The City of Lakewood has established a formal neighborhood traffic calming program to promote and sustain the desired character of our residential neighborhood streets. With its combination of high population density, tight grid of streets/sidewalks, and distribution of schools and parks, the City possesses a unique walkable character that makes it highly accessible for pedestrians – and, increasingly, to bicyclists. This program seeks to provide guidance and direction for addressing issues with traffic volume and speed to ensure our neighborhood streets stay safe and accessible for residents across all modes of travel. At its heart, program actions – whether education, enforcement, or intervention – are intended to be a collaborative effort among the City Administration, City Council, Police, and Residents.
This webpage seeks to provide a summary overview of the program and provide information on how to submit a complaint. The full program policy is available in the “Program References” drop-down menu on the right side of the page.
PROGRAM ACTIONS, INTENT, AND LIMITATIONS
Program actions fall within three categories (education, enforcement, intervention) – to be implemented separately or in a mutually-supporting combination – and are supported by an evaluation of effectiveness. In each case where a street (or section of street) is nominated for traffic calming actions, the City will initially determine basic eligibility of the street and accurately understand current traffic conditions before approaching the issue with a data-informed plan of phased, escalating action(s) that employ education and enforcement first before moving to physical intervention.
Intervention action(s) should only be taken when lesser actions have not produced desired results and when supported by the preponderance of residents within the determined traffic calming zone.
- Education. The first step in addressing traffic issues, these actions seek to provide awareness of neighborhood concerns, reinforce the posted speed limit, and remind all traffic of the importance of safe driving.
- Enforcement. This second step seeks to provide an increased presence of law enforcement to monitor and enforce speed limits in the neighborhood.
- Intervention. After education and enforcement actions have been exhausted, this final step seeks to alter the existing roadway through pavement marking or geometric roadway elements (horizontal, vertical) that result in lowered vehicle speeds.
Traffic calming is inherently a process that seeks a context-sensitive solution centered on the characteristics of the subject street and surrounding neighborhood. Context is important because it is central to how a neighborhood feels to residents and how automobile traffic is interpreted. A car traveling at, or even slightly above, the posted speed limit can impart a very different feeling to residents and pedestrians depending on the physical characteristics of a given street – not just the width from curb-to-curb, but other key elements such as how close the sidewalk or homes are to the curb. The overarching intent of the program is to first understand the conditions and context of a given street to then enable the application of an appropriate phased and escalating plan of actions. If lesser education and enforcement actions can be effective, then moving directly to the cost, disruption, and permanency of physical intervention will be avoided unless it is deemed by conditions and context to be necessary – and then only with the support of a preponderance of residents.
While traffic calming is a community-driven effort, there are limitations as to where actions can be taken and the effectiveness that actions can achieve. This program focuses on the local neighborhood streets with the characteristics that place them most at risk to adverse motor vehicle speed and volume issues. There are city streets that are not eligible for traffic calming under this program due to their characteristics, classification, or function (emergency response route, etc.). Those requesting action and/or improvements should have realistic expectations as to what those benefits are. Additionally, what may seem like obvious solutions are often not viable in accordance with accepted traffic regulations and codes.
NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC CALMING PLAN DEVELOPMENT
The development of a traffic calming plans follows a five-step process – generally aligned to each calendar/budget year – that progresses through a series of corresponding milestone decisions at each step. The program will run on an annual cycle to provide sufficient time for consideration, data collection, and plan development in collaboration with residents – as well as better alignment of plan approvals with funding allocation towards implementation. The program cycle will typically start in January when street nominations are compiled from complaints received. The cycle will proceed through data collection and into plan development during the spring and summer months to arrive at plan approvals prior to the budgeting process during the fall. This cycle will allow for full consideration of each nomination and the proper prioritization and dedication of funding for those larger projects that require intervention actions. It is important to note that the annual cycle serves as a guide – but will not preclude later review of complaints or earlier plan approval and implementation should priority and/or the availability of resources determine otherwise.
ELIGIBILITY AND TRAFFIC CONDITION REQUIREMENTS
During the initial two steps of the process, City staff will evaluate complaints against program eligibility and traffic condition requirements. Before submitting their street for consideration of traffic calming, Residents should be aware of these requirements. Should a complaint be received regarding a street that does not meet either eligibility (Table 4.1.2) or traffic condition requirements (Table 4.2.1), then the complaint may still be addressed through appropriate education or enforcement actions that do not require the development of a full traffic calming plan. A map depicting street eligibility (per Table 4.1.2) can be viewed here.
To ensure this remains a resident-driven program, there are two points within the process that require the demonstration of a specific threshold of neighborhood support for traffic calming implementation:
- Before investing the necessary resources in the development of a full traffic calming plan, a city-administered survey will need to indicate the support of 50% or more of neighborhood households.
- Once a plan is developed, a petition following review of the plan at a Neighborhood Block Meeting will need to document the support of 60% or more of neighborhood households for implementation.
TO SUBMIT A COMPLAINT
Complaints with an intent towards consideration for traffic calming should be submitted via the City’s Report a Problem interface, selecting “traffic calming” as the problem category:
Residents are asked to please complete the initial contact information portion, then include the following information in the fields of the second portion (issue information) of the form:
- Location Type: Select “Intersection”
- House # or Block: Not applicable (Leave Blank)
- Street Name: Provide the primary street along which the conditions/concerns are being experienced.
- Nearest Cross Street / Intersection: Provide the two cross-streets that bound the section(s) of the primary street indicated above on which the conditions/concern exists.
- Additional Location Details: Please include any other details that might be appropriate to understanding the street (or section) and how the characteristics of the location may contribute to the problem being experienced.
- Description of Problem: Please include a description of the conditions driving the problem (high speeds, too much traffic volume, etc.) and the timeframe over which the conditions have been observed. If you have reported the problem before via a method other than this website, please include who you contacted, how, when, and any relevant outcomes.
- Supporting Documents. The website also allows for the submission of electronic files to support the explanation of problem – and could include photos or diagrams of conditions being experienced or other relevant documents.