The City Council spent nearly an hour last week discussing humps, lumps, bumps, botts dots, neckdowns, bulbouts, chokers, roundabouts, chicanes, lane diets, tables, cushions, speed legends, rumble strips and pedestrian sting operations, among other potential options to calm the traffic in Oakley.
In general the council members favored the less drastic measures for slowing down traffic, but they also wanted to make sure City Engineer Jason Vogan would have enough traffic-slowing tools in his enforcement toolbox to ensure pedal-to-the-metal motorists give Oakley pedestrians a brake.
“We’ve received a number of complaints in the past about traffic in the neighborhoods,” Vogan told the council at its Dec. 10 meeting. “We have a limited tool box. We need to figure out which direction our city wants to go.
“What it comes down to is there are three E’s: education, enforcement and engineering. It’s an approach to use different forms of those three E’s to get people to drive appropriately in neighborhoods and make sure they are safe and livable.”
Most of the traffic control measures will be implemented in neighborhood streets in response to complaints from residents about speeders or unsafe traffic situations on their streets.
But some of the main roads, which are called collector streets, may also be candidates for traffic-calming measures if residents along those roads ask city officials for help. Vintage Parkway was discussed as a possible target for slow-down measures.
“It does have speeding issues,” said Vogan. “It doesn’t lend itself very well to enhanced signing. We’ve put stop signs everywhere we can, so there aren’t any opportunities to put additional stop signs. We can do the lane diet and shrink it down to see if that’s effective.
“That may be a street where we say, ‘It may be a collector, but speed humps or some alternative may be effective out there.’”
Councilwoman Pat Anderson said she agreed that there’s a problem with speeding on Vintage Parkway, but said that narrowing the lanes might not be the answer.
“It’s very narrow already,” she said. “With houses on the side of it, it feels very narrow going down it. But it would be one that I definitely think we need to do humps, lumps, bumps – something a little more drastic than just striping. It will only be used more as we see more development on either end of it.”
Vogan then suggested waiting to see if complaints come in about Vintage Parkway and other collector streets before lumping and bumping them.
“We may want to be more reactionary out there instead of proactive,” he said. “Maybe we’ll just sort of monitor them. We’ve been able to enforce out there. We don’t get a ton of complaints on Vintage Parkway and on most of the other collectors.”
Anderson responded, “I’m more comfortable with that. Because what I see may not be what is typical. The people in the neighborhoods need to be the judge and let us know. I would like us to ensure that we get this word out so that people know if there’s a problem, there’s a process very close to being completed (for dealing with the
Vogan outlined a multi-step process for dealing with traffic problems.
First, a resident needs to fill out a form outlining a traffic-related concern and submit it to Jason Vogan at City Hall along with 10 signatures from other people in the neighborhood who share that concern. Then a city official will discuss the problem with the resident, do a speed survey or take a count of the traffic volume and possibly hold a neighborhood meeting.
If there is a legitimate traffic problem, some of the simpler measures will be taken first. These may include distributing traffic flyers and brochures, putting up lawn signs, increasing police enforcement and putting up a radar trailer that displays how fast cars are going.
Some of the council members weren’t too keen, however, on options such as allowing residents to borrow police radar guns and send letters to speeding motorists to let them know they’re being watched. And they didn’t like using decoy pedestrians in sting operations to catch motorists.
“Although I’d like to have that radar gun in my hand, I wondered about who sends the letter,” said Anderson. “If it’s the residents that are sending the letter out, saying, ‘I gotcha, I tagged you,’ I just think that could be inciting riots. So I just have some concerns about that.”
But Bruce Connelley, who was selected as Oakley’s mayor at the end of the meeting, said, “I don’t have a problem with the radar gun in the residents’ hands. Because I’ve seen neighbors of mine throw rocks (at speeding cars). There’s always one in the neighborhood who has to speed. It’s really bad when you live on a court and you still have someone speeding on that. And they have been yelled at and cursed and that has a temporary effect.”
If the simpler traffic calming measures are not effective, more intensive things can be done, such as striping that narrows the traffic lanes, and installation of speed bumps.
Having received input from the council last week, Vogan will be tweaking the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, which will be brought back at a future council meeting for final approval.