Ways to Address Speeding Problems in a Neighborhood
Residents often feel that the traffic on their street is going too fast. The first step is to establish whether there is indeed a speeding problem, because speeds often appear higher than they really are to a person standing near the road.
Depending on the roadway conditions and nature of the problem, the Traffic Operations Division may collect speed and volume data to ascertain whether excessive speeding exists and if there is cut-through traffic in the neighborhood. Once we establish the nature of the problem, we have several ways to address the issues.
- Lower the speed limit on the street to 25 mph. This requires majority support from the residents through a petition process.
- Deploy a Police radar trailer to draw motorists’ attention to their speeds.
- Identify high volume and high speed times and provide targeted enforcement.
- Encourage the establishment of a neighborhood watch to educate residents.
- Implement traffic calming measures – these are physical changes to the street geometry and alignment that force motorists to slow down, and are used only in the most extreme situations. Examples of traffic calming measures are traffic circles, medians, diverters, chicanes and chokers.
Speed Humps Speed humps (or bumps) can reduce speeds on residential streets under some conditions. However, the negatives typically outweigh the benefits, and it has been the longstanding policy of the City not to allow such devices.
- Emergency response times are increased, especially if a fire truck or ambulance has to negotiate a series of humps.
- Speed humps increase noise, especially for homes adjacent to the device.
- Speed humps are typically accompanied by a number of warning signs, creating a negative impact on aesthetics.
- Vehicles sometimes try to avoid the humps by driving around them on to residents’ yards.
- Residents have complained about lowered property values as prospective homebuyers think that there is a serious safety problem on the street.
Stop Signs Stop signs are not an appropriate tool for solving speeding problems.
- Stop signs are intended to assign right-of-way between conflicting movements at intersections. The proper use of stop signs is governed by state and federal regulations.
- Research has shown that motorists often speed up between the signs to make up for the perceived wasted time.
- Drivers recognize the unjustified stop signs, and this results in many people rolling through the stop signs. This encourages a general disrespect for all stop signs in the area.
- Although the stop signs may be intended for a few people that may be speeding at certain times of the day, the remaining residents still have to unnecessarily stop each time they go through these intersections.
- Inappropriate stop signs waste fuel and create more air pollution.
“Children at Play” Signs
The City of Grapevine does not install "Children at Play" or similar signs. Where these signs already exist, they are typically well over a decade old and are not replaced as they wear or are damaged. There are numerous reasons for why these signs are not used:
- Warning signs are intended to alert drivers to unexpected or unusual conditions. The presence of children in a residential area is neither unusual nor unexpected, and so these signs provide no useful information to drivers and no clear direction as to how drivers should react.
- There is no evidence to indicate that these signs actually reduce speeds or crash rates.
- The use of unnecessary and ineffective warning signs breeds a general lack of respect for all traffic signs, potentially harming the effectiveness of critical signing.
- The signs provide children and parents with a false sense of security which can actually lead to an increased risk, as they incorrectly imply that it is safe and acceptable to play in the street.
- The use of these signs in some neighborhoods incorrectly implies that children are not present in other neighborhoods that do not have signs, and that motorists do not need to be alert for children in those areas.
- The presence of signs in some areas encourages requests for those signs in other areas. To be fair, signs would need to be posted on nearly every block of every street, making them meaningless to drivers.
- Federal and State standards do not permit the use of these non-standard signs on public roadways for the reasons described above.