"Traffic calming" is the overall term for enhancements made to residential streets in order to encourage vehicles to drive the speed limit. At a bare minimum, although such measures aren't traditionally considered "traffic calming," it might include the installation of a new "Slow - Residential Area" signs. On a larger scale, it may also include reconstruction of the streets in question to add physical features: speed humps, neighborhood traffic circles, and the like.
In 1992, the City of Tallahassee first conceived the idea to start a Traffic Calming Program for Tallahassee's neighborhood streets. On June 19, 1996, the first traffic calming devices were constructed on Terrace Street, between Sixth Avenue and Miccosukee Road. Since then, the program has become extremely popular: our list of project candidates has grown to almost 80 in the last few years.
Most residents of most neighborhoods want to keep their streets safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. Not everyone feels equally positive about a traffic calming solution to the problem, though. Furthermore, when reconstruction is involved, not every traffic calming request can actually be afforded. And a host of environmental and engineering considerations may make reconstruction impractical even when the need seems obvious and construction funds are available.
For these reasons, Traffic Engineering has established a standard set of procedures to be followed in addressing all traffic calming requests. Most recently revised in June, 2001, these procedures are outlined below.
Step 1: Petition to study
The petition must be received signed by seventy-five percent (75%) or more of adjacent residents. Note: At this time, the petition to request traffic calming for a street may not be reviewed or submitted on-line. It must be handled by calling Traffic Engineering at 891-8261. Even then, a petition may not be granted. See some of the reasons why.
If the signed petition is received before the start of the next fiscal year (October 1st), the street will be added to the current fiscal year's Traffic Calming list. If the petition is received after the start of the next fiscal year, the street will instead be added to the next year's Traffic Calming list.
Step 2: Data collection by Traffic Engineering
After the City receives the petition to study, Traffic Engineering will collect information on roadway speeds, traffic volumes, accident rates, sidewalk configurations, pedestrian "generators" (schools, parks, and so on), and number of residential units.
Step 3: Priority Ranking
Once Traffic Engineering collects the roadway data, the street is ranked and placed on the Residential Area Traffic Calming Priority Listing. This ranking will determine the priority for each street awaiting traffic calming.
Step 4: Field review and conceptual plan development
When a project reaches the top of the priority list, Traffic Engineering will develop a conceptual plan based on location of existing driveways, utilities, and roadway grades. The conceptual plan will generally provide for calming features every 400-600 feet.
Step 5: Meeting with residents
Once a conceptual plan has been developed, a meeting with the residents will be scheduled to receive their input on the plan. If the plan is unsatisfactory to the residents, the plan will be revised and a follow-up meeting held to allow the residents to review and comment on the revised plan.
Step 6: Polling cards
Before scheduling construction, 75% or more of the residents along the roadway must sign and return a polling card stating that they accept the proposed plan and would like the City to proceed with construction.
Steps 7 & 8: Final design and permitting / Construction
Step 9: Post-construction evaluation
After 120 days, Traffic Engineering will evaluate impact on speeds, volumes, and safety. Results will be presented to the neighborhood.
Current Traffic Calming Projects
At this time, only one traffic calming project has not been completed. This is the Lonnbladh Road project. However, that project is currently on hold.