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O’Fallon proposes updates to city ‘traffic calming’ policy

Traffic calming [TC] measures to slow down vehicles in a subdivision can include such things as “speed bumps,” roadway dips, narrowing of lanes, or radar-enabled speed signs. The original O’Fallon TC process for use in residential areas was first defined and implemented in 2008, then modified in 2018.  During the past year and a half, city staff received additional feedback about the process from residents. 

After discussing that feedback with the Public Works Advisory Committee on Feb. 19 and the City Council on March 12, city staff recommended updates to address resident issues and streamline the protocol for residents and the city.

Example of dip in street used to slow down traffic [John Tremmel photo]
Example of narrowing of lanes to slow down traffic [John Tremmel photo]

At the May 14 council meeting, Bill No. 7188, sponsored by council members Mike Pheney [Ward 5] and Nathan Bibb [Ward 3] was given a first reading. The bill proposes revisions to the protocols for traffic calming. City staff recommend its approval. If typical timing is followed, a second reading and vote for final passage will be conducted at the May 28 council meeting.

Changes would include:

  • The percentage of residents required in a subdivision to petition for a traffic condition study would be raised from 10% to 15%.
  • Instead of conducting a subdivision-wide town hall meeting immediately after a petition is received, city staff would mail a “traffic calming pamphlet” to residents who signed the petition, providing an overview of the process and setting expectations about what is required to proceed.
  • Speed studies in response to the petition currently are being done at any time during all 12 months of a year. Instead, the period of Dec. 15 through March 15 would be excluded, due to traffic patterns not being viewed as normal during that period.
  • For conditions severe enough to warrant traffic calming, a speed study would need to demonstrate that the average speed on the roadway is greater than 25 MPH and [instead of or] the traffic volume must exceed 600 average daily trips [ADT].  If either of those criteria [instead of just one] are not met, the roadway would not qualify for traffic calming.
  • An added exception: If the average speed exceeds the speed limit by 10% of greater, the ADT requirement would not apply.
  • Staff would prepare a preliminary design for traffic calming based on the eligibility criteria score and traffic study results, instead of based on general agreement regarding the problems and strategies.
  • If TC measures are necessary based on the traffic study, a member of the city engineering staff would schedule and attend a neighborhood meeting to showcase an initial TC design and attempt to reach a consensus for the preferred TC measures, based on input from residents attending the meeting.  That is instead of Community Development, the Fire Department and Police Department attending the neighborhood meeting.
Example of radar-enabled speed sign [Stock photo]
  • If the proposed TC measure fails based on minimum eligibility criteria, residents could apply to have radar-enabled speed signs installed as a new option. A form signed by 15% or more separate households in a subdivision must be submitted to the engineering department. The city then would send a mail-back survey form to all affected residential dwelling units in the subdivision. Any support response of less than 65% of the households would be considered by the council as no action required.
  • Radar-enabled speed signs would be installed on city poles per city standards. The residents or HOA will be responsible for the initial cost and long-term maintenance of those signs and must enter into a license agreement with the city.  The costs must be paid up-front. Radar signs would not be installed without a prior TC evaluation failure.
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