Ridgefield has been growing steadily and with that growth comes an increase in traffic volume. As traffic volumes in Ridgefield increase, the City has come up with a way to more efficiently handle the increase - traffic calming.
City traffic calming projects have included decorative cross-walks, installation of bulb outs on North Main to narrow the street and converting North 5th Avenue to one way to improve safety and traffic flow near the school. These projects and the City's neighborhood traffic calming program will improve safety for residents new to Ridgefield along with citizens who have called Ridgefield their home their whole life.
With the growing population we predict that traffic issues will become more common. We consider an area a traffic concern if one of the following parameters is met:
- 85% of cars exceed the speed limit
- Average travel speed is 8 miles per hour over speed limit
- More than one accident every three years
- traffic volume exceeds 45% of typical residential street traffic
All of the data gathered so far has not been a cause for concern in any residential area of Ridgefield. The data we have gathered does not show any need for any major infrastructure changes. However, that does not mean there is not an issue in your neighborhood. We would like to help with these issues as much as possible, but we need residents to take the initiative.
Traffic Calming is the deliberate slowing of traffic through residential areas.
Many people immediately think of things such as speed bumps and medians but Traffic Calming can involve much more than just infrastructure. There are many strategies to Traffic Calming, all with the goal to make the roads safer for everyone who uses them.
Traffic Calming techniques should be specifically tailored to the problem the particular area faces. Some techniques are designed to reduce vehicle speeds and raise driver caution, others divert traffic. Several Traffic Calming techniques are employed throughout Ridgefield.
Roundabouts reduce vehicle speeds through the circle and decrease the probability of an accident while keeping traffic moving at a steady pace.
Raised medians force vehicles to drive one way, in some areas not allowing vehicles to turn across oncoming traffic reducing the risk of accidents. The main goal of this technique is to divert traffic flow and decrease traffic in one area.
Turning lanes allow the turning vehicle to take more time to turn, which is safer for vehicles and pedestrians. Turning lanes also allow ongoing traffic to continue traveling.
On street parking makes the road more narrow, forcing drivers to slow down and be more cautious. It also allows for easy access to businesses and homes.
Alternate transportation is one of the best traffic calming techniques because it simply takes cars off of the road. The Ridgefield Multi-Modal Transportation Plan accounts for alternate transportation by creating bike lanes, walking trails, sidewalks, and a Golf Cart Zone.
Closed streets discourage drivers from using neighborhoods as a shortcut to get to their destination. This diverts traffic away from homes. Closed streets can be implemented in two ways: Cul-de-sacs, and No Outlet streets.
Signs and Stripes
Clearly visible signs alert drivers of pedestrians and children that could be near the street or in the street. Striped crosswalks notify vehicles that there may be pedestrians nearby. Even when not in use, striped crosswalks reduce vehicle speeds and make drivers more cautious.
The goal of speed bumps and speed humps is to reduce vehicle speeds through a neighborhood or section of road where many vehicles drive over the speed limit. Speed humps tend to be longer and usually allow vehicles to travel faster over them than the shorter and sharper speed bumps.
Curb extensions, also known as bulb-outs, extend the sidewalk into the street. Curb extensions are usually placed at an intersection, but can be used mid-block. Curb extensions shorten crossing distance and make pedestrians feel more comfortable and reduce turning vehicle speeds.
Speed Trailers notify the driver of their speed and caution drivers exceeding the speed limit. Speed trailers are effective at slowing traffic while in place, and once they have been moved from a location. The Ridgefield Police Department operates a speed trailer that collects data while on location. This data can be used to determine if a street needs additional traffic calming measures.
Street murals on sidewalks and other high pedestrian areas are effective at reducing vehicle speeds and increasing driver caution.
The best traffic calming technique of them all is simply educating the public.
The more educated the community, the safer the roads will be in the future. The City encourages it's residents to always be learning more, and always be looking for opportunities to educate their neighbors about the importance of traffic control.
The City of Ridgefield is aware that our population is growing and has devised a plan to help facilitate that growth when it comes to traffic in the numerous neighborhoods in Ridgefield. If you have a concern about traffic in your neighborhood, please follow these steps:
Step 1: Identify the problem
Traffic calming techniques are organized into two different areas: traffic speed and traffic density. As you go through the process of solving the problem remember which category your problem lies because the solution may change.
Step 2: Confront the issue
- If there is one vehicle that seems to be the source of your problem we recommend politely confronting the owner of the vehicle to talk about a solution that will satisfy both parties.
- Either after trying the first option or if there is more than one vehicle that is the source of your problem notify your Homeowners Association of the issue.
- If neither of the above options are effective, move to step 3.
Step 3: Solve the issue
There are a few traffic calming techniques for residents to implement:
- One of the most simple yet effective traffic calming devices is simply putting up yard signs to notify drivers to slow down and be more cautious.
- Events and activities near the road as well as in the road with proper permits are a great way to reduce vehicle speeds and force drivers to be more cautious as they drive through your neighborhood.
- Plants and vegetation near the street draw the drivers attention forcing them to slow down and drive with more caution.
This three step process is an effective way to approach a traffic concern but it does not solve every traffic issue. If you have gone through the process and still need assistance, please the Public Works department.