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Neighborhood Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines


Introduction

Traffic calming presents a new dimension when discussing the use of public rights-of-way. That being the dimension of maintaining or restoring the "livability" of a neighborhood. Traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users. The major difference between traffic calming measures and other forms of traffic control devices, such as stop signs and speed limit signs, which require enforcement, is that calming measures are self-enforcing.

The City of Delray Beach is committed to ensuring the overall safety and livability of residential neighborhoods. One way to meet this commitment is through a collaboration of City staff, residents, and other agencies in an effort to minimize the impact of traffic on neighborhoods. The City of Delray Beach Neighborhood Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines provides a process for identifying and addressing problems related to speeding, excessive volumes, and safety on neighborhood streets. In short, this policy provides a procedure to consider, evaluate, and implement requests for traffic calming measures within the City of Delray Beach these procedures include:

  • Special attention shall be paid to documented high accident areas, and specific activities shall be undertaken to reduce their occurrence.
  • Travelways, which are primarily used by residents (local streets), shall receive special attention in order to assure that they remain accessible to residents and provide for easy traffic flow.
  • Efforts shall be made to limit excessive through-traffic and nonresidential traffic on local roads within neighborhoods. Where a problem such as traffic is specifically identified, it should be addressed through the utilization of traffic calming measures, such as roundabouts, medians, and speed humps.

 

Objectives

The overall objects of the Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines are derived from the existing objectives and policies contained in the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive plan. The overall objectives include:

  • Maintain and improve neighborhood livability by mitigating the impact of vehicular traffic on residential neighborhoods.
  • Promote safe and attractive streets that maintain and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods.
  • Promote conditions that provide safe neighborhoods for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and residents of the neighborhood while maintaining access to the neighborhood.
  • Encourage citizen involvement in all phases of neighborhood traffic calming activities.
  • Make efficient use of City resources by prioritizing traffic calming requests.
  • Support the policies contained in the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive plan.

 

Policies

The following policies are established as part of the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines:

  • Through traffic should be encouraged to use higher classification streets (i.e. collector and arterial streets), as designated in the Transportation Element of the City of Delray Beach Comprehensive Plan.
  • Traffic may be re-routed from one street to another of equal classification as a result of a neighborhood traffic-calming project, if and only if the end result is a more equal distribution of the traffic volumes. However, shifting a traffic problem from one street to another or one neighborhood to another is not an acceptable alternative.
  • Reduce the average speed of motor vehicles within neighborhoods.
  • Implement cost-effective measures for solving identified traffic problem(s).
  • Improve real and perceived safety for non-motorized users of the rights-of-way.
  • Reasonable emergency vehicle ingress/egress must be preserved.
  • Reasonable automobile access should be maintained. Calming measures implemented should encourage and enhance pedestrian and bicycle access to and throughout the defined neighborhood.
  • Any local residential street can qualify to have calming measures implemented. Collector streets will be considered on a case by case basis. Arterial streets will not be considered for traffic calming measures. Street classification is designated in the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive plan. 
  • The City shall employ traffic calming measures to achieve the objectives identified in this document. Traffic calming measures include, but are not limited to those measures listed in Section X. The City Engineer shall direct the design and installation of all calming measures along with the traffic control devices (signs, markings, etc.) as needed to accomplish the project, in compliance with the municipal code.
  • In processing and implementing traffic calming requests, certain procedures should be followed by the City to ensure that applicable codes and related policies are adhered to and that projects are within the limits of available resources. At a minimum, the procedures shall provide for submittal of project proposals; project evaluation and selection; citizen participation; and communication of any findings related to the proposed project. All projects shall receive input from area residents and affected organizations, and appropriate City Commission approval before installation of permanent traffic calming devices.

