Streets for People - A Radnor Coalition
Traffic Calming

Traffic control can be distilled to this maxim: drivers will go as fast as conditions allow. Posting a speed limit of 25 mph on a road built for 50 mph accomplishes nothing, as few drivers will obey the sign without constant police monitoring. Speed bumps, stop signs and lights can trigger a brake-accelerate cycle as drivers slow a bit, then accelerate to the best speed for them personally, or to avoid the red light.

Recently, traffic calming has received a great deal of attention as a practical and inexpensive method of, well, calming traffic by creating streets that require extra vigilance and restraint on the part of drivers.

Why It Works

An interstate highway has wide lanes with broad shoulders and sweeping, unobstructed curves so that motorists can go as fast as possible. Off the highway, traffic calming reverses this to restrict and calm speeding drivers. Intersections are narrowed by thicker curbs built into the street, or the entire street narrowed via wider sidewalks. Or crosswalks are raised to sidewalk level, creating a speed hump that alerts drivers to pedestrians. These constricted areas are reinforced with bollards, street trees and others plantings, or contrasting brick or paving, in order to bring them to drivers' attention. Bike lanes are yet another visual alert to the presence of non-drivers.

It Can Work in Wayne!

Started in Europe, traffic calming is now catching on in the United States. Unlike police, these solutions work 24/7, for decades, with minimal initial and maintenance costs. They don't add to sign pollution, and can be built around existing storm sewers and other utilities. Often these measures can be auditioned on-site with paint and temporary bollards to see how effective they are at slowing cars. Our community deserves to be at the forefront of a movement that truly creates streets for all.

More information on traffic calming:

Traffic-calming terms

Traffic-calming vocabulary I.

Traffic-calming vocabulary II

Traffic-calming vocabulary III

Walkable Communities, Inc.

Living Streets

Traffic calming turned upside-down


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