TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: Traffic calming device in Columbia, Mo., aim to boost ped safety

Feb. 17, 2017

Speed tables have been installed in multiple locations in the city

In the city of Columbia, Mo., public works members have been working to address traffic issues on many of its streets—most recently Stewart Road, which is one of 64 streets on the city’s neighborhood traffic management program list.

The program started in November 2013, and the list started with streets that were carried over from a previous city program, but it has continued to grow. In 2013, the traffic management program had 35 streets listed. That figure jumped to 45 in 2014, 50 in 2015 and 64 by the end of last year.

The city prioritizes projects through a scoring system, taking into account the average speed driven on the road compared to the speed limit, collisions in the area, the presence of bike routes and other factors.

Lee White, traffic engineer with the Public Works Department, said it may take the city a while to get to some of the roads listed as a lower priority. “We try to focus on two or three projects a year and typically, ever since we started the program, we’ve started at the top of the list and went down,” White said.

Public Works budgets about $16,000 per quarter mile for each project. Barry Dalton, Public Works Department spokesman, said the program’s total budget is about $170,000 per year and is paid through the city’s Capital Improvement Project funds.

The city has a traffic calming guidebook, which White refers to as the program’s “toolbox.” The guide categorizes types of traffic calming techniques and devices into three levels: level one mostly consists of signage and is meant to provide a basic increase to safety, level two includes traffic calming devices that aim to reduce speed and level three techniques are made to reduce the volume of traffic.

Erecting items such as medians, curb extensions or speed humps in the road can make a significant difference because drivers have to pay closer attention.

The city recently completed a traffic calming project on College Park, placing speed tables at three areas: College Park and Princeton Drive, College Park and Dartmouth and College Park and Oxford Drive. White said the city has received positive feedback so far.

“We always put counters back on those streets after the project is completed as well just to get some pre and post data. And what we’ve put out there is what I would consider successful,” White said. He said speed counters showed a reduction in speed on College Park since the project was completed.