Process

Project Requests and Initiation of Traffic Calming Study

Requests for a traffic calming study, which are usually volume and speed related, can be requested through one of the following:

  • Homeowners Association - a study may be initiated upon receipt by the city manager of a petition signed by at least one member of sixty-six percent (66%) of the households facing the block(s) of the street on which the Traffic Calming Study is requested. A block shall consist of every developed property having frontage on the street to be studied between successive intersecting streets. A typical Traffic Calming Petition shall include, at a minimum, a description of the street or streets which are to be included in the calming study and the signature of at least 66% of the residents living on those street(s).
  • Non-public safety project requests shall require an application fee of $100.00.
  • Public Safety or City Staff - a study may be initiated because of an identified public safety issue.

Phases of Traffic Calming Study

Before any neighborhood traffic problem, whether real or perceived, can be addressed, it must be understood. The following outlines the various phases involved in a traffic calming study.

  • Citizen Meeting - All Traffic Calming Studies shall begin with an open meeting, organized by the Community Improvement Department, to which all potentially affected residents are invited. An overview of what traffic calming is, what it is intended to do and what criteria are used in selecting traffic calming devices and location(s) will be discussed, as well as an opportunity for residents to provide comments. Staff will work to define neighborhood boundaries.
  • Data Collection Phase - Once the defined neighborhood is identified, appropriate "before" data will be collected. Data collection strategies will be discussed to determine the appropriate type of data to be collected as well as length and dates of collection. Data collection before any measures are implemented also serves as a comparison to "after" data to determine the effectiveness of the traffic calming measures. Table 1 lists typical data that could be collected for each defined neighborhood. If additional data is needed for a defined neighborhood, the appropriate study will be conducted to supplement the above information.
Ranking projects

A rating system, see Table 2, will be utilized in order to enable competing local street traffic calming projects to be ranked in relation to the anticipated benefit. Similarly, a rating system, see Table 3, will be utilized in order to enable competing local collector street2 traffic calming projects to be ranked in relation to the anticipated benefit. If multiple projects are competing for traffic calming funds, ranking will be based on total points and project cost. Traffic calming projects must score a minimum of 30 points in order to be considered for implementation.

traffic test

 PDF version

Speed and volume usually precipitate the request for traffic calming within a neighborhood.  Traffic crashes are added as extra points because a crash problem usually coincides with higher volumes and speed.Residential density also affects general traffic conditions.  For example, higher densities tend to generate more pedestrian and vehicle turn movements.  In addition, projects on higher density streets tend to benefit more people than projects on lower density streets.The other criteria, sidewalks, school crossings, and pedestrian generators, are important considerations because they relate to pedestrian safety.

Table showing project point assignment for local streets
PDF Version
Table showing project point assignment for collector streets
PDF version
Design Criteria

As stated earlier traffic calming measures are self-enforcing physical features in the design of the roadway which effectively change the design speed.  The neighborhood will be instrumental in the development of traffic calming plans to tailor the design to area characteristics.  The design of traffic calming measures must, however, be undertaken using due diligence and responsible engineering judgment of the responsible designer.The following criteria shall be used as design guidelines for those projects meeting the criteria set in Section III above.
  • The posted speed may not be more than thirty (30) miles per hour.
  • Limited to streets having only one lane of through traffic in each direction.
  • Streets must not be primary emergency or evacuation routes.
  • At the discretion of the City Engineer, certain traffic calming measures may not be used if they would create an unsafe condition for motorists driving at normal speeds under average driving conditions.
  • Streets must not be through truck routes unless an acceptable alternative route is identified and approved.
  • If a calming plan could divert more than five percent (5%) of the traffic to another local or Collector Street, such street shall also be considered for traffic calming.

Project Financing

The ultimate factor regarding the implementation of traffic calming projects will be the availability of funding.  Funding sources include the annual capital improvement program, special assessments, or federal or local grants.

Project Selection

Projects scoring a minimum of thirty (30) points will be ranked and be presented to the City Commission for approval.  Projects approved by the City Commission will still need to compete for funding as part of the regular Capital Improvement Program (CIP) annual process.  Several factors will be considered when deciding whether to fund a traffic calming project.  The factors include size and complexity of the calming project, timing with other infrastructure improvements, and availability of funds.

