Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mayo Bombs, Speed Humps and Squeeze Plays

The readers of this blog are pretty quick in registering their opinions about traffic calming strategies for Laurel. In the 21 hours since midnight on the 12th until about 9 pm on the 13th, 88 people read the previous blog post about traffic calming. Of those 80, about 37 people participated in the survey.

I've loaded all of the results from the survey for your reading pleasure way below. It is a bit of a chore to wade through, but there are some really interesting ideas offered in the text options. I especially liked the mayo and sniper suggestions.

Here is my initial analysis:

1/3 of us follow the traffic rules all the time. 2/3's most of the time. 2 people have lead feet. (I think one of these was my wife, Joanne. (Go get her Chief Crawford!)
60% believe we have a problem with excessive speed.
Regarding the choices for traffic calming options, I assigned 3 points for a first choice, 2 points for a second and 1 point for a third choice. Based on that algorithm, we see that we have pretty much a statistical tie for the first three options; enforce (66), impede (53), squeeze (63). Inform was pretty much rejected at 21 points.

Here are the definitions of the options:
Enforce - increase number of police/radar patrols.
Impede - build speed bumps or humps that force vehicles to slow down. Squeeze - create visual traffic choke points in the roadway that tend to limit speed. Usually thickly painted lines jutting out like islands from the curb that take away part of a lane. This tends to force traffic to maneuver towards the center-most lanes. Sometimes thin rubber pickets are used in addition to the painted lines to make an even more substantial visual choke island.
Inform - additional signage to remind drivers to slow down. For example, more speed limit signs, brightly painted signs, electronic message boards, flashing lights (like school zones) or devices that measure and display your vehicle's current speed.

1. I am:
Response Percent/Response Total
a resident of Laurel - 86.5%/32
employed in Laurel - 8.1%/3
neither,but I like to drive through Laurel - 2.7%/1
Other (please specify) -2.7%/1
1. past resident of Laurel

2. I drive the 25 mph speed limit while on residential streets:
all the time 29.7%/11
most of the time 64.9%/24
are you kidding, 25 mph is too impossibly slow 5.4%/2

3. Do you think there is a speeding problem on our residential streets?
Yes - 59.5%/22
No - 8.1%/3
I'm not sure, I need to see the data - 10.8%/4
Other (please specify) - 21.6%/8
1. Mostly Main Street (no stop signs) and I've had people pass me on Brooklyn Bridge Rd.
2. More accurate to say there is a traffic problem. Many Laurel City streets are carrying pass-thru traffic.
3. There are many safety problems on our streets, mostly due to inattentive drivers and pedestrian who don't use common sense. But even the radar on Fourth St. showed that 85% of the cars were not speeding. Slowing down the cars might help, but it won't erase all the safety problems.
4. Yes -- by a small percentage of drivers. 5. on some of our narrower streets, the average traffic is quite slow. The wider and longer streets have much faster traffic...4th street is not as big a speed problem as some - though ALL of our streets have "extreme speeders" sometimes - the most dangerous.
6. Mostly on main roads, i.e. Montrose, Montgomery, Van Dusen, Cherry Lane.
7. Only on a few streets, I believe. At "Speeding" meetings I have asked the DPW and the police department to post the results of their Fourth Street surveys twice, but neither has done so
8. yes, a few people speed excessively but most do not--it is the extreme. Also the volume of traffic is high

4. What would be your FIRST choice to reduce speeding on our residential streets? Please select only one.
enforce: write more speeding tickets - 32.4%/12
impede: speed humps or bumps - 21.6%/8
squeeze: road chokes - 35.1%/13
inform: better signage - 8.1%/3
Other? 2.7%/ 1
1. Write tickets -- xx mph over speed limit write ticket for not only speeding, also reckless driving -- impound cars for reckless driving

5. What would be your SECOND choice to reduce speeding on our residential streets? Please select only one.
enforce: write more speeding tickets - 27%/10
impede: speed humps or bumps - 32.4%/12
squeeze: road chokes - 16.2%/6
inform: better signage - 13.5%/5
Other? - 10.8%/4
1. Stop signs are the only time proven method of truly forcing vehicles to reduce speed in residential neighborhoods.
2. More speeding cameras
3. Zero tolerance on speeding tickets.
4. speed carts to display speed

6. What would be your THIRD choice to reduce speeding on our residential streets? Please select only one.
enforce: write more speeding tickets - 27.8%/10
impede: speed humps or bumps - 13.9%/5
squeeze: road chokes - 33.3%/12
inform: better signage - 5.6%/2
Other? - 19.4%/7
1. School zones with lights that flash yellow during arrival and dismissal times and "fines doubled when lights flashing" signs.
2. Raise the speed limit to 30 in residential areas.
3. neither of the other two work, road chokes on two way streets bring cars together (often dangerously ) and who cares about signs if you're going too fast to read them?
4. Snipers.
5. Local Traffic Only on some streets.
6. Do not have a third choice.
7. Squeezes and information don't work...like drivers don't know they're speeding. Please!

