Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh is speeding up the time it takes to respond to concerns about speeding drivers on neighborhood streets.
The changes should cut the current eight-year wait to see change down to one to two years, city officials said. Currently, 95 neighborhood streets are on the list for traffic calming.
Driving Brentwood Road requires some zigzagging through an obstacle course designed to slow drivers down.
“I think it’s helped. Lots of people have complained about it, which I think it’s doing its job,” said Alex Howard.
Howard must drive through a mini roundabout from his side street onto Brentwood Road. The roundabout plus floating islands that create curves on straight stretches are traffic calming measures city officials have put in place at the neighborhood’s request.
“To go through those and stay in the lanes — 25 [miles per hour] is pushing it,” said Howard.
City leaders said they’re working to accelerate the process.
“There was a lot of, for a lack of a better word, wasted time built into the process,” said William Shumaker, the traffic calming administrator for Raleigh
Shumaker said changes to that process include removing the minimum number of neighbors who must approve the project by ballot.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of projects we can get on the ground just by removing that barrier to entry,” he said.
“That was really precluding streets and eliminating streets from contention because of neighborhood apathy,” said Shumaker.
The city is fast-tracking design and build time by making Brentwood Road the model for future projects
“We’re able to dramatically reduce construction costs so we can get more projects with the same amount of money,” said Shumaker.
The city is also removing the minimum number of neighbors needed to approve the project by ballot. The city expects to go from completing 7-10 traffic calming projects over two years to doing up to 15-20 a year.
“When a community is asking for help from the city, their problem has already been in effect long enough that people need an immediate solution,” said resident Jennifer Fuller.
These traffic calming measures are for streets that have problems with speeding and crashes. The city’s also lowered speed limits on a record number of streets in the last year.
“These calming measures are asking everyone to do something different, but it’s all for the betterment of the community,” said Fuller.