Traffic Calming

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Traffic calming is a term used to describe a combination of mostly physical features that are intended to improve traffic use on local collector streets, alter driver behavior and improve safety conditions for everyone who uses the street. 

Some of the most common types of traffic calming measures are traffic circles, raised circles in the middle of intersections that are intended to slow the speed of vehicles as they travel around the circle; choker, chicane or pinch points, devices that create an impediment on the road by placing a fixed object on the street, forcing motorists to divert around the object or slow down on a narrower section of road; and speed humps, raised sections of road to reduce speeds. 

For details, refer to the City's Traffic Calming Ordinance Section 86 Article V. Traffic Calming



What is traffic calming?
Traffic calming is the combination of physical features constructed in the roadway that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use by altering driver behavior and improving conditions for non-motorized street users.

Can we put up signs to tell traffic to slow down?
The City has found that passive devices such as signs are not effective. Most drivers do not respond. Installing active traffic calming measures such as speed humps to physically slow traffic work best.

Are stop signs an option for traffic calming treatments?
No. Stop signs are traffic control devices, not traffic calming measures. Stop signs are installed to clarify who has the right-of-way at intersections. They are not an effective method for calming traffic or slowing speeds. When installed where unwarranted, they breed disrespect from drivers and actually may cause crashes by providing a false sense of security to pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to speed humps?
Speed humps are the most direct way to address driver behavior and encourage slower speeds. They are also one of the least expensive traffic calming features, are easy to construct, require minimal design work, and can be implemented in a short time frame. However, speed humps do increase emergency response time by causing an average delay of 7 seconds per feature. In addition, while overall noise levels on the street may decrease due to lower vehicle speeds and traffic volumes, some noise may increase at the actual speed hump location, such as from trucks with loose equipment.

What are some alternatives to speed humps?
Other traffic calming features such as mid-block islands, mini-traffic circles, entrance treatments, or roadway narrowings may be better alternative. 

Can we just close the road?
No. Road closings or diversions should only be considered as a last resort. Closures require traffic to divert to other routes and can increase trip lengths. Physically closing a road may impede emergency service access to neighborhoods and cause concerns for sanitation pick-up and other services.