City engineers receive hundreds of complaints each year from residents who are concerned about speeding on their streets. Here are some guidelines to help you address these issues by working with your neighbors and city officials.
9 Easy Steps to Safer Roads:
1. Get organized. Your city won’t fund traffic calming if only you want it. Schedule a neighborhood meeting and find out if others are concerned. Rally your neighbors to get them interested in safer streets. In many cities 70% of residents must sign off before solutions can be installed.
2. Identify when, where, and why speeding is happening. What times are cars speeding by? Where in your neighborhood is this an issue? Why do you think they are speeding? Is it a popular route to work? A cut-through to avoid traffic? A neighborhood street being used as a thoroughfare?
3. Talk to your neighbors about what they are willing to do to solve the speeding problem. Speeding is sometimes caused by the very residents who are complaining about it. Make resolutions to slow down on neighboring streets- people often won’t speed on their own streets but will only a block or two away from home.
4. Have neighbors sign a petition requesting traffic calming. Strength lies in numbers- get signatures from as many people as you can. If your local government knows that most of the neighborhood wants traffic calming, they are more likely to further research the issue.
5. Do your research. Review your city’s traffic calming guidelines. Many cities have a point system with criteria to determine where to install traffic calming. Find out if solutions are funded by city budget or if your neighborhood will need to contribute part or all of the funding.
6. Identify and contact the appropriate department or contact person. This may be the traffic or transportation department, traffic engineer, public works professionals, or police department. Reach out and find out what they need from you to get the process started. It may be helpful to contact elected officials as well to get them to lobby on your behalf.
7. Request a speed study. Speed studies track vehicle speed and volume on your roads. This can determine if speeding is an actual issue or a perceived one. Traffic speed can never be accurately determined by someone standing still.
8. Attend relevant meetings. Often, following a request, a public meeting will be held. Resident input is always welcome. Do your research on different types of traffic calming solutions. If there are reasons you think your neighborhood deserves priority, now is your time to present it. Some ideas would be proximity to parks or churches, high pedestrian activity, or if it’s a route children use to walk or bike to school.
9. Follow up and express gratitude. If you don’t hear back from the city, don’t give up. Contact them by phone or email and encourage your neighbors to do the same. Thank them for their efforts. And of course, if you do qualify and get traffic calming, make sure you show to appreciation for your safer roads!