"The Engineering Department also DOES NOT RECOMMEND installation of permanent speed cushions because both the fire department and hospital emergency vehicle service indicated the speed cushions impacted response times, creating a significant safety issue for Prospect Hill residents."
Significant safety issue? I've lived in this neighborhood since 1985, and I can assure you that both fire and hospital emergency vehicles rarely—repeat, rarely—use this 'through our neighborhood leg' of West Third Street. The majority of ambulance or fire truck runs hold tight to the north/south 'expressways' e.g. Rogers St./Walnut/College or east/west 'pipelines' e.g. Second St. or the 5th St./Kirkwood run along the north side of Rose Hill.
Mr. Wissing's life (or mine, for that matter) does not depend on a 'speed bump-less' run of the narrow leg of west Third St. Our guardian angels (emergency vehicles) will be traveling over Rogers St., then Smith Ave. or Jackson St. or Fourth St. If he (or I) lived on the extension of Third St. in question, then perhaps his (or my) words would carry some weight. Therefore, this 'life or death' argument adds nothing but pain and suffering to the already fragile relationships between neighbors who find themselves at odds over what appears to be a "let the people who live on this street" have the stronger voice issue.
p.s. When I advocated for slowing traffic down on Howe St. within the B&T Park area, I found no dissenting voices within the community or the City. Updated speed limit signs were installed, crossing stripes painted at approved intersections, etc., without a 12-step process to see IF it made sense to slow traffic down to insure the safety of our children AND adults. The narrow leg of Third St. is a different issue, yet it serves as a corridor/passageway for children, pets, and adults. Let's make it more safe for those folks and put it a few permanent speed bumps. It's the least we—those of us who live in houses along streets that don't handle rush hour traffic or rushing automobile drivers—can do for our neighbors. That is, if we truly want to be good neighbors.
I live on the corner of Howe & Rogers, 410 S. Rogers, and I avoided walking on W. 3rd until the temporary speed cushions were installed. How anyone can say that W. 3rd St. isn't dangerous with the many, many speeders and the majority of those speeders rolling through the stop sign at 3rd and Maple is surprising. When one is walking on such a narrow street with just sidewalk and street it is dangerous, plain and simple. Let the residents on W. 3rd get what they've worked so hard for and don't forget that everyone on Prospect Hill who walks on W. 3rd benefits being safe from rude and careless drivers. I agree--let's be good neighbors. When it comes to safety there should be no divisiveness.
The announcement about the W. 3rd St. NTSP proposal in the 3/2/12 PHNA distribution list email has factually incorrect and misleading information. The message reads: "Once City Council approves the project, the speed cushions will be installed permanently with asphalt." (Please see the full message below.)
This is incorrect. The Council Members can vote Yes or No on the W. 3rd St. NTSP proposal. This PHNA distribution list email appears to indicate that the Council cannot decide for themselves, but their decision is preordained by the W. 3rd St. special-interest group.
I argue that the Bloomington Common Council members are wholly and completely capable of weighing the matter thoroughly and arriving at a thoughtful decision based on the merits of the matter.
Further, if the Council would decide to vote Yes, the Mayor also has the power to veto the measure. The PHNA distribution list email also appears to be abrogating this power from the Mayor.
In both of these crucial decision steps, public input from a broad range of interested parties is part of the process. This PHNA distribution list email appears to be attempting to convince Prospect Hill residents that they do not have a voice in this process--that it is a done deal. This is not only incorrect, it is another egregious breach of appropriate civic conduct by the members of the W. 3rd St. special-interest group.
And lastly, it is noteworthy that the PHNA message fails to note that at the Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Commission meeting, the Engineering Department presented their final traffic study on the W. 3rd St. NTSP proposal. Based on the study, the Engineering Department DOES NOT RECOMMEND installation of permanent traffic cushions on W. 3rd because of a significant amount of traffic diversion from W. 3rd to W. 4th St. and Howe St., where traffic increased 26% and 31% respectively after the "temporary" speed cushions were installed on W. 3rd.
The Engineering Department also DOES NOT RECOM MEND installation of permanent speed cushions because both the fire department and hospital emergency vehicle service indicated the speed cushions impacted response times, creating a significant safety issue for Prospect Hill residents.
The Engineering Department study recommendation reads: "At this time, Staff does not recommend the installation of permanent speed cushions along West 3rd Street. Staff feels that negative effects of the cushions on the entire Prospect Hill Neighborhood and emergency services out weigh the small decrease in traffic speed and volume. Other negative impacts of the cushions have been more aggressive drivers and an increase in noise levels. The 26% increase in traffic on West 4th Street and the 31% increase on West Howe Street is a strong indication of diverted traffic and not consistent with the outlined principles of the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program. Furthermore, Staff could not find any evidence that an increase in volume or noise has resulted from the initial traffic calming installation."