Project Implementation

Only after a calming project is funded will the design phases begin.  The following is a guideline to use when trying to determine when construction on a calming project will begin:
Table Showing the project implementation process

PDF Version
Project Evaluation

Approximately six (6) months after the traffic calming project is completed additional data will be collected and compared to the "before" data.  The purpose of comparing "after" data to "before" data is to evaluate the effects of the project.  If any unacceptable impacts are identified, corrective measures may be taken.

Removal of Traffic Calming Measures

Traffic calming measures can be removed after the evaluation period for any of the following reasons:
  • Emergency response is significantly impacted.
  • The identified traffic problem that the calming measures were to eliminate is transferred to another adjacent street or neighborhood.
  • At least 75% of the property owners within the defined neighborhood sign a petition to remove the calming measures. (This option will result in complete removal of all measures.  All residents within the defined neighborhood will be assessed for the removal of the calming measures.)
Traffic Calming Measures

Roundabouts
A raised circular structure constructed in an intersection designed to deflect the flow of traffic entering the intersection in a counter-clockwise direction around the circle. The objectives of roundabouts are to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. Roundabouts are designed to accommodate all sizes of vehicles. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Semi-Diverter
Islands installed on the ingress side of the street in which entry is being prohibited. Vehicles are still allowed to exit from this street but entrance is prohibited. This feature discourages (actually prohibits) cut-through traffic.Mid-Block Islands
Islands constructed mid-block in the center of the roadway separating driving lanes and may reduce lane widths. The objectives of mid-block islands are to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Splitter Islands
These are treatments that may provide landscaping and physical channelization to lanes at the entrances to the neighborhood. The objectives of splitter islands are to slow traffic and discourage cut-through traffic.

Roadway Narrowing
These treatments reduce the width of the pavement while maintaining two-way traffic. Landscaping planted in conjunction with the narrowing may further enhance the feature and impact driver behavior by reinforcing the impression that the pavement area is limited. The objectives of roadway narrowing are to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Forced Turn Islands
The installation of raised islands at the approach to an intersection prohibits vehicles from making certain movements. The objectives are to slow traffic, reduce the number and severity of crashes, and prohibit certain turning movements.

Chicanes
This feature changes the alignment of the roadway so that the street is not straight. This eliminates driver tendencies to accelerate on a straight street and may add beautification opportunities without significantly impacting emergency services. Two-way traffic and full access for larger vehicles and emergency services is maintained. The objective is to slow traffic. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Neighborhood Signs
May be included at the entrance(s) to the neighborhood to advise motorists that the area is "traffic calmed". This may eliminate or reduce the use of other warning signs within the neighborhood, at the discretion of the City Engineer. These signs discourage cut-through traffic.

Speed Humps
Street pavement can be raised and the surface treated; the physical change in the roadway may slow vehicles. Speed humps shall not be used on roadways designated as primary access routes. The objective is to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Speed Tables
A type of speed hump with a flat top that may also be used as a raised pedestrian crossing area. They are generally three to four inches high, have a six-foot sloped approach, with a ten-foot top, and a six-foot sloped departure profile. The objective is to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. These features address vehicle speeds, increase visibility for pedestrians and may discourage cut-through traffic.

Raised Intersections
A raised intersection involves the construction of the entire intersection 3" to 4" above the approaching streets. The intersection is typically constructed of a different material type or the approaches are of different material to indicate a change at the intersection. The objectives are to slow traffic and reduce the number and severity of crashes. Raised intersections are designed to accommodate all sizes of vehicles. These features address vehicle speeds and may discourage cut-through traffic.

DefinitionsArterial Street - a heavily traveled street of considerable continuity used primarily as a main traffic artery. Ideally, an arterial street would have restricted access and provide a high degree of mobility and continuity.Collector Street - any two or four-lane street which links an arterial street with another collector street of a local street.Residential Cut-Through Traffic - traffic which uses local or collector streets to travel through a residential neighborhood without having an origin or destination within the neighborhood.


Contact:
Xavier Falconi
Principal Transportation Professional
falconix@mydelraybeach.com
Phone: (561) 243-7000
Extension: 4113
Fax: (561) 243-7060

 

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