Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program
|Neighborhoods conducive to walking promote good health and strong communities|
Residents may experience longer response times for Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program requests due to recent staff reductions in our Development Services and Maintenance Departments. Following recent budget reductions and staff layoffs, the City of Mercer Island has had to make adjustments to some of the services provided to the community. The City regrets any inconvenience, and remains steadfast in its commitment to provide the best customer service possible. Thank you for your patience.
If you have questions regarding this program or the service reduction impacts, contact the Public Works Department at (206) 275-7800.
Mercer Islandís Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program is part of the City's commitment to the safety and livability of Mercer Island neighborhoods. It is a collaborative effort of City staff and local residents to reduce the impacts of traffic on neighborhoods.
Working together, we can:
- encourage safe vehicle speeds,
- reduce collision frequency and severity,
- increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists,
- reduce cut-through traffic.
- create safe and attractive streets,
- promote alternative modes of transportation, and
- improve the quality of life in Mercer Island neighborhoods.
Traffic studies show that the majority of motorists using residential streets are the neighborhood residents themselves. Thatís why neighborhood communication is a critical part of reducing speeds and creating safer roads. Talking with your neighbors and circulating flyers (provided by the City) can help get the word out about driving more carefully.
Sometimes motorist donít realize how fast they are really going. The City of Mercer Island has a self-contained radar readerboard which electronically clocks the speed of an oncoming vehicle and posts the number on a display. Contact the Cityís Police Support Officer at (206) 275-7932 to inquire about placing a radar readerboard in your neighborhood.
Enforcement is an important tool and can be employed along with all other attempts to solve neighborhood traffic problems. However, police resources are usually allocated in response to specific occurrences rather than on-going situations, and are limited by the many calls for service. If it is determined that there is a consistent problem, police can provide targeted enforcement to send a message to drivers in your neighborhood that speeding wonít be tolerated.
A neighborhood can also work with the City to trim vegetation to increase sight distance or implement signage or pavement markings. Signs can alert motorists to pedestrian crosswalks or reduced speeds. Pavement markings might include edgelines to narrow the roadway or speed limit legends.
More complex traffic calming might include traffic circles, which are islands built into an intersection, speed humps or chicanes (structures that create winding roads). Any recommended action will be based on sound engineering and planning principles, an analysis of access for public safety vehicles, community involvement, and the availability of funds.
Because these measures cost money and change neighborhood streets, the City has a process in place for the consideration and planning of these more extensive measures. In some cases, a petition of at least 60% of local residents is required before proceeding with adding structures to the streetscape. To learn about criteria for speed humps, please click here.
How Can I Help?
Traffic Calming does not work by itself, but requires neighborhood support to keep our streets safe:
- If you are a driver, respect the right of a pedestrian who is crossing at a marked or unmarked crossing.
- If you are a pedestrian, cross at intersections and use crosswalks on busy streets. As a parent, educate your children on the need for safety when crossing streets.
- Pay attention to your driving habits and do not exceed the speed limit.
- Learn more about driver, cyclist and pedestrian safety by clicking here.
Contact the Public Works Department to begin exploring solutions to traffic concerns in your neighborhood at (206) 275-7800. Click here to download a form to explain your concern.
The above information is also available as a brochure, click here to download the PDF.
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