Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh considers rules for traffic-calming measures

Residents who dislike plans for speed humps or other measures that slow traffic on the streets where they live may soon have a way to stop proposed projects.

City officials are considering changes to the neighborhood traffic management program that include a petition process to stop a traffic-calming design that is in the works or to remove existing measures.

Thomas Fiorello, who oversees the program, said its policies are revised periodically.

“Most of it’s lessons learned over time, things we can do to make the program better,” he said.

The city council voted Tuesday to send the changes to committee rather than approve them immediately. The council did approve a list of streets that are part of the program this year.

The traffic management program is designed to deal with speeding problems and is divided into two sections based on the size of the street. Wider streets generally qualify for a streetscape project that may include medians or curb extensions. Narrower streets may get a traffic-calming project, which often involves speed humps.

If the city determines a street qualifies for the program based on criteria such as accident history and traffic volume, 75 percent of residents must submit a petition supporting the program before it moves forward.

The projects are funded by the transportation bond and capital improvement funds; residents are not charged to participate.

The proposed changes include:

• a process to halt the design process if 75 percent of residents sign a petition;

• a process to remove treatments such as speed humps after they have been in place for at least a year if 75 percent of residents sign a petition;

• a mandatory speed reduction to 25 mph if a street has vertical treatments such as speed humps;

• a clarification that residents eligible to sign the petition include those with properties abutting the street.

Neal Harrington, a longtime critic of the traffic management program, said he’s not sure the changes would make a difference. He thinks the fundamentals of the program aren’t sound.

“Nobody follows the rules,” he said.

The public works committee will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday to consider the proposed policy changes.