As you know, there is significant opposition in Prospect Hill to the W. 3rd St. NTSP proposal. The Prospect Hill neighbors need to know about the Engineering Department's recommendations. Why doesn't the PHNA email full unedited Engineering Department final traffic study to the distribution list, rather than continue to mislead their neighbors.
View the study here: http://bloomington.in.gov/documents/viewDocument.php?document_id=5102
Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
The city has amended their original report on page 48. The city has corrected their report about rerouted traffic to Howe and 4th to read, "While the counts do show some increases, they are in no way near the undesirable amount established by the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program for a Collector Street (150 vehicles per day). It is also documented through our Thoroughfare Plan Map that this section of West Third Street is classified as a Neighborhood Street." As for the objection of the fire and emergency vehicles in Bloomington, the city stated that, "Chief Roger Kerr has responded on 02/20/12 that the Fire Department has no problem with the installation of the modified cushions. The evaluation that was conducted and included in this report was completed prior to the proposed modifications to the cushions and the removal of the proposed bump‐outs on Jackson. If cushions are chosen, Engineering recommends that they be narrowed so that Fire Trucks will not be affected. The city also corrects their previous stand that the speed cushions created a noise problem in the following passage: "No noise studies have been conducted during this Engineering evaluation. Conclusions about increased noise in the recommendations are based on material that was presented during neighborhood meetings and emails concerned residents. Within the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program Guidelines, noise is mentioned as increasing with the usage of speed humps. It is important to note that many of the residents along West 3rd Street have expressed that there has not been an increase in noise on the project street. The negative impact of noise in the recommendations has been removed from the report." No diversion problems, no problems with emergency vehicles and a correction of erroneous statements made on alleged noise problems. These corrections are great news and without Doug's post, I would never have known about them! Thanks Doug!
To the Council Membership:
I speak as someone who has witnessed first-hand the effects of the traffic calming devices on West Third Street between Jackson and Walker as my home is located on the 700 block of West Third. The traffic volume and the speed of that traffic, especially with the installation of the speed bumps, have both been reduced noticibly. I have also noticed an increase in pedestrian traffic along our block. Not totally coincidental, I would suspect, and certainly something to be encouraged in every urban neighborhood.
While I am sensitive to the claims of inconvenience by commuters and drivers, I would offer that going slower and taking longer over the course of one's day might be a welcome counterbalance to the increasingly impulsive trends of technology and scheduling. These days, we could all use an occasional deep breath.
This household is in full support of continuing the program of traffic calming introduced by the city and the engineering department in collaboration with the Prospect Hill neighborhood.
My name is Tom Stryker and I live at 712 W. Third Street on Prospect Hill between Fairview and Maple Streets. My wife Krista and I purchased our house in September 2009. We love our close proximity to downtown and the ability to walk to work and shopping. What we didn't expect when we moved in was how fast and carelessly people drive down our street.
I cannot express the gratitude we had for the City when we learned that four traffic calming devices were going to be added along our street in order to slow down habitual offenders. As you may know, The Prep School, a pre-school on South Rogers Street, has dozens of small children who use our streets everyday to walk over to the Building & Trades playground just north of the hospital. These traffic calming devices greatly reduced speeds of cars, reduced noise, and gave pedestrians, cyclists and these young children more security. We knew that these devices were going to save lives.
As opposed to other neighborhoods connected to the downtown area, our one-way street is very narrow. When you walk down the sidewalk, there is nothing more than a foot at times between you and traffic. This makes it very difficult when cars are excessively speeding just a step away. West Third is the only street on Prospect Hill where a driver can avoid traffic on West Second or West Kirkwood to get to the west side of town and the highways. With Patterson Pointe expected to bring hundreds of new residents and shoppers, it is a critical time for those living along our street.
Recently, when the City removed the four traffic calming devices, we saw an immediate impact of cars driving well over the speed limit, and getting back into bad habits of not stopping at the corner of 3rd and Maple. Just yesterday, I watched a car drive no less than 50mph down the street without slowing down. This was a scene we saw frequently when we first moved in. Had there been a pedestrian or cyclist, it would have been a very scary situation for them. Without speed cushions, it has become unsafe once again to walk, bike and live safely on West Third Street.
I'm writing to you as a father-to-be this summer who asks that you make these traffic calming speed cushions permanent. Without them, I know everyone along this street will be impacted negatively. I love my neighborhood, my town and family. I ask that you help us make our neighborhood as safe as it should be for all us who choose to live here.
