergency!”

The college responded to the incident Wednesday afternoon saying that there was nothing in Lawson’s letter saying that they would move forward with the installation, and officially released this statement: “Talladega College will and is complying with the city’s process and requests.”

Although the college says that they are complying and although Lawson’s response letter to Muenger’s cease and desist letter requests permission from Muenger to install the speed bumps, workers were already busy installing them Wednesday morning according to Muenger.

“Without our permission, they’re installing something on our city road and I don’t know if they’re installing it correctly,” Muenger said. “I was very disappointed by those actions. It’s of course to utilize the incident that happened over the weekend.”

Muenger said that several months ago the college asked to put a third set of speed bumps on Battle Street and was rejected.

He believes they are using the shooting incident as an excuse to move ahead without abiding by the city’s speed bump policy that many city residents also fall under.

“To hold up the incident over the weekend as rational for that is distasteful,” Muenger said. “The shooter was on foot. It has nothing to do with a car speeding.”

Muenger said that in addition to the college bypassing the city’s speed bump policy, therein lies a problem of emergency response vehicles that will be slowed down and delayed, and major inconveniences for local residents.

Muenger said Lawson’s claim that neither he nor Phillips returned any of his calls is untrue, especially since they have worked together before to install a second set of speed bumps on those very same streets in accordance with the city’s policy.

“We have a speed bump policy which first starts with a written petition and certainly Mr. Lawson and the president are well aware and they know this because we worked together to install the second set of speed bumps,” Muenger said.

Muenger sent another letter to the college giving them until Friday to remedy the situation by uninstalling the speed bumps they installed on Wednesday.

If the college does not comply, Muenger said city workers would take them up on Friday.

“I’d rather this not be a big deal, but judging from Mr. Lawson’s letter he sent over, this does not appear to be the case,” Muenger said.

“It’s unfortunate, but I feel like my hand is being forced in this situation. I just ask that the college play by the same rules everyone else does.”

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