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Thread: Traffic calming

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Traffic calming

    I live in a 1900's-era streetcar neighborhood with classic street grid. Trouble is, people tend to barrel through at well above the posted 30 mph speed limit. Given, they're driving at the speed they feel comfortable, regardless of signs. Most of the streets are gun-barrel straight, hilly and generally over 40 feet wide, making speeding a cinch.

    Aside from mini-roundabouts, chicanes, island diverters and visual trickery (i.e. street trees, building taller and closer to sidewalk, on-street parking) that creates "enclosure", anybody have other remedies for a situation like this?

    I always enjoy looking back at this photo I took in a Tacoma, WA neighborhood. Still, the street it was on was ridiculous to have a 30 mph limit, since it was an arterial street and on an STEEP hill.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails You tell em'.jpg  

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    I have one word for you....'enforcement'.

    Hit them in the wallet. In Florida we had a place that took enforcement seriously and now has a reputation for catching speeders. I don't speed there, ever. (For the Florida folk that would be Waldo).
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  3. #3
    Well if you have enough of a grid system there, you could try some partial closures where you don't let vehicles exit (or enter) one block from one direction. This forces an indirect route through the neighborhood and should slow people down a bit.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    tickets

    I've seen smaller signs placed in the middle of the street that say things like, "Yield to Peds, $500 fine for violators" Besides the things you mentioned, or narrowing the road width by, oh, 15-20 feet, I'm not sure there's much else you can do.

  5. #5
    1. Allow on-street parking - both sides

    2. Grids can be controlled by making traffic stop every other block (except thru (MAJOR) streets). Dense residential areas, downtowns (business districts) and subdivisions can be controlled with 4-way stops - if they meet volume/accident/pedestrian criteria set forth by the MUTCD.

    3. The most expensive way is to enforce the speed. Typically PD's don't like to do this, they would rather fight crime, plus speeding is tough to enforce, since the element of surprise (hiding) is tough to do in residential areas - but you do have hills.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    They use 'mini roundabouts' as a way of traffic claming here. Staring to gainin popularity in the US too by all accounts:

    http://www.roundaboutsusa.com/minis.html

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    1. Allow on-street parking - both sides
    On Street Parking should not be used as a traffic calming device. Yes it has that effect but it shouldn't be the means to calming traffic in an area.

    I do agree with 4 way stops where easily implemented. However with so much right of way in your situation you might think of chicanes and lateral traffic
    calming.

    If you are in a warm climate without the need for snow removal you could consider milling the road so it has a rougher feel to the motorists in turn slowing them down. I would only suggest this as a final last ditch effort. I learned this technique when I was visiting Germany I asked why the roads were, what I thought, in disrepair. My friend advised me that they purposely leave the roads in disrepair in residential areas to slow down the traffic.
    Last edited by Tide; 06 Mar 2007 at 10:56 AM.
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tall Fella' View post
    Aside from mini-roundabouts, chicanes, island diverters and visual trickery (i.e. street trees, building taller and closer to sidewalk, on-street parking) that creates "enclosure", anybody have other remedies for a situation like this?
    How about:

    1. striping narrow 9- or 10-foot lanes
    2. angled parking on one side alternating each block to create chicanes
    3. making random blocks one-way to prevent through traffic
    4. speed humps (not bumps)
    5. raised crosswalks

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    On Street Parking should not be used as a traffic calming device. Yes it has that effect but it shouldn't be the means to calming traffic in an area.
    Why not? On street parking has worked reasonably well as a calming device for years in dense residential areas in almost every US city.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    Why not? On street parking has worked reasonably well as a calming device for years in dense residential areas in almost every US city.
    Read what I wrote again. I agree on street parking does have the effect of calming, but it shouldn't be used as the only method. I propose this problem, what if you allow the parking but noone utilizes it? Then what good has on street parking accomplished?
    @GigCityPlanner

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the thoughts

    I agree that enforcement is a lame proposition for traffic calming. It's expensive, sucks away police resources from real crime, etc. Parallel parking happens twice daily on part of my street in question since there's an elementary school where parents park and pick-up.

    The chicane effect of creating parallel parking on alternating sides of the street is interesting and something that's already been done on Fairfax Ave., a street off 21st Ave.in Nashville's Hillsboro - West End area. For anyone that knows Nashville, that's generally a $$$$-$$$$$$$ neighborhood, while mine tends to be $-$$. With that in mind, my neighborhood my have act as an extra squeaky wheel to get some grease.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tall Fella' View post
    I agree that enforcement is a lame proposition for traffic calming. It's expensive, sucks away police resources from real crime, etc. Parallel parking happens twice daily on part of my street in question since there's an elementary school where parents park and pick-up.