Thank you for your time.
712 W. Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47404
Dear Mayor Kruzan and the City Council,
I live in the Prospect Hill Neighborhood, so I drive down West Third between Rogers and Maple every day about three or four times.
When the speed bumps showed up I did everything I could to avoid them--I used 4th St. and an alley. But recently,
I noticed they were gone!!!! I was SO happy!!! I have a new car and I hated going over those speed bumps--even at 1 or 2 miles an hour. It seemed so impractical--I used extra gas, it seemed like a bad idea to slow down firetrucks and ambulances, and I
never noticed anyone speeding down the street in the first place.
So, thank you for taking them out and I certainly hope nothing else is coming in their place.
221 S. Maple
Bloomington, IN 47404
Jeri, the speed cushions are engineered so that they do not slow down firetrucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles. They are designed so those vehicles do not have to drive over them because of the size of their axles and frames being larger than cars.
No doubt slowing down is a difficult thing to do in this day and age of hustle and bustle. And while this narrow street may appear to you as a bonafide commuter pipeline, it is in actuality a neighborhood street crossed by critters of two, four, if not more legs.
I'm sorry you think gasoline is wasted by slowing down to navigate said speed bumps. I can assure you that it would be minuscule. (Are you the kind of driver who races to the next stop light? This certainly wastes gas. A slow pace with anticipation to changing lights would no doubt offset any gasoline loses you might obtain by 'turtling' over speed bumps on 3rd Street.) You new car's suspension wouldn't be compromised by speed bumps; hitting potholes is another story. I'm sorry you think emergency vehicles are prone to use this little stretch of 3rd St. Not so. And, I'm sorry you've not taken the time to stand near the curb on said street during rush hour. You might have a different opinion about safety if you could feel speed at your backside.
Dear City Council Members:
Last Monday night I left the Bike and Ped meeting feeling hopeful that as we kept following the NTSP process, that our temporary speed cushions would become permanent. Much to my surprise and I am assuming everyone else's on West 3rd St., I woke up to speeding traffic on Wednesday morning. My first thought was to wonder what on earth was that?
I called Karen Knight and was told that the city had come out Tuesday evening and removed the temporary cushions. My exact words were “You have to be kidding me? Why?” It seems that one disgruntled resident on quiet little Jackson Street said the cushions were illegal so they were removed immediately. As impressed as I was at the expediency of this action, especially when we are approaching our third anniversary in May of following the NTSP process, I was terribly saddened for the neighborhood. The traffic data shows that this was not a diversion tactic and that speeds decreased because of the cushions. Guess what? Ready? We now have speeders once again zooming through the chicanes and seldom stopping at the stop sign at Maple and W. 3rd. Today as I walking at Jackson and the W. 3rd intersection, the little kids from the Prep School were going to the park as, once again, the speeders rolled through the stop sign. They were in fact stopping at that sign knowing that a speed cushion was around the corner.
Let’s put aside the fact that I am flummoxed, disheartened, saddened and angry, please listen to me one more time. This is a dangerous situation for the children of the school and the residents. When cars “fly” down this street they are 4,000 pound bombs that endanger us when there is just street and sidewalk. We have no green space like other streets and our homes sit very close to the street vs. those on Covenanter.
I am begging you to please keep this street safe as it was a week ago. Let us have permanent speed cushions. We are Third Street Traffic Calming not a Third world country trying to defeat the American way of life!
911 W. 3rd St.
Dear City Council members and street engineering staff,
I was surprised, and saddened, to discover that the safety cushions on West Third Street have been removed.
When I moved into the Prospect Hill neighborhood two years ago, I was sure that I had chosen a home in a quiet and safe area. But I soon learned to watch out for the speeding and somewhat reckless traffic that moves down W. Third. I have two dogs that I walk on a daily basis and crossing Third from alley to alley, or even walking a couple short blocks requires more caution than one might expect in a residential zone. Cars zoomed down the street as if it was a raceway! If one walked on the north side of the street, the fast-moving cars were just inches away.
So you can imagine how delighted I was when the cushions were installed. I thought to myself, “What a sane, sensible solution! This is why I love living in Bloomington.”
And you can also imagine my distress when they suddenly disappeared. Cars, I counted ten the other day, charge to the stop sign at Maple and then roar off toward the dodge-em courseway by the cemetery. Once again It is extremely dangerous to walk on the north side of the street. Crossing from the sidewalk by the Waldron corner of the cemetery south toward Buckner is particularly unnerving. Crossing mid-block (alley to alley) between Maple and Fairview is frightening.
