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    Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program


    Thank you for your interest in the City of Grand Rapids' Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program. The City Commission continues to support this program, although there is a limited amount of funding on an annual basis. These funds will be used to pay 100% of the costs of the highest-ranked projects based on the benefits and costs associated with each. However, residents have the option of agreeing to pay for 50% of the proposed project costs, which will give that project preference over projects requiring 100% city funding.

    Examples of eligible traffic calming projects are pavement markings, speed humps, bulb outs or traffic circles. When the funding for the current year is exhausted, approved projects will be held for the following year's program. However, there is no guarantee that additional funding will be provided.

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    Program Overview

    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 Goals include:
    • increasing the quality of life;
    • incorporating the preferences and requirements of the residents;
    • creating safer and more attractive streets;
    • reducing the negative impacts of motor vehicles; and
    • promoting alternative transportation modes.
    Traffic Calming Objectives include:
    • achieving slower speeds for motor vehicles in residential areas;
    • increasing safety for non-motorized users of the street system;
    • enhancing the street environment;
    • increasing access for all modes of transportation, and
    • reducing/elminating cut-through motor vehicle traffic.

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    1. A citizen/neighborhood contacts the Traffic Safety Department (TSD) with a traffic calming request and is mailed a traffic calming packet, or completes the questionnaire and petition available below.

    2. Once the application is received, the TSD then determines and performs any studies necessary to aid in understanding the problem. Typical studies include volume, speed, and crash history.

    3. TSD staff will discuss the results of the study with the residents and work with them to develop a traffic plan using the following Phase I and Phase II Tools.

      Phase I Tools - Education and Enforcement
      • Neighborhood Awareness programs
      • Selective police patrols
      • Speed boards
      Phase II Tools - Engineering
      • Signs and Pavement Markings
      • Vertical Deflections (Speed Humps and Speed Tables)
      • Horizontal Deflections (Traffic Circles and Chicanes)
      • Street Narrowings (Chokers/Bulb-outs and Center Island Narrowings)
      • Access Control
    4. Phase I Tools will be employed first. If the TSD and the neighborhood have tried all the Phase I Tools available and determine that the problem still exists, the TSD will begin to evaluate using Phase II Tools. Fire Department approval is required for the implementation of any Phase II Tool.

    5. Once the appropriate Phase II Tool is selected for the neighborhood, the opinion of the residents will be obtained via a postcard survey. A 60% response rate is required for a valid survey.

    6. Approved Phase II Tools will be prioritized and constructed based on the benefits and costs associated with each.

    7. If, after construction of a project, the neighborhood wishes to have it removed, the residents must agree to bear 100% of the removal costs.

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    Application and Petition

    An application with a support petition for traffic calming measures must be filled out and submitted before the formal traffic calming process can begin. The duration of the process from petition to construction is approximately 12 to 18 months.

    Download the Traffic Calming Questionnaire and Petition (PDF)

    Physical traffic calming measures impact fire and emergency response times. As a result, the Fire Department has a special interest in the traffic calming program and is involved in all facets of the process, from meeting with neighborhood groups to in-field testing of proposed traffic calming measures.

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