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Traffic Calming


Traffic calming as defined by the Institute of Transportation Engineers is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users. Traffic calming measures are intended to be self-enforcing and not require enforcement by governmental units such as the Police Department. The immediate purpose of traffic calming is to reduce the speed and volume of traffic to acceptable levels for improved neighborhood livability, crime prevention and urban redevelopment. Based on it's currently adopted Traffic Calming Program, the City of Boca Raton offers traffic calming measures (Enhanced Speed Humps) through a neighborhood initiated grass roots planning process.



In an effort to address neighborhood improvement and revitalization, the City of Boca Raton created the neighborhood Improvement Study Commission by City Council Resolution No. 79-96, in April of 1996. Working closely with City staff, the Commission developed the City's First Residential Traffic Calming Plan, which was approved by City Council under Resolution 37-97, adopted March 18, 1997.

The Traffic Calming Program, described in this original plan, was designed to maintain a clear focus on traffic safety and the general interest of the community as a whole. Specific objectives and goals encouraged the preservation of the unique, positive and highly desirable attributes of the City's residential neighborhoods and of improving its overall quality of life.

In 1999, an Interdepartmental Staff Task Force took the experiences learned from the implementation of the original 1997 plan and developed a revised plan which was titled Traffic Calming Policy and was approved by City Council on March 16, 1999 by Resolution No. 47-99.



The Traffic Calming Program was subsequently put on hold due to a long waiting list of neighborhoods that petitioned for traffic calming and a high estimated cost of proposed traffic calming consensus plans. A "Traffic Calming Program Comprehensive Report and Recommendations" was distributed to City Council in June 2000 and discussed at the City Council Workshop on August 21, 2000. At the City Council Workshop on November 13, 2000, the City Manager and staff received direction from City Council to streamline the traffic calming process and reduce costs through a revised traffic calming program that included a new "enhanced speed hump" traffic calming feature as the only feature available for funding in neighborhoods requesting traffic calming.

This current Traffic Calming Policy is therefore the third version of the City's Traffic Calming Program. As City codes, policies, strategies, and goals change, further revisions to this Traffic Calming Policy may be necessary in the future. The current Traffic Calming Policy was adopted on February 27, 2001 by Resolution 46-2001.

Complete current traffic calming policy



This traffic-calming measure provides an opportunity to address traffic calming in the City of Boca Raton in an efficient, timely, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing manner. Enhanced Speed HumpThe enhanced speed hump is a combination measure that includes vertical deflection (a speed table), horizontal deflection (road narrowing), a change in color and texture (paver bricks) and landscaping. Locations are flexible to a certain extent, based on spacing and location of driveways, manholes, intersecting side streets, etc. In addition, a variation of this measure using the same enhanced design but without the raised hump can be used on those roads designated as eligible for traffic calming but are primary access routes for emergency services and ineligible for measures that have vertical deflections. The horizontal deflection is maintained through the road narrowing along with the landscaping and colored paver bricks.

The enhanced speed hump measure will require the adjacent property owners' agreement to irrigate and maintain the landscaping. The City will add to and adjust any adjacent sprinkler systems for the property owner in the swale areas. These system additions will be maintained by the property owner.

Detail of Speed Humps:



Other traffic calming measures may be available if the neighborhood association or private property owners wish to pay for them. Private plans for and installation of additional traffic calming measures must be coordinated with City staff using the same voting procedures and current Traffic Calming Policy guidelines. A written agreement with the City, providing for all design costs, construction costs, and maintenance of the traffic calming measure will be required. All additional costs associated with special designs for a neighborhood traffic-calming plan that incorporates measures other than the enhanced speed hump measures shall be the responsibility of the petitioner(s).

Traffic calming measures other than the enhanced speed hump measure that may be considered by the City at a future time or additional measures that may be funded by a group of property owners or Homeowners Associations, or a developer, are described briefly as follows. All designs are subject to the approval of the City Traffic Engineer and other City departments.

Mini Traffic CircleMini-Traffic Circles: Raised circular structure constructed in an intersection that horizontally deflects the flow of traffic entering the intersection to slow traffic and help reduce the number and severity of crashes. All approaches become a "Yield" condition.

Mid Block IslandMid-Block Islands: Elongated, curbed median islands constructed approximately midway in a roadway segment to separate driving lanes and reduce lane widths.

Entrance Way Features: Treatments that provide landscaping at the entrances to the neighborhood to help give identity and remind drivers to maintain slow speeds throughout the residential area. Also referred to as "gateway features".

Roadway Narrowings: Reduction in pavement width of a roadway section while maintaining two-way traffic. Landscaping planted in conjunction with the narrowing reinforces the impression of limited pavement area and narrows field of vision.

Intersection Redesign: Consists of several different possible designs based on the specific needs and unique characteristics of the location. May involve eliminating excess pavement areas, creating horizontal deflections on approaches or realigning intersection to 90-degrees.

Speed HumpSpeed Humps: Besides the enhanced speed hump feature, there are other types of speed humps. A standard speed hump is a parabolic, curved hump 10 to 14 feet long (not to be misunderstood as a "speed bump"). Another type of speed hump with a flat top, or speed table, used as a raised pedestrian crosswalk must be reserved for areas near playgrounds or schools.



Neighbourhood Mini-Committee MeetingCurrently the Traffic Calming Program contains ten holdover neighborhoods and those new neighborhoods, which have petitioned for program admission and successfully passed a traffic study of vehicles on neighborhood streets, speed studies and accident records for the neighborhood. All economic levels of the City are represented. Concerned parents are the driving force behind the majority of neighborhood mini-committees currently preparing traffic calming plans for their neighborhoods.



As the City's Traffic Calming Program has been in existence since 1997, many neighborhoods have been completed. Click here for an inventory of these completed traffic calming measures by neighborhood.



The following links illustrate the current status of the neighborhoods in the program.

Traffic Calming - Before / After Studies

Effectiveness of Traffic Calming:

To gauge the effectiveness of the traffic calming program and measure staff progress towards these areas of citizen concern, staff conducts “before and after” studies of all City neighborhoods which have been traffic calmed.

To date, six neighborhoods have been reviewed for changes in traffic volumes and speed as a result of traffic calming efforts. The main focus of the program is speeding and the traffic calming program has resulted in an 18% average reduction in speeds on neighborhood streets. The data also shows a side benefit being a reduction in traffic volumes, with an average reduction of 27% in volume. Keeping speeds under 30 miles per hour in neighborhoods provides a significant reduction in crash and injury potential.  The attached tables and graphs  illustrate the average results for the neighborhoods studied so far.

Volume and Speed Change by Neighborhood and Citywide Average:

 Neighborhood

Avg. Daily Traffic Volume (Veh/Day)

   

85th% Speeds (MPH)

Before

After

% Change

Before

After

% Change

Spanish River/Yamato

1,747

834

-52%

38

28

-28%

Royal Oak Hills

1,194

804

-33%

35

32

-9%

County Club Village

1,110

689

-38%

33

25

-24%

East Boca Village

898

833

-7%

31

26

-16%

East Boca Village (Road Narrowing)

1,802

1,574

-13%

38

29

-24%

Camino Gardens

1,451

1,215

-16%

33

28

-15%

NE 2nd Street (Traffic Circles)

923

729

-21%

31

29

-6%

City Wide Average

1,304

954

-27%

34

28

-18%

Click on Graphic for Larger Version