When asking my neighbors about this, I heard that the cushions were always meant to be temporary, that they were a test. So I am hoping that their removal means that the City is planning on installing something like them on a permanent basis.
I plan to live in this neighborhood and walk daily until I am an ancient old lady (which is not that far away) likely with diminished vision and hearing. I would hate to be run down by someone in a bum’s rush to get home from work; and I am sure the driver would rather not run me down either.
Please, help us.
Claire Arbogast and my two dogs, Lila and Digs
108 S. Maple St.
Dear City Council members;
I would like to offer a belated thank you for your assistance in placing the stop sign at the 4th and Maple intersection. While the undertaking was a rather long excursion into the democratic process, the resulting placement of the stop sign has been a remarkable success, in my humble opinion. In the many months since the installation of the sign, we have noticed both a substantial reduction in speeding vehicles in the neighborhood, as well as an apparent decline in overall traffic. Notably, my fears of the unintended consequences of cars rapidly slowing and accelerating does not appear to be an issue, and for the most part, the sign is respected and used as intended, with very little intentional disregarding. These are our subjective observations, of course, but we do appreciate the council's response to our neighborhood's concerns, and are grateful for your actions.
Dear Fellow Council Members,
There is a current suggestion from one of my neighbors that I should recuse myself from voting because my parents live on 3rd Street.
It was also implied that I had a business interest in 3rd Street because my father had recently expressed interest in a house for sale on 3rd Street.
With this issue hovering about, I felt it was necessary to clear the air with this email message to you all.
In the first place, my dad did not buy the house. I last worked with my father in 2001 when we restored a house at Maple and Howe and sold it to a homeowner.
Our other "recent" project together was in partnership with Doug Wissing on 4th and Maple. That house was also sold.
My company works all over the county and we are currently doing a large restoration job in Bedford.
My professional work simply has nothing to do with this three year traffic calming proposal (which I did not originate).
Dan Sherman has looked into this and there is no reason to recuse myself from the duty I have sworn to uphold: to serve my community fairly and honestly. This is not a business issue. This is a neighborhood safety issue.
I wish to support my parents', along with all my neighbors' efforts, to petition for a safe and calm neighborhood along West 3rd Street.
According to the recent data, just before the installation of the speed cushions there were 1,918 speeders per week on 3rd Street.
You know that our tradition with the NTSP is to create a committee including the petition originating neighbors, an engineer and the council rep for that district.
At first I was not in support of speed bumps as an option but the use of the innovative speed cushions and the obvious need on the street for traffic calming has convinced me that something has to be done. There was worry that a large number of cars would be diverted to adjacent streets.
But the statistics from the tests of Feb 11,2011 (before the speed cushions) and Oct 11, 2011 ( after the speed cushions ) showed that only 41 westbound cars had been added to 4th Street traffic and 32 westbound cars per day had been added to Howe Street in the October data.
Clearly diversion was not an issue with over 1,000 cars daily still using West 3rd while the speed cushions were in place.
As to public safety, the fire chief said that the cushions were not a concern to the fire department and the Hospital said that the new humps " seem to be OK".
And the speed reduction was dramatic from a neighborhood point of view. We went from a scary street to a calm street overnight. People could feel safe getting into their cars parked cars on the street.
Neighbors felt safer walking their dogs to the park. The little children from the Prep School on Rogers Street were safer in their walks to Building Trades Park and bikers and just plain old pedestrians no longer experienced one of every four cars going faster than the speed limit. Speeding was practically eliminated with the complimentary combination of the chicanes and the speed cushions.
Justin said the cost of adding the blacktop cushions now would be about $200 for the materials.
I hope you will support my Neighborhood Association and the large majority who voted for the traffic calming for 3rd Street. Those who live off the street have the option of driving slowly over the cushions as I do, or taking a different route. That is why local streets only include the voters who live on the street. Those who live on the street live directly with the traffic problem too.
This NTSP is meant to be a bottom up method of addressing traffic problems from a neighborhood and citizen level. They need your help and mine to get this done.
Chris Sturbaum, District One
I have lived on West Fourth Street since 1978 and I have the pleasure of walking the neighborhood for many years. While traffic has increased regrettably all around town, Fourth and Rogers Street is nearly impossible to cross most times of the day between 8:30 - 6:00 I do not think the increase of forty cars or so on Fourth Street for the month of recording in the fall is any appreciable change and it is not a convincing argument that the speed bumps in place caused this change.
I agree with George Bull that the stop sign at Fourth and Maple has slowed down traffic on our street. I mostly avoid walking West Third Street with my dogs because the street and sidewalks are too narrow. The speed bumps have made me feel much safer when I do walk that street with dogs in tow. While I don't like driving over the speed bumps, given the limited real estate, traffic must be slowed down along that corridor. Someone or a dog is going to get hit.
