Traffic Safety Program

The Rochester Hills Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program was created to address neighborhood traffic safety concerns while enabling citizens and/or community groups to become actively involved in the improvement process. This program allows city staff and the community to work together to create safe and pleasant conditions in our residential areas for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and residents.


Issues Addressed 

  • Accidents 
  • Speeding 
  • Pedestrian safety 
  • Cut-through traffic 
  • Sight distance
How We Started
  1. Identify traffic concerns in your neighborhood.
  2. Discuss possible solutions with your neighbors or the neighborhood association.
  3. Fill out the Traffic Information Survey form and submit the form to the City's Traffic Safety Division.
  4. Attend the Informational Meeting to hear more about the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program.
  5. Form a Core Group of residents who will be advocates for the safety improvements.

Program Phases

The program is divided into three phases which must occur in order.

Phase I - Informational Meeting / Problem Identification 

The purpose of phase one is to:
  • Collect data in the form of speed studies and field review
  • Gain the support of a core group of residents
  • Identify the problem
  • Provide for a complete explanation of the program
Informational Meeting & Problem Identification
Residents with a traffic safety concern can contact the city. In return they receive a traffic information survey form. You are requested to discuss traffic concerns with your neighbors and/or the neighborhood association. If there is interest, the city will host an informational meeting and present the program.

After the Meeting
From the informational meeting, a group of residents or core group will be formed to work with the city to gather information. Speed studies will be performed at locations identified by the residents. In addition, traffic counts will be taken and other operational areas will be studied. All of the data gathering will be done with resident volunteers working together in partnership with city employees. This information, jointly collected, will establish base data from which Phase II and Phase III of the program will stem.

Phase II - Problem Solving 
Overview
Phase II is the development of a plan combining elements of educational, enforcement and engineering measures. Based on the specific findings of the field review, a plan will be agreed upon to continue in the process.

Target Area & Audience
Past enforcement activities in the city have found that most violations of traffic ordinances within a residential area are the residents of that area. Therefore, much of the following activities will be directed towards friends and neighbors.

Education
Three educational programs are currently proposed. The extent to which each will be used will be determined by city staff and the core group. They are:
  • The Neighborhood Traffic Safety Campaign
    This involves the distribution of brochures describing techniques that pedestrians and parents can use to help address speeding issues and to become better aware of their driving habits.
  • Use of the Smart Trailer (Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer)
    This program consists of a portable, unmanned trailer equipped with radar speed detection equipment. The unit obtains speeds of oncoming vehicles and displays them on a digital display board visible to the passing motorist. The intent is to show motorists their actual travel speed. The program can be combined with Sheriff Department enforcement activity.
  • The Ownership Letter Campaign
    This program involves citizens collecting speed data for vehicles in their neighborhood. After recording the speed and vehicle information, the city obtains the registered owner's name and address through Michigan's Secretary of State's system. City staff then sends letters to these motorists explaining the community's desire for a safe neighborhood and encouraging them to drive 25 mph. This program actively involves citizens in addressing the speeding concerns in their neighborhood.
Enforcement
The enforcement plan includes the selective enforcement of specific traffic controls and vehicle movements by our detachment of the Sheriff Department. Following current practice, the core group identifies specific time periods and locations that the Sheriff deputies can target for specific ordinance enforcement (i.e. speeding, disobeying stop signs, improper parking, etc.)

Monitoring Effectiveness
Once these measures are taken, the effectiveness is monitored and a re-evaluation of the location is completed. If the measures prove to be effective and the speeding problem is reduced to an acceptable level, the core group will notify the neighborhood of their success and encourage the continuation of safe driving. If, however, these measures prove ineffective, the location then qualifies for consideration of Phase III of the program.

Engineering 
In conjunction with the other components discussed in the education and enforcement information, the city staff will conduct a complete engineering review of the neighborhood. The review will include consideration of placing new or modifying existing traffic controls.

Phase III - Construction 
Purpose
Phase III involves the installation of actual physical control devices in the roadway. These devices are designed to make it less comfortable for the motorist to speed and/or inhibit cut-through traffic. But they are expensive and involve a measure of liability to the city, so it is extremely important that these devices only be installed after exhausting the alternatives provided in Phase I and II. There are specific criteria for the installation of each type of device, and their use is determined by traffic engineering analysis.

Physical Control Devices
Take a more in-depth view at the physical control devices at the Institute of Transportation Engineers website. The devices most used in the program include:
  • Entrance / exit barriers
  • Slow points
  • Speed bumps
  • Traffic circles
Neighborhood Support
Once the core group and city staff have determined a plan for physical devices, it is presented to residents at a community meeting. Input from the residents is incorporated into the plan. Neighborhood support is absolutely essential during the entire process, even more so if physical traffic control devices are to be installed.

Cost
The cost to install physical traffic control devices will be borne by the neighborhood, shared by way of the city's special assessment district procedures. Support for installation must be by petition of at least 67% of residents in the affected area.

City Council Acceptance
After petitions have been received and verified, the City Council will be notified of the recommended project. Implementation of the plan is based on acceptance by City Council, after review of budget limitations. Following this approval step, the device(s) will be designed and constructed.

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