One of the most frequent complaints we receive in the Village offices and the Police Department is with respect to the speed of vehicles in our neighborhoods. While our officers do their best to enforce speed limits, they simply cannot be everywhere at once. Often, these complaints are accompanied by requests for increased police presence and/or new signs in the neighborhood. While both responses have some limited short term affects, they only last for a few weeks and are not a long-term solution.
The largest factor in traffic speed is the design of the street. A wider street allows for wider lanes, which allows drivers to feel more comfortable traveling at a higher speed. Narrower lanes cause drivers to feel more constricted, therefore typically driving at slower speeds. A good visual of this is the design of freeway lanes (wide, with long sight distances) versus Main St. through Downtown (narrower, shorter sight distances).
Unfortunately, in many cases, the cost to relocate underground utilities and physically narrow the streets is prohibitive, so we look to other solutions to achieve the same affect. These “traffic calming” measures can utilize techniques such as plantings & street trees, pavement markings, and on-street parking to both physically and visually narrow the driving areas and slow down traffic. Within the Village, these techniques are most readily observed throughout Downtown – an area where the design purposefully dictates lower traffic speeds.
Photo credit: www.pedbikeimages.org (Dan Burden)