I am sad that the speed cushions are gone and now once again we have cars driving far too fast in front of my house. I especially took note of this while out doing yard work with my children this weekend. Some people drove so fast, I was terrified for my children. At least they are now 6 and 8 and are more cautious about staying on the sidewalk, but now they have just learned to ride bikes without training wheels and we use the sidewalks to work our way to the Rail Trail. With the zooming traffic and the sidewalks so close to the cars, I am terrified that they will lose control and fall into the roadway. I had assumed from PHNA emails that the project would work its way through and was meeting success. I am deeply saddened.
811 W 3rd St
Dear members of the City Council,
I wish to write a few lines about the traffic-calming devices on 3rd Street in the Prospect Hill neighborhood. I live in the neighborhood, at 334 S. Rogers Street, which is between 2nd and 3rd Streets, and I often stroll, jog, or drive west on 3rd Street. As a pedestrian and jogger, I am happy for the traffic-calming devices in the road, since they do slow down cars that otherwise can move pretty fast and without regard for the narrow road and residential nature of the area. As a driver, I can’t say that I enjoy them, but that’s not the point. For the driver they amount to a small inconvenience, and the trade-off in increased safety seems to me worth it. I add that our neighborhood association, which is quite democratic and egalitarian in nature in that everyone is invited to express their opinion and air their arguments on this and other subjects, also supports the devices.
My name is Sonja Johnson. My husband, Keith Solberg, and I are long time (28 years or so) residents of Prospect Hill. Our home is at 344 S. Rogers. We endorse the installation of speed bumps on West Third. We very much appreciate the long and thoughtful process that has resulted in this recommendation. While it would be lovely to think that our west side streets would only be used by either neighbors or people wanting to place flowers on graves at Rose Hill cemetery, we are convinced that the reality is quite different. These streets have long been and will continue to be used by people moving from east side to west side; using devices such as the speed bumps to slow them down or encourage them to use established arteries such as Kirkwood or Second Street is important for all our safety.
Thank you. Sonja Johnson
Hi, I live at 317 S. Jackson St right where W3rd Street jogs then heads west again. This has always been a difficult spot for pedestrians with the traffic accelerating around the corner and then blasting off down W3rd . I walk frequently on that stretch of 3rd with my dog and have always been concerned both with the speed of the vehicles and the inattention of the drivers who are often on there cell phones as they wheel around the corner. The traffic cushions were a definite improvement. There is still as much traffic but as they negotiated the cushions the drivers have slowed down and appear to concentrate more on the job at hand. I felt both safer and more comfortable using the sidewalks and crossing this neighborhood street with the traffic cushions in place. I strongly support making them permanent.
To the Members of City Council:
We live at 720 West Third Street in the Prospect Hill neighborhood. Our household is strongly in favor of the permanent installation of traffic calming cushions on West Third Street. We are grateful that the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission, by a unanimous vote, validated the neighborhood's petition and advanced it to City Council for your review and action.
As you may already know, Prospect Hill is one of Bloomington's old core neighborhoods, and the physical nature of West Third Street reflects the development of the area prior to the turn of the last century. Many of the homes were built by the 1890's, with most of the "newer" homes built before 1920-which means it is an old, narrow street lined by houses with very shallow setbacks and no tree lawns.
In this intimate setting, many of the neighbors have developed a great sense of community: we often chat with one another on the sidewalks in front of our homes; we share tools, plants from our gardens, and dishes of food; and we help one another shovel sidewalks in the winter. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians passing through the neighborhood experience an older, charming street lined with houses full of character.
That last sentence was true, at least, while the four speed cushions were in place along West Third. True, there was an initial period of adjustment when the devices were installed last year, but drivers (including myself) became accustomed to the cushions, speeds came down and, in large part, our local street retained its normal traffic volume of over 1,000 cars per day. We noticed a greater number of bicyclists and pedestrians with their pets enjoying the calmer setting, even during the recent winter months. With the cushions installed, our street became a place not just for our immediate neighbors, but for others, to enjoy in safety.
When the temporary speed cushions were removed, it took less than a week for us to notice the difference. Speeds are back up, the noise factor has increased as drivers hit the gas rounding the corner from Jackson onto Third, and rolling stops at the Third and Maple stop sign are on the rise. Our home's position on the street means we have a prime viewpoint as drivers pick up speed in the two-block stretch between Jackson and Maple.
Our household asks you to approve the permanent installation of the four traffic calming cushions on West Third Street. From our perspective, they slow speeds (while costing drivers very little time on their regular commute) and provide a much safer street, which we believe benefits the entire neighborhood.
