The term "Traffic Calming" is used to describe methods of altering motorists' behavior to suit the character of a particular neighborhood. These methods share the goal of reducing vehicle speeds, improving safety and enhancing quality of life.
The need for traffic calming stems from an increase in complaints about traffic on neighborhood streets. Traffic calming is accomplished in three primary ways: education, enforcement, and engineering.
- Education - Educating the public is the first step. We help residents understand the source of the problem by providing traffic data for their area and supplying information on how traffic systems and regulations define various solutions. In addition, public education efforts can help drivers understand their impact on traffic management and safety.
- Enforcement - Traffic enforcement is stepped up to see if that will calm speeders. Citizens can request increased police enforcement in a given area by submitting a Traffic Enforcement Request Form or calling 480-644-3533. An officer will be assigned to enforce your specific need(s). Other speed mitigation programs are currently available for Mesa residents to get involved in reducing speeds in their neighborhood. These are the Speed Trailer, Neighborhood Speed Watch, and Block Watch Program. Additional information can be obtained by calling 480-644-2160.
- Engineering - If education and enforcement efforts do not solve the problem, engineering design changes can be evaluated. Traffic calming includes simple street design features that cause motorists to drive with more care; to drive more slowly; or, perhaps, drive via another route. All these approaches can be considered when designing a traffic calming plan. Speed humps are the only traffic calming measure Mesa currently employs. Additional information can be obtained by calling 480-644-2160.
Speed Control Tools
Speed humps are traffic calming tools that slow vehicles down on residential streets. They are uniform, across the entire street and can feel abrupt if approached too fast. The average speed at the base of a speed hump is 18 mph. The challenge with speed humps is that they slow emergency vehicles down and cannot be installed on Mesa Fire Department access routes.
Speed cushions are the answer to neighborhoods that have a problem with speeding and are also on a Mesa Fire Department access route. Speed cushions have gaps in between them that an average car cannot straddle but a fire engine or ambulance can. Many vehicles maneuver speed cushions with one tire on the cushion and the other in the gap. The challenge with speed cushions is that they do not slow traffic down as much as speed humps. The average speed at the base of a speed cushion is 21 mph. But for many neighborhoods, speed cushions are the only option.
A modern roundabout is a type of circular intersection (without traffic lights) where traffic flows almost continuously in one direction around a central island. Roundabouts are engineered to maximize safety and minimize traffic delay. The Arizona Department of Transportation provides information about the use of roundabouts and safety tips for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.