Traffic calming measures— especially speed cushions— can slow the speed of vehicles and may reduce traffic volume. You can request a study to determine whether traffic calming measures are justified and appropriate for your block.
The Department of Streets uses a ranking system based upon the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s criteria for traffic calming and safety studies. This City’s ranking system evaluates a block based on the following criteria:
- Traffic volume
- Pedestrian generators (community features that generate foot traffic, like schools, parks, recreation centers, retirement or older adult homes, strip malls, and businesses)
Traffic calming and safety studies determine the need for traffic calming measures and establish what kinds of changes would be appropriate.
Types of traffic calming measures
Requirements for a traffic calming study
To qualify for a traffic calming and safety study, the block:
- Must not be a state highway or an arterial route.
- Must be at least 1,000 feet long (typically two city blocks) between stop signs or traffic signals.
- Must not have uphill or downhill grades of 15% or more, or be a curving street.
- Must have a speeding problem.
Roadways are determined to have a speeding problem when 85% of