Ferguson Township Supervisors adopted a traffic calming policy as resolution 2015-05. The policy sets forth a process for residents to request a traffic calming study and for staff to evaluate traffic impacts and the Board of Supervisors to approve or disapprove the installation of traffic calming devices.
Traffic calming is “a combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative impacts of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior, and improve conditions for non-motorized vehicle use”. It is used to address mainly high speeds and cut-through traffic volume.
In July, 2016, the Board of Supervisors received a request for a traffic calming study on East Park Hills Avenue from Circleville Road to Park Lane signed by 14 residents. The Board referred the request to the Public Works Director.
The Public Works Director determined the request met the initial eligibility criteria. Pennoni Engineering was hired to conduct the traffic calming study. Pennoni and engineering staff defined the study area based upon the Township’s Traffic Calming Policy.
Our consultant, Pennoni, conducted traffic counts in October 2016. Traffic volumes met the criteria for mitigation. Speed data did not meet the criteria for mitigation. The policy sets forth the following thresholds:
Traffic Volume > 1,000 Vehicles Per Day (Avg.)
85th Percentile Speed > 10 mph over Posted Speed Limit
The following data was collected using a radar traffic recorder:
Day Daily Volume 85% Speed
Tuesday 1,510 34mph
Wednesday 1,565 35mph
Thursday 1,517 34mph 3
Our consultant then prepared options to mitigate the volume of traffic. The 5 options presented consisted of either full or partial diverters at various locations.
The Public Presentation:
A public meeting and presentation by staff and our consultant, Pennoni, was conducted on January 25th at 7pm in the main meeting room. 85 residents representing 71 parcels of the 169 parcel study area came to the meeting which equates to a 42% turnout. Representatives of FTPW, FTPD, Alpha, and CATA attended. The SCASD Transportation Office as well as FTPD, Alpha, and CATA were contacted during the study to provide input. Impacts to transportation services and emergency services were evaluated during the study and discussed at the meeting in general without providing specific route impacts and changes. It was noted at the meeting that traffic calming calms all traffic. Depending on the final design and construction, emergency services can traverse partial or full diverters in an emergency.
5 options were presented. The options included full or partial diverters at various locations to control the volume of cut-through traffic. Residents voiced concerns at the meeting and generally did not support any of the 5 options presented. 29 written comment forms were received the night of the meeting. To date, staff has received 85 written comments.
Only 10 of the 85 residents support any of the 5 options presented making it difficult for staff to select a preferred option and petition the neighborhood study area on the preferred option.
A summary of the comments received has been provided to the Board of Supervisors separately from this report. Many residents suggested speed humps and line striping. Though not included as an option in the initial study, staff acknowledges that while used predominately for speed control, some studies show that speed humps if placed strategically can also have an effect on volume control.
Residents at the meeting expressed speed as their primary concern. It should be noted the neighborhood does not have sidewalks. Pedestrians perception of car speed may be heightened when they walk along the roadway not on a separated sidewalk. While residents did express dissatisfaction with cut through traffic from other neighborhoods, they themselves do not want to be inconvenienced by diverters that make it difficult to go from their home to Park Lane and Aaron Drive to destinations on North Atherton Street or beyond. Some residents in the study area are concerned that diverters in certain locations may only move the cut through traffic to their street.
Some residents commented on the use of multi-ways stops to control speed and calm traffic. Multi-way stops, for reasons provided to the Board of Supervisors separately from this document, should specifically not be used for speed control or traffic calming.
Staff has also contacted the Pennsylvania Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and initiated a technical assist request to review the traffic study completed to date and evaluate other traffic calming options suitable for the neighborhood such as speed humps, and traffic circles. Staff also discussed the speed and volume mitigation thresholds in the current adopted traffic calming policy.
The initial traffic calming study results did not meet with favorable reactions from residents of the study area who indicated their main concern was the speed of traffic, not the volume of traffic. As noted above the neighborhood does not have sidewalks and the roadway does not have striped shoulders so the speed of cars is of more concern to pedestrians trying to share the same space.
1. Staff plans to meet with an LTAP engineer, conduct a site view, review the study completed to date, review resident comments, consider any other traffic calming measures appropriate for the conditions, prepare additional alternatives, and hold another public meeting for study area residents, then petition the neighborhood with a preferred option. If no other options become apparent, staff will notify the neighborhood of the status of the study and petition the neighborhood for a diverter option on Park Lane.
2. The Board of Supervisors may choose to require the installation of sidewalks along all of Park Hills Avenue. This would require a detailed survey and design to fit new sidewalks into a neighborhood with existing mature trees, landscaping, and driveways. Utility impacts are not known. Work could likely be done with little right of way impacts.
3. The Board of Supervisors may choose to discuss the traffic calming policy and consider amendments such as:
a. Traffic Volume > 1,500 Vehicles Per Day (Avg.)
b. 85th Percentile Speed > or =6 mph over Posted Speed Limit
c. Neighborhood involvement during the study process
View BOS Report: East Park Hills Traffic Calming Status
View East Park Hills Avenue Traffic Calming Plan Study
View East Park Hills Avenue Traffic Calming Plan Presentation
View East Park Hills Avenue Traffic Calming Status Report