Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program

The City recognizes that residential streets occasionally have higher speeds and traffic volumes due to shifting traffic patterns and new developments.  Isolated, occasional and daily conditions of high speed can affect neighborhood livability. With help from citizens and the City's efforts in education, enforcement, and engineering, these concerns can be addressed.

Citizen involvement and data collection are integral parts of all traffic calming projects. The people who live and work in the area of concern have the opportunity to become actively involved in the planning and decision-making process.
 

The City takes regular traffic speed data on arterial roadways and has been collecting speed data on residential roadways in response to concerns. You can check to see if speed on your street has recently been measured  here.

 

What is the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program? 

The Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program addresses neighborhood traffic concerns identified by citizens and/or community groups. Through active participation by citizens, we can identify the problem, plan the approach, implement solutions, and evaluate their effectiveness.

The City’s traffic calming toolbox includes three categories of solutions referred to as the three E’s: Education, Enforcement, and Engineering.

  • Education alerts citizens to ways they can help ease traffic problems in their own neighborhoods. This can include temporary radar devices, direct mail campaigns, newsletter articles and temporary signage.
  • Enforcement enlists the help of the Police Department to focus enforcement efforts on the area of concern and increase community awareness of speeding problems through their presence.
  • Engineering tools include a variety of traffic calming physical devices that can reduce speed or improve safety. These tools are used only after a data-driven analysis and pursuit of the other two “E”s in an attempt to alleviate the problem.

The City will look to citizens to help identify specific neighborhood characteristics that should be taken into account when identifying solutions. Solutions will be evaluated to ensure that they best serve the neighborhood, do not negatively affect emergency access and other public services, and, in the case of physical devices, have support of a majority of the residents who will be affected.

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What can be done now to address vehicle speed concerns in residential areas?

  • Neighborhood Speed Watch Program: This program allows citizens the opportunity to check out a radar unit and record the speeds of vehicles traveling in their neighborhood. Radar units available include both a handheld radar gun and a radar trailer.
    • Temporary Speed Feedback Signs: Temporary speed feedback signs can be mounted on existing posts in your neighborhood and left in place for a short period. These devices show drivers their "actual" speed and alerts them when they are driving too fast for conditions, or in excess of the posted speed limit.
    • Radar guns: Handheld devices which allow citizens to determine and record the actual speeds of vehicles on their streets. These devices can be loaned out from the front desk at City Hall.
  • Neighborhood Newsletter: This program involves a personalized newsletter mailed to your community. The newsletter explains traffic volumes and speeds in your area, refreshes citizens on traffic laws and pedestrian safety, and encourages compliance.
  • Target Enforcement: Law enforcement can be notified of areas and times where speeding is expected to occur and increase their presence for targeted speed enforcement.

 

What can be done in the future? 

If data collection confirms an issue of excessive speeds, volumes, or frequency of speed-related crashes, the installation of traffic control devices will be considered. Each of these devices is unique and specific criteria have been established for when and where they may be used. Physical in-road devices can also have other impacts on emergency services, neighborhood noise, and diversion of traffic to other nearby routes. 
 

Other tools for addressing concerns can include road striping revisions, street signage revisions and operational revisions.  Use of the most appropriate tools is determined by traffic engineering analysis by City staff.  Vehicle volume thresholds in the collected data must be between 300 and 3000 vehicles per day to be considered in the Calming Program.  Volumes outside of this range are either too low for devices to be effective when compared with education and enforcement, or high enough that the road is considered an arterial and requires further study.

Additionally, one of the two following thresholds must be met for a road to be considered for changes in the Calming Program:

  • An Engineering Speed Study shows excessive speeds
    • An engineering speed study will consider the range and dispersion of vehicle speeds, geometry of the roadway and traffic control present, and typical use of the road as well as adjacent land use.
  • Elevated Frequency of Speed-Related Crashes
    • The crash history of a road may suggest that speed reduction would significantly reduce the risk of crashes occurring. Examples of crash types which are usually not considered to be speed related are backing or parking crashes, impaired driving crashes, and many failure-to-yield crashes which occur at stop controlled or signalized intersections.

 

Based on the data collected and the topography of the area, tools to address traffic concerns may be recommended. Any recommended action will be based on sound engineering and planning principles. Safety remains paramount in the decision-making process, including access for public safety vehicles.  To ensure there is consensus among citizens that would be directly affected by these changes and the potential impacts they may have, neighborhood meetings will be held and majority support (60%) is required before proceeding with construction of the physical devices.

Last updated: Mon, 03/25/2019 - 3:40pm