    The chicane effect of creating parallel parking on alternating sides of the street is interesting and something that's already been done on Fairfax Ave., a street off 21st Ave.in Nashville's Hillsboro - West End area. For anyone that knows Nashville, that's generally a $$$$-$$$$$$$ neighborhood, while mine tends to be $-$$. With that in mind, my neighborhood my have act as an extra squeaky wheel to get some grease.
    Your first message stated that you already knew about chicanes and bump/humps and traffic calming features. Enforcement is not as lame or expensive as you might think. One, you already pay for the police (if your city is so overflowing with crime you are afraid to pull them away, then traffic calming should not be your first priority.) Two, if you have a school nearby, then enforcing the speed limit would seem to be a good idea. Lastly, you may find that many of the speeders are your neighbors. Maybe a little awareness, leg work and sweat on your part, could change their behavior. If it is pass through traffic, then enforcement and/or design features are the way.
    What’s in a name? – Your reputation….:)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    Read what I wrote again. I agree on street parking does have the effect of calming, but it shouldn't be used as the only method. I propose this problem, what if you allow the parking but noone utilizes it? Then what good has on street parking accomplished?
    If their current parking is rear/alley parking or narrow driveways, then they will use on-street parking. If they have wide driveways, then they won't use it as much, except for having people over.
    It will still allow for more parking capacity for neighborhoods overall - great for those multi-vehicle families.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Flying Monkeys View post
    Two, if you have a school nearby, then enforcing the speed limit would seem to be a good idea.
    Why? Kids don't walk to school anymore (especially in the South).

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Iron Ring's avatar
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    I like curb extensions to narrow the street at intersections. You can put parallel parking in between. The curb extensions ensure that the narrowing effect applies even if no parked cars are present, they enhance the pedestrian crossings (can be further enhanced with conspicuous paint, signage, alternate textures, or with raised crossings), and they often look nice.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Okay so its a series of measures, not one solution. You lot are confusing this, its quite simple.

    Cheap:
    A good solution is to allow parking on both side of the street (a)
    Changing the priorities at intersections (f)
    If you have influence on highway maintanance, suggest they do less of it.
    Painted on mini roundabouts at junctions (d)

    Expensive:
    Chicances, speed bumps etc (£5000 quid a pop) (b, c, e)
    Different road textures (£800 a metre) (g)

    Or you can go the 'whole hog' with resurfacing, planting and chicanes like the dutch "Woonerf" http://www.walkinginfo.org/de/curb1....%20Calming. (As expesnive as you want it to be).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Traffic calming.jpg  
    Last edited by b3nr; 07 Mar 2007 at 9:08 AM.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    As a pedestrian who has spent years living on narrow streets where drivers regularly blow through stop signs at twice the speed limit, I'm always tempted to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws by throwing rocks at cars moving at unsafe speeds. Of course, this is merely a temptation, and I haven't resorted to it (yet) due to the danger it would pose both the driver and myself (after the driver stopped the car and beat me senseless for stoning their vehicle).

    That said, the automatic speed sensor devices on trailers that police departments can place in various locations seem to be a reasonably successful way of reminding drivers that they are going too quickly. The machine can be set up anywhere chronic speeding is a problem, and drivers are alerted to the fact that they are going too quickly without needing a police officer around.

    Another faux-enforcement speed-reduction strategy is to park an unattended police car where it is visible from a few blocks away, but where it might be a speed trap...people generally slow down, even if they are already going the speed limit, when they see a cop car around.

    But really, what's the problem with the ideas you didn't want to consider? "mini-roundabouts, chicanes, island diverters and visual trickery (i.e. street trees, building taller and closer to sidewalk, on-street parking) that creates 'enclosure'." Those all work really well (I'm a big fan of visual trickery).

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by permaplanjuneau View post
    As a pedestrian who has spent years living on narrow streets where drivers regularly blow through stop signs at twice the speed limit, I'm always tempted to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws by throwing rocks at cars moving at unsafe speeds. Of course, this is merely a temptation, and I haven't resorted to it (yet) due to the danger it would pose both the driver and myself (after the driver stopped the car and beat me senseless for stoning their vehicle).

    That said, the automatic speed sensor devices on trailers that police departments can place in various locations seem to be a reasonably successful way of reminding drivers that they are going too quickly. The machine can be set up anywhere chronic speeding is a problem, and drivers are alerted to the fact that they are going too quickly without needing a police officer around.

    Another faux-enforcement speed-reduction strategy is to park an unattended police car where it is visible from a few blocks away, but where it might be a speed trap...people generally slow down, even if they are already going the speed limit, when they see a cop car around.

    But really, what's the problem with the ideas you didn't want to consider? "mini-roundabouts, chicanes, island diverters and visual trickery (i.e. street trees, building taller and closer to sidewalk, on-street parking) that creates 'enclosure'." Those all work really well (I'm a big fan of visual trickery).
    Studies have shown that the speed trailers work only while they are utilized, the speeding resumes as soon as the trailer leaves. 3M does have a permanent mount solar-powered speed display unit that can be mounted on normal sign posts for about $5,000 each - a 3M rep tried to sell me some last week - nice units, but salty $$.
    The City of Toledo, OH has a mobile speed enforcement van that can record license plates and send citations to violators -similar to the red-light running cameras- only this unit is mobile. They use this in school zones and get about 75 citations (violators) per school entering/exiting period (150/day). At $95 a pop, I would imagine this would pay for itself very quickly - if they were actually paid. This would be an illusive way to enforce speed limits and keep everyone on their toes. Redflex and Nestor are 2 of the leaders in photo enforcement. Advisory: HUGE political hurdles are attached.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

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