7. (OPTIONAL) What other comments to do you have?
1. Speed humps & bumps really slow down and in some cases damage emergency vehicles.
2. Fourth choice: Citizen enforcers armed with mayonnaise-filled balloons. Depending on the accuracy of the hurler and time between car washes, speeders should be easier to spot. If speeding tickets aren't a deterrent, maybe some incoming Hellman's would be.
3. 4th Street is not the only street that needs help. On any given week day morning I see at least 10 - 12 cars speeding down Prince George St towards Route 1. This issue should be looked at in the entire City area not just 4th street.
4. Certain speed traps around Laurel have, in the past, forced or encouraged drivers to switch from arterial roads, such as MD 198, to residential streets, such as Montrose Ave. (Just one example). I would suspect that Van Dusen Road and Cherry Lane could be made to fall into the same category.
5. Someone going 30-35 in a 25 zone is not really the problem as I see it. The problem is those cars that will be cutting through a neighborhood and go zooming by at an obviously inappropriate speed - like 45-50 on a residential block.
6. In many cases, obvious revenue raising speed traps simply generate contempt for law enforcement by everyone. Speed traps should be placed in real accident danger areas, not on straight flat stretches of high speed Interstate highways that have too slow speed limits. The contempt raised by stupid state cops generalizes down to small town police departments.
7. Huge difference between humps and bumps. Vehicles ars are designed to absorb bumps better at higher speeds, so bumps punish drivers for driving slower. Humps work opposite. I support humps and oppose bumps. I oppose allocation of taxpayer resources for ROUTINE speed trapping, either manual or automated. Speed traps are extreme measures only warranted AFTER passive observation (automated or manual) establishes that speed humps and chokes have failed.
8. Montpelier and Beltsville I would imagine have similar problems-- residential streets become thoroughfares as people begin to drive though neighborhoods to avoid Route 1, the parkway, the beltway, or the interstate. I notice the annoying speed bumps whenever I am driving to friends' houses in both areas. Why not follow their example and annoy our drivers into slowing down?
9. Main Street is a special problem. I have to cross the street at least twice daily, and even though I use the cross walks, I would guess about 50 per cent of the drivers totally ignore the crosswalks. They sometimes even increase their speed as they see me step into the cross walk. Many of the drivers are distracted on cell phones - I think that is the critical mass of ignoring a crosswalk - if you are on the cell phone, a croos walk presents too much information to process and the driver continues through without stopping, while talking a mile a minute and making hand gestures to the talker on the other end of the conversation. I think another set of traffic lights is needed between Route 1 and Route 216, say at 6th street. This may slow the traffic down. I know, I know, Main street is a "State Road" and all that - but the speeders are out of control. Everything has been tried here and nothing works. Please put two "you are traveling at --- speed" on each end of main street - this may help for now.
10. enforce works, at least it did for me. Caught going 40 mph on Sandy Spring Road a few years ago (25 mph is the speed limit) and slapped with a fine, I haven't exceeded on a city road since then.
11. I'd like to install speeding cameras on every street in Laurel, get the DMV to get people's checking account number when they register to drive, and simply deduct the fine from their account.
12. The problem is gonna get worse once the work on ICC is done.
13. humps so large they require slowing to far below the speed limit or coming to a stop aggravate me. If that's needed, lower the speed limit more. But a 30MPH road with bumps you need to take at less than 5mph...grrr. See Hyattsville for an example of this. I had a medical condition for a while that made even bumps very painful even at very slow speeds.
14. Enforcing is a temporary fix. Impeding and squeezing are permanent. Regarding signage - people can easily ignore it.
15. Enforce with more speeding tickets appeals to me the most, because others don't have to suffer, and it also comes with consequences, such as points. But I'd need to know the other costs, such as more police necessary? Taking the focus away from other crimes and crime prevention?
16. I like the bumps/lumps in the road. I use cedarbrook drive, and before the bumps went in, I rarely/never went 25. Since the bumps went in, I keep the speed down.

1 comment:

Sandra Johnson said...

Wow! There are way too many close calls and tragedies that could be prevented by drivers doing the right thing. Thanks for sharing your post!!
Speed humps

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