Recurring complaints over speeding and cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets prompted a new traffic calming policy in Waynesville, and residents have wasted no time trying to get their street on the list.
If a street meets the criteria for traffic count and speeding, and if 70 percent of neighbors sign on, the street could be eligible for a speed hump or other mechanisms to slow traffic.
The town got seven requests for traffic calming measures out of the gate after adopting the new policy, which reversed the town’s long-running stance against speed bumps. But that doesn’t mean speed bumps will now start going up all over town, explained Waynesville Town Engineer Preston Gregg.
Some streets didn’t meet the criteria — either the traffic count was too low or the measured speeds weren’t high enough. Others might not get the required petition signatures from neighbors. For those that pass, a variety of traffic calming strategies could come into play.
“Just because a street warrants traffic calming doesn’t mean it will get a speed hump,” Gregg said.
The multi-phase process for each street prompted the town to get help handling the influx.
“Since there was large upfront interest, we hired J.M. Teague Engineering to do the assessment process for each street segment,” Preston said.
The first phase was to measure traffic counts and speeds along each street. Five of the seven met the criteria and advanced to phase II.
The next step was coming up with a recommended traffic calming measure suitable for each street.
“There are a variety of different tools you could use. The analogy I use is you don’t build a house with just a hammer,” explained Mark Teague, president of J.M. Teague Engineering.
Next is the petition phase, with 70% of property owners in the vicinity required to sign on. Determining the pool of property owners in the vicinity was a process in itself. Each case varied.
“While everybody in Waynesville might use Country Club Drive occasionally, it’s based on who uses the road regularly as far as stakeholders,” Teague said.
Letters will be sent to the property owners within the stakeholder boundary to gauge whether there’s 70% support.
Who made the cut?
Below are the streets that met traffic count and speeding criteria, and advanced to the petition phase, as well as the recommended traffic calming measure.
• Hendrix Street: speed table. This street used as a cut-through between Allens Creek and South Main near Walmart was a poster child for the town’s new traffic calming policy.
• Auburn Road: speed hump.
• Country Club Drive: chicane (a curve that forces drivers to slow down along an otherwise straight stretch).
• Ninevah Road: speed hump.
• East Street: speed table.
These streets didn’t meet the criteria to advance.
• Assembly Street: didn’t meet minimum traffic count.
• Brown Avenue (section from Hazelwood Avenue toward Ingles): didn’t meet speeding threshold.