Data from radar boxes and traffic calming recommendations presented at the January 8 community meeting, recommendations made
At the monthly community meeting on January 8, Officers Cain and LeVan of Zone 2 traffic division presented the data collected by radar boxes installed in and near Polish Hill at the request of the PHCA. The radar boxes were installed in three locations for a period of about 2 weeks each to collect data on the amount of traffic and speeding.
The only radar box that was installed in Polish Hill was placed on Dobson Street, where it recorded 17,520 vehicles in a period of 13 days this fall. 14.4% of the vehicles went more than 31mph (6 mph over the limit). 2.1% went more than 10 miles over the posted limit. Most of the traffic on Dobson passed through during the rush hours of 7-9 am and 5-6 pm.
The officers noted that there were many more vehicles going from Brereton Street to Herron Avenue — 10,000. In the other direction, from Herron Avenue to Brereton Street, there were 7500 cars. They attributed the discrepancy to cut-through traffic during rush hours. It should be noted that the 54D also travels on Dobson in just one direction, from Herron to Brereton, which also skews the numbers.
The officers stated that the amount of speeding was within reasonable parameters. Residents might not agree; 14..4 % is more than 2,500 cars in under two weeks — on a narrow street with a lot of pedestrians, that’s a lot.
The officer’s recommendation was to focus on reducing the number of vehicles that that use Polish Hill as a cut-through during rush hours. They felt that the best way to do this would be No Left Turn signs, to in effect only during rush hour, at Herron (going uphill) to Melwood; at Dobson to Herron, and at the top of Brereton at Herron. The officers acknowledged that this would create chaos for a couple of weeks, but assured us that within a month things would settle down, as cut-through drivers realized that the Polish Hill shortcut was no longer viable, at which point we would see a reduction in traffic.
It was noted that drivers would just use Phelan or Paulowna instead, so it might be necessary to request No Left Turn signs at additional spots to ensure that the problem didn’t just shift to other streets.
It was also proposed that there be a no turn sign on Bigelow at Finland, where drivers were turning into the neighborhood at high speeds. Residents at the meeting supported this suggestion as well.
The next steps towards getting the signs would be to discuss the question with the community, get support for our application, then do an engineering study. One way that residents can show their support for traffic reduction and calming: file a 311 report. The City looks at 311 complaints and requests to see what residents want. It’s easy to file a 311 — you can call, text, or write, or fill out this online form.
(Above: during an evening rush hour in April 2011, the Herron Bridge was closed off due to a transformer explosion. Within 15 minutes, all the through streets in Polish Hill were bumper-to-bumper. While unusual, the incident clearly showed just many cars use the neighborhood as a cut-through to shorten their commute. Photo by Patrick Singleton)
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