Constituent Newsletter

Feedback on Stewart Road Speed Humps and Traffic Calming for Arterials and Freeways

April 1, 2018

Dear Constituent:

Stewart Road Traffic Calming Feedback

My thanks to the 83 of you who provided feedback on the new Stewart Road speed humps and, in particular, weighed in on whether they should be removed as some constituents have requested.

I don’t agree with Mike on every issue, but the way he approaches his role as a City Councilperson is exemplary. He works extremely hard, he listens to all his constituents, he explains every one of his votes, and he’s not afraid to take a controversial position if it’s something he believes in.

More than three fifths of you told me that you feel this project is doing a good job of calming traffic and want the speed humps to stay in place. About one fifth of you are in favor of removing them, while another one-fifth support some modifications.

All of your feedback (without individual identifiers) can be viewed at this web page. Here is a summary of the results:

  • In favor of keeping Stewart Road speed humps: 51/83 = 61%
  • In favor of removing Stewart Road speed humps: 17/83 = 20%
  • Neutral, or in favor of some modifications: 15/83 = 18%

This feedback supports my position that traffic calming has made this residential street safer and more pedestrian-friendly. Although I did not specifically ask this question, many of you also volunteered that you support my proposal to reduce the general speed limit on Stewart Road from 30 mph to 25 mph, as is the case for most residential streets.

One of you pointed out that Stewart Road is home to many of the wealthier families in Columbia and that this may be an example of social inequity, or of the "squeaky wheel" getting the traffic calming, and there may be some validity to this concern. Although project prioritization is evaluated on the basis of specific data (traffic speeds, volumes, nearby schools, etc.), the process for receiving an evaluation is complaint-driven - meaning that neighborhoods whose residents are less engaged with City government and less likely to complain, tend to get overlooked.

Here are the details of the "Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP)," through which these projects are selected:

With this possible inequity in mind, I plan to ask City staff to evaluate Ash Street and Worley Street for potential traffic calming interventions - please let me know if you live on either of these streets and feel the traffic makes you and your neighbors unsafe.

Traffic Calming for Arterials and Freeways

While the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) has been designed for residential streets, I believe we also need to focus on arterials and freeways. That is where almost all of Columbia's traffic deaths and serious injuries take place, according to the Vision Zero map.

During the recent Ward 4 Vision Zero meeting, I pointed out that 5 out of 6 fatality crashes (83%) and 29 out of 35 serious injury crashes (also 83%) in the Fourth Ward in the last 10 years occurred on the five arterials and freeways in the ward - Scott, Broadway, Providence, Stadium, and Forum. Even though many of these high-speed thoroughfares have residential driveways entering directly onto them, I suspect they would not be considered eligible for the NTMP.

Therefore, I believe we need a new “Traffic Calming Program for Arterial Streets and Freeways" which, if effective, will save many more lives than the NTMP. I anticipate the specific interventions will be different (HAWK signals, speed-sensitive flashing warning lights, eventual replacement of traffic signals with landscaped roundabouts, etc., rather than speed humps and raised crosswalks) but the goal will be the same - reduce speeds, increase safety for everyone, and improve livability.

In recent weeks, I have spoken with several residents in the area of the "Broadway/Scott curve” who are extremely concerned about the dangers of this stretch of highway. Specific problems include wide lanes, high-speed traffic, residential driveways and neighborhood streets entering directly onto the highway, and unprotected left turns at intersections.

Please let me know if you support a “Traffic Calming Program for Arterial Streets and Freeways" as part of Columbia's Vision Zero program.

Highridge Drive Sewer Lining Project

The City Utilities Department is planning a sewer lining project in the area just south of Highridge Drive and Ridgemont Court.

The purpose of this project is to seal leaks in sewer pipes which currently allow storm water to enter the sewer system during heavy rains, thereby pressurizing the system and forcing a mixture of storm water and sewage out in other locations.

An "Interested Parties" meeting to discuss the project will be held on Wednesday, April 11 from 5-6pm in Conference Room 1B of City Hall. There is more information here:

https://www.como.gov/CMS/webcal/event.php?id=10090

Please note that this announcement currently (April 1) includes an error, giving the location as Highland Drive when it should say Highridge Drive. The error will be corrected soon.

Constituent Conversations

Upcoming Constituent Conversations will be held today, 2-4pm at Kaldi's at Schnucks, and on Sunday April 15th, 2-4pm at Dunn Bros. Coffee. Dates for Constituent Conversations are always available at my web site.

Cheers, Ian