In recent years, the City of Spartanburg has received numerous requests to address cut-through and speeding traffic within neighborhoods. The City is committed to being a supporting partner in helping neighbors devise creative and workable ways to restore and preserve safe and peaceful streets. The City believes this can be achieved through “traffic calming.” The City, subject to the traffic calming program criteria, may install speed humps/lumps intended to mitigate traffic problems.
What is Traffic Calming?
Traffic calming employs mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior, and improve conditions for non-motorized street users. The City of Spartanburg expands the definition of traffic calming by including enforcement and educational activities. The intent of the program is to provide a reasonably safe residential environment that balances the needs of residents, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.
Installation of traffic calming measures (speed humps) is not a simple one. Most streets will not qualify for installation. The City has categorized roadways into different types or classes, characterized by the nature and types of trips that take place, the length of the trip, and general traffic volume conditions. Streets are placed in the following categories: Arterial Roadways, Collector Roadways, and Residential (Local) Streets. To be considered for the program, a roadway must:
- Have a functional classification of residential street or minor collector roadway
- Have a posted speed of 30 MPH or less
- Be two lanes wide
- Have a volume not greater than of 4,000 vehicles per day, with limited case-by-case exception.
Provided the Petition has been submitted and approved, the City will initiate traffic counts to determine if the street(s) meet program requirements. The City will use the following volume/speed sliding scale to determine if the street/road meets the minimum eligibility standards.
- The road/street must meet Average Daily Traffic (ADT) and 85th Percentile Speed requirements. (The 85th Percentile Speed is the speed above which 15% of vehicles are traveling)
- If the 85th Speed is at least 15 mph over the Posted Speed Limit (PSL), the Volume must be at least 400 vehicles per day (vpd).
- If the 85th Speed is at least 10 mph over the PSL, the Volume must be at least 550 vpd. If the 85th Speed is at least 8 mph over the PSL, the Volume must be at least 700 vpd.
Speed & Traffic Volume Chart
Vehicles per day
If the street/road fails to meet the standards set forth above, the City will notify the applicant that the application does not meet the requirements and is denied for traffic calming.
If the street/road meets the standards, the City will conduct a period of enhanced traffic and speed enforcement. This enhanced period of enforcement may be held over a 2-to-4 week period following traffic counts.
At the conclusion of this enhanced enforcement period, the City will conduct a second round of traffic counts.
If, on the second counts, the street/road fails to meet the standards set forth in the Speed/Volume Chart, the City will notify the applicant that the application has been denied.
If the counts meet the requirements as set forth in Speed/Volume Chart, the City will notify the applicant and will refer the application to the traffic engineer. The traffic engineer will assess the application and the speed/traffic counts and will specify the locations for proposed speed calming measures.
The proposed speed hump locations will be presented to the neighborhood, and one ballot will be distributed/mailed to each residence (one vote per residence) in the Final Impact Area. Of the ballots received, a minimum of 50% plus 1 of all of the households in the impact area must vote to approve installation. If the final vote does not lead to speed hump installation, the area cannot be studied again for three years.
Typical Schedule of Entire Process
Applications will be taken on a first come, first served basis. The process does not start until the City has received a completed petition. The total process can take up to six (6) months to complete.
If, after two years from the date of installation, residents of the neighborhood decide they no longer want speed humps, they can request the traffic calming devices be removed. It will take 60% of the votes in the impact area to vote in favor to remove any device that has been installed. The entire cost of removal must be paid for by the residents. If speed humps are removed from a road, pursuant to this section, that road will not be eligible for new speed humps for a period of five (5) years from the date of removal.
Note: By action of City Council, in 2016, speed lumps were added as a potential traffic calming device, and may, upon the recommendation of the traffic engineer, be installed subject to all procedures of the Traffic Calming Program.