Town adopts traffic-calming procedure process

Town adopts traffic-calming procedure process

CUMBERLAND – The Town Council this month adopted what Mayor Jeffrey Mutter says will be a “living document” of sorts on managing traffic concerns in Cumberland.

The resolution approved May 8 on a 6-1 vote, with Peter Bradley the no vote, states that traffic calming is a method of employing specific measures to reduce speeding, aggressive driving, and high levels of vehicular traffic traveling through local neighborhoods.

The policy that the resolution approves establishes a structured process through which the town can respond to and address residents’ concerns on these issues. Officials will use it to verify a concern once it is brought to the town’s attention, evaluate it against set criteria, rank it against other known locations in town, and provide recommendations to address the issue. Data will be used to determine the effectiveness of the measures implemented.

The primary goal of the policy is to make Cumberland a safer community, said Mutter and Chief of Police John Desmarais in their introduction to the policy.

A traffic management group made up of various town employees will conduct initial reviews after a problem is reported. A letter from police will be sent to the applicant with petition forms and a notice about the limits of the affected area. Once an applicant submits a petition signed by at least 75 percent of the residents within the subject area, showing “widespread concern,” it will be reviewed by town staff and if it meets minimum criteria will then move on to the data collection and evaluation state. The traffic management group may then recommend stage one calming measures as appropriate.

The policy lists various point scales and criteria for speeding and traffic volumes.

Stage one traffic calming can include use of speed monitoring radar, increased enforcement, and signing and pavement markers. Data will then be collected for six months. Further stage two measures could then be evaluated for possible implementation, including bulb-outs and curb extensions, center island medians, landscape treatments, mid-block curb extensions to narrow the street with sidewalks or planting strips, pedestrian refuge islands, raised crosswalks, sidewalks, speed humps and speed tables.

The policy acknowledges the set of challenges such measures present, including for snow removal, emergency response, and possibly extra noise.

Seventy-five percent of the neighborhood must also support the stage two measures, and a neighborhood site meeting would then be organized.

Unless public works personnel determine that installed measures are a hazard, once they are installed, they shall remain for at least three years. If a neighborhood decides it wants to eliminate them, a similar process to their implementation would be followed.

Councilor Scott Schmitt said the procedures were approved at the subcommittee level on April 22.

The document, said Mutter, at least starts the process on allowing officials to come up with solutions for various areas that are brought to their attention.

A check of social media any time an issue surrounding traffic is brought up will show just how interested the town is in seeing improvements, said the mayor, and this is really “an attempt to start formulating a policy and using that data” to come before the council for funding to curb the problems.

Mutter and police have now begun discussions on the implementation of the Town of Cumberland Traffic Calming Policy.