Traffic Calming Program
The Firestone Traffic Calming Program is designed to improve the quality of life in the Firestone neighborhoods. The Firestone Police Department wants to discourage speeding in neighborhoods, especially on residential streets and where children play. The Firestone Traffic Calming Program offers a unique way to promote traffic safety in Firestone neighborhoods using the three e’s – engineering, education and enforcement. It is a public awareness program designed to slow down and exercise caution when using neighborhood streets.
What is Traffic Calming?
Traffic calming is defined as “the combination of non-physical and 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 tools which attempt to slow traffic within residential communities with minimal or no restriction to access.
Studies have shown that motorist may drive 10 miles or more over the speed limit on residential streets. These studies also show that those who exceed the speed limit come from all age groups. Local residents may drive faster on their local streets because they feel familiar and comfortable. Outsiders may use local streets as a short cut to busy arterial roads or to access an attraction inside the neighborhood.
Street and Traffic Signage
The Town of Firestone often receives requests to place stop signs to control speeds within a particular area. The Town follows strict standards set by the Federal Highway Administration as outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
When stop signs are installed but are not warranted there are often unintended consequences:
- Drivers Won't Stop - Unneeded stop signs are frequently ignored. Drivers on the major street either roll through, or run through, the stop sign because, in their experience, there is little cross-traffic. This puts pedestrians and cross-traffic at risk. Residents frequently complain that drivers do not come to a complete stop at 4-way stop signs. If you observe motorists at many 4-way stops, you would find that nearly half of the drivers fail to make the required stop.
- Stop Signs Don't Slow Speeds - Numerous studies nationwide have shown that speeds within a block of the stop sign are largely unaffected by the stop. Naturally, motorists have to slow down when approaching a stop sign. But, they often speed up quickly after the stop to make up for lost time or out of frustration. Overall speeding is not reduced by the stop sign and frustrated drivers do not drive safely.
- Stops Increase Noise and Pollution - Stopping and starting cause increased tire and engine noise. Residents living near the stop will experience an increase in traffic noise. Stopping and idling at unwarranted stop signs also increase automobile exhaust and fuel consumption unnecessarily. Intersections where stop signs occur also tend to deteriorate faster resulting in increased road maintenance costs.