Many thanks to you all for your consideration of this issue.
Richard Lewis & Don Harp
Dear Bloomington City Council members,
I have been a resident in the Prospect Hill neighborhood since 1989. I live at 347 South Maple Street. I support the proposal for blacktop cushions to reduce traffic speed on West Third Street.
I have been witness to speeding cars, as well as cars not stopping at the stop sign on Maple and Third for a long time. This is a dangerous situation on Third Street and it is a miracle that a pedestrian or bicyclist has not been killed by speeding cars racing to cut through the neighborhood. I feel that this project will do a lot to make our neighborhood safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, and motorists. Speeder not only endanger pedestrians they are also a hazard for other motorists.
While added stop signs and the lowering of the speed limit were helpful, these steps were not enough to slow all the traffic. The speed bumps have been the only thing tried that was completely effective. Please vote in support of the permanent installation of blacktop cushions to prevent speeding and create a safer neighborhood for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. I thank you for your support an consideration on this matter.
March 26, 2012
Dear Council Members:
I live at 725 W. 3rd Street in Prospect Hill. I am writing to encourage your support of our neighborhood’s traffic calming proposal to re-install speed cushions on 3rd Street.
Safety is an important issue on 3rd Street and throughout the entire Prospect Hill neighborhood. I am proud of the hard work and civic conduct of my neighborhood association. I have witnessed their consideration of a broad range of interests and safety concerns - most recently the support of a stop sign at 4th and Maple. Historically, PHNA efforts have implemented many traffic calming ideas (no truck zone on Rogers, stop signs at Madison, Howe at Maple & Euclid...) which are, comprehensively addressing the various safety concerns of us all; our collective special interests.
With my neighbors in mind, I am pleased that statistics from the speed cushion trial on 3rd Street reflect a very minimal diversion to other streets; that most cars continued to use 3rd Street, but at a slower speed. My personal observation since the speed cushions were removed is that the traffic speed has definitely increased and that the stop sign at 3rd and Maple gets much less attention.
According to the City’s Master Thoroughfare Plan, the portion of 3rd Street being discussed is labeled a local street (verses a connector). It is a well-used by pedestrians including dog walkers and families with young children. Many of us choose walking as a primary mode of transportation. 3rd Street is narrow (20'), has little off street parking, has no tree lawns, and the homes sit very close to street. Re-installing the speed cushions will reduce traffic speed and will increase safety in general, and especially for the many pedestrians.
I am concerned about an idea that was recently suggested for starting over - a cumbersome process that may include removing the chicanes, changing parking patterns, and implementing a bike lane on narrow 3rd For over three years PHNA has diligently followed the established NTSP guidelines. I urge you to support these efforts and the PHNA traffic calming proposal.
I've lived on West Third just east of Jackson for more than 10 years. My primary method of transportation is walking. I have never felt the traffic in front of my house was a problem. I've never felt endangered by the amount or speed of the traffic. The objective evidence from the engineering department supports my impression.
West Third just east of Jackson is not where the real problem is. It BEGINS at Jackson and gets worse all the way west to Walker. These are the neighbors who have been working for so long to slow traffic where the street is extremely narrow and without grass buffers between the sidewalk and street.
1) Interestingly Bell Trace has speed bumps that go clear across the road. I also have not heard any report of safety problems with the Covenenter speed tables and they have been installed for 15 years. Portland seems to deal with thousands of these successfully.
2) I talked with Chief Kerr and asked him if the fire trucks would really have been stopped by the rubber curbs and mulch in the road for a mock up of the ill fated traffic island test. As I remember it he said, " Of course not."
3) When the engineering data was calculated for average volumes just before traffic calming in Feb 2011 and then their most recent data from Oct 2011, the diversion on 3rd was a decrease of 9 % or 174 cars per day and only 32 of those cars showed up on 4th Street and 41 went to Howe. As engineering agreed, this is not significant with one extra car every 30 to 40 minutes.
4) All the letters against traffic calming in your packet were dated April of 2011, when fears of traffic pouring onto 4th Street were at their highest and the ill fated island at Rogers had just gone in.
After the neighborhood formed the Traffic Committee on August 2nd, sponsored the stop sign at Maple Street, and the cushions had been in place for some time, the fears diminished to the point where, as you noticed, you saw no emails in your packet from any 4th Street resident after April.
( Please note that all of the supporting emails were only a week or two old.)
5) So safety and diversion are not issues. The speed is reduced by 5 MPH and the high end speeders are
nearly completely taken away. As Susie Johnson agreed last night, this is a dramatically successful traffic calming outcome.
