Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program

PURPOSE

In July 2017, the City Council adopted this Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (NTCP) to include a neighborhood engagement process by which residents can request traffic calming studies to verify and address various types of traffic conditions. This process can result in the development and installation of physical traffic calming measures in a neighborhood. 

SCOPE

  • The NTCP will apply to local and collector streets, as classified in the General Plan.
  • The NTCP does not apply to roadways designated as arterial roads. 
  • Requests for traffic calming measures shall be taken on a first-come, first-served basis and implemented up to the limit of funds available. 
  • Emergency vehicle access will be maintained in all traffic calming plans. Emergency vehicle travel times will also be considered when evaluating traffic calming measures.
  • Traffic calming devices will be planned, designed and used in keeping with sound engineering and planning practices and in compliance with the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
  • Potential traffic calming measures may include the following basic and physical roadway design  features:

o Traffic Signage
o Street Markings/ Striping
o Traffic Circles o Bulb-outs
o Speed Tables  
o Speed Humps
o Spot Islands
o Radar Speed Feedback Signs
o Crosswalk Flashing Beacons

NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC CALMING PROCESS

The Neighborhood Traffic Calming Process includes an eight-step planning process. It is anticipated that the total process, from initial inquiry to installation, may take six to twelve months. Each step in this process is outlined below. 

Step 1: Initial Inquiry
The NTCP process begins with an inquiry (see Neighborhood Request for Traffic Calming Study) to the City’s Public Works Department from a resident with a traffic safety concern. Staff evaluates the concern(s) and determines if:

  • The concern can be addressed through traditional traffic engineering measures such as signage and striping.
  • The concern can be addressed through other programs   (e.g. Safe Routes to School Program or street resurfacing work); or
  • If a neighborhood petition is required to begin a traffic calming process.
  • If the concern could be mitigated through regular staff work, then the resident submitting the inquiry will be notified of this outcome and given a projected timetable for the work. 

Step 2: Neighborhood Petition
If engineering staff determines that a traffic study is necessary to evaluate the concern, staff will ask for a neighborhood petition signed by 50% of the affected households. The petition must describe the perceived problem and inform residents that the traffic calming process may take 6-12 months. Neighborhood engagement will be requested as staff considers traffic calming measures. This petition is required in order to determine neighborhood support. Upon receipt of the petition, staff will conduct a traffic or speed study to collect appropriate data to determine if the speed meets the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Policy criteria.

Step 3: Minimum Criteria and Traffic Calming Study
a. The criteria to determine eligibility for further study of neighborhood physical traffic calming measures is
    determined when traffic studies conclude that:

  • 85th percentile speed traveled by vehicles exceeds the posted speed limit by 7 miles per hour (mph) on local streets and average daily traffic volume of 1,000 vehicles per day.
  • 85th percentile speed traveled by vehicles exceeds the posted speed limit by 7 mph on collector streets and average daily traffic volume of 2,000 vehicles per day.

b. If the traffic calming study concludes the minimum criteria are not met (hence the traffic safety concern is
not verified by the data); the request for physical traffic calming will be nullified. Staff can then discuss with the residents other options such as police enforcement or education. Potentially, staff could revisit with the neighborhood the possibility of striping or advisory signage that was assessed at the beginning of the traffic calming process.

c. If the traffic calming study indicates that the traffic conditions in the neighborhood meet the criteria staff will define the neighborhood and impacted streets to consider any other potential unintended traffic impacts that these solutions may create, identify possible traffic calming surveys, and convene a neighborhood meeting. 

Step 4: Neighborhood Engagement
At the neighborhood meeting, the goal is to present:

  • Traffic data and proven strategies for specific traffic issues;
  • Fiscal Impact (cost, funding options);
  • Neighborhood preference for specific types of solutions; and
  • Timeline

If the consensus at the neighborhood meeting is to proceed with the development of a traffic calming plan, staff will prepare options for physical traffic calming devices to address the neighborhood issue (e.g. speed humps, roundabout, etc.). In addition, the Police Department will be engaged to deploy speed trailers, or other available tools, as interim measures to use during the community planning process.

If necessary, staff will then convene an additional neighborhood meeting to present the proposed traffic calming devices and determine neighborhood preference. If the neighborhood and staff agree at the first meeting on a desired approach, a second meeting may not be necessary.

Step 5: Postcard Vote
To affirm neighborhood support, a postcard vote will be conducted and will require the support of 67% of residences in the project area (one vote per residence). Only residences that are directly affected and are located on the segment of the street in question, or on cul-de-sacs or courts directly connected to the street will be included in the notification/voting area. If a project does not receive 67% support, staff will report results to the neighborhood and determine next steps. 

Step 6: Approval
For projects with 67% support for a physical traffic calming measure, staff recommends that the City Council review the project and allocate funding. Projects with non-physical measures such as striping or signage are recommended for approval by the Public Works Director. 

Step 7: Installation
Once a project receives approval and funding by the designated body, staff will prepare final plans and specifications for implementation. 

Step 8: Evaluation
The final step in the traffic calming process takes place within one year of installation. At that time, a new traffic study will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the installed traffic measure. Both the neighborhood and City Council will receive a copy of this report. Staff estimates that the traffic calming process, following the receipt of a neighborhood petition, will take approximately six to twelve months.

FUNDING
The NTCP will be funded from the Capital Improvement Program Reserve funds. The amount will be determined each year during the review and approval of the five-year Capital Improvement Program budget. It is anticipated that funds will be used for:

  • Traffic Calming Studies (data surveys)
  • Traffic Calming Projects (low cost traffic calming measures)
  • Program management (staff time), including community meetings