6) The upcoming NTSP reform should finally eliminate the poorly thought out idea of mandating that neighborhoods maintain public property indefinitely.
The decorative hardscape with planters is a practical solution to the problem. Our neighborhood will also propose some added timelines to move the process forward.
As an appointee on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission, I have been involved with much of the discussion and process that has brought the West 3rd Neighborhood Traffic Safety project to your consideration.
The Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program offers dedicated citizens a means to directly improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. These citizens have persevered through our bureaucracy for three years in an attempt to have a few traffic calming devices installed in their neighborhood. Their efforts should be commended and I hope this process is eventually able to improve quality of life for more citizens.
With that in mind, I would like to voice my support of the comments previously submitted by Jim Rosenbarger (comments attached) with regards to the West 3rd NTSP and offer a few of my own thoughts.
The data collected by City Engineering indicates that West 3rd currently has a traffic speed issue, as detailed in Jim's comments. The data also indicates that installation of temporary traffic calming devices reduced traffic speeds. Additionally, the perception of safety by the residents on this street should be considered. The residents have indicated with their comments and their votes throughout the NTSP process that the traffic calming devices have a positive effect on their street.
I am disappointed that City Engineering has pushed an agenda throughout the process that this project never should have been started. Those views have long been irrelevant because it has been determined that there is a traffic safety issue on West 3rd. Step 3 (BPSC Review of Engineering Studies and Petitions) in the NTSP process states that "Petition validation is a commitment to try to do something about the problem". The petition was validated by the BPSC. City Engineering has chosen not to honor this commitment by continuing to state that the project should not have been started.
Several issues with the report prepared by City Engineering are outlined in Jim's comments. I support all of the points that he makes.
Additionally, City Engineering's statistical analysis on traffic diversion due to the temporary traffic calming devices is not satisfactory. It is disappointing that City Engineering is either unable or unwilling to produce an unbiased statistical analysis of their collected data.
City Engineering picked a single day before and after the device installation to use for traffic counts even though several days of traffic count data exists for several segments of interest. City Engineering noted that traffic counts vary from day to day and then chose to ignore that variation when generalizing their findings. If one reviews the traffic count data for West Howe (where multiple data points are available pre/post calming devices), then it appears that there is not likely to be a significant traffic diversion problem.
Finally, the NTSP should be reformed to be more efficient and to resolve neighborhood petitions in a more timely manner. Citizens should not have to wait three or more years for resolution when a traffic safety problem has been identified.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Commission
Dear Bloomington City Council Members,
I am writing to let you know that I truly appreciate the thorough process that the city has used in evaluating the possible impacts of installing speed cushions on the area of W. 3rd Street that comes through the Prospect Hill neighborhood. As a resident of Prospect Hill, a dog owner, a cyclist, a runner, and a driver who uses that area of 3rd street, I want to voice my support of permanently installing the cushions. My own observation of the neighborhood impact (safety, noise, traffic volume) has all been positive, and I feel the engineering report supports these observations. My personal driving routes utilize 3rd, 4th, and Howe, all during typical commuter times (7:30 - 8am, 5:30-6pm), and none of these roads, in my opinion, have been negatively impacted.
Please move forward with the installation of the speed cushions.
223 S Maple St
My name is Webb Lucas. My wife and I recently bought a house in Prospect Hill at 316 S Buckner Street and I wanted to express my support of the permanent installation of speed cushions along 3rd Street. One of the reasons we bought property in this neighborhood was the minimal traffic and since the temporary speed cushions were removed I have noticed that the cars who use this stretch of road to avoid traffic congestion during rush hour are able to go significantly faster than before. Walking and driving along this street I have noticed many kids and pets and strongly believe that the added speed control of the speed cushions would be beneficial.
I am writing in support of reinstallation of the traffic cushions on West Third Street for several reasons.
West Third is a narrow residential street with a posted speed limit of 25 mph. Before the cushions were installed, cars routinely drove through at 40 miles an hour, some honking or cursing at residents trying to get groceries out of their cars or parking and threatening the safety of pedestrians trying to cross. Most did not stop at the stop sign at Third and Jackson Streets, and many did not even slow down. In icy weather, cars would fishtail around the dogleg and would honk at people going north along Jackson Street. Cars routinely ran the stop signs on the street, rendering crossing the street hazardous.
The cushions had an immediate effect on the traffic. While many cars still did not come to a complete halt at Third and Jackson, they did slow down more and those who had been on West Third before were more cautious. Resentful drivers did gun their motors in between the cushions and ran only one set of wheels over them, but they still had to slow down. Cars were going slower when they reached the stop signs, so that even if they didn't stop completely, transverse traffic had a chance.
I am sympathetic to those who would like to use the street to get out to the highway. Indeed, I use that street myself (I live at 317 S. Jackson) and did when the cushions were in place. The cushions didn't make it difficult to get out to the highway--they just made it slightly slower. Since the speed limit is 25 mph with or without the cushions, I do not see the problem with helping the traffic remain at that speed, particularly since I understand that emergency vehicles are able to safely negotiate the street. This street is far narrower than either Second or Kirkwood, the other two routes out to the highway and a lower speed limit makes sense, particularly given the residential character of the neighborhood with house fronts very close to the street (closer than would be allowed in more recently established neighborhoods).
Thank you for your consideration of this matter. Please save the residential character of West Third Street.
317 S. Jackson Street
I am writing to support the traffic calming efforts undertaken by the city council in our Prospect Hill neighborhood, and to express our appreciation for the council's response to the traffic issues as presented by the Prospect Hill neighborhood association. My wife Faye Mark and I live at the corner of 4th and Maple, and have benefited from the placement of the 4-way stop sign placed at that intersection. We have also experienced the calming devices on 3rd street on a regular basis, and find them effective in reducing speed, but not so inconvenient as to deter us from using 3rd street as a neighborhood street. As I'm sure everyone is aware by now, 3rd street in Prospect Hill is quite narrow, with sidewalks very close to the street, and houses not far away. The street has been used in the past as a by-pass for drivers avoiding the through streets of 5th and 2nd, and the feel of this rapid traffic was perceived as threatening and dangerous by many in the neighborhood. While the current accommodation to the neighborhood associations requests may not be a perfect solution in everyone's mind to the vehicle-pedestrian conflict, it does represent a thoughtful, reasoned, and lawful response by local government to citizens' concerns, and for this, Faye and I are grateful, and we are grateful as well for our neighborhood associations' positive and productive representation of our interests.
Dear City Council Members:
Each person who lives on Third Street between Rogers and Walker will be able to tell you a different story on how traffic is personally affecting them based on where they live or interact with the street. Depending on whether there is a green or red light at Rogers and Third, a driver can come into the neighborhood with speeds that they have picked up from traveling the 3, 4 or 5 lanes of Third Street. A neighbor who lives at the beginning of the neighborhood reports that many times he is stopped by lost drivers trying to find Lowes or other businesses on West Third. In this same area, people will tell you that drivers will slide through the stop signs at Jackson and Third Street instead of coming to a stop. Not only is this slide through unsafe, it makes it hazardous for neighbors who live on this block to pull out of their driveways safely since one cannot see drivers coming due to the jog in the road. The stop sign at Maple and Third Street is great at slowing people down. From Maple to Buckner, drivers increase their speeds since there is nothing to stop them from doing so. Once the driver is at the cemetery, they run into the chicanes. Some drivers choose to use this area as a driving test course. The black tire marks and lost cement on the chicanes testify to this experience. The limestone walls of the cemetery amplify the sound of the cars as they use this part of Third Street.
This morning, I was inspired by the sounds of morning commuter traffic whizzing past my bedroom window to write you and ask you to support speed cushions on Third Street. I live on Third Street across from the Rose Hill Cemetery. I am reminded of Friday February 25, 2011 where 1587 drivers came down Third Street at speeds up to 45 MPH as per data from a speed count done by City Engineering. One driver is recorded at 55 MPH going through the chicanes between Buckner and Davisson. This is a lot for an one lane, one-way local street to handle.
Please help us make our street safe again by installing permanent speed cushions.
308 South Buckner St
I am writing in support of 3rd St. traffic calming. The temporary speed cushions reduced vehicle speed and noise, and created a feeling of safety. Since they have been removed, cars have started travelling faster and as a result are louder. Overall traffic volume appears to be unchanged. Let us work together to make 3rd St a safe and civil place to live or travel though.
308 S. Buckner St.
I'm confused. Is the Bloomington City Council discussing this tonight or does the negative vote from the last meeting mean its over and done?
Last week was the reading - this week (tonight 4/4) is the vote. There will be more time to comment. You can view the packet online here: http://bloomington.in.gov/media/media/application/pdf/11716.pdf
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Here is my statement on the speed cushions:
"I am happy that the traffic calming devices approved by the city council and signed on to by the mayor are being implemented. It will improve the daily life experience of neighbors living on 3rd Street but it will also make the street safer for everyone: drivers, pedestrians, bikers and animals. Our neighborhood asked for help from the city and we got it. I am proud to live in a city where quality of life really does matter."
Thanks to all who helped make this happen and to those who merely let is happen !
Looking forward to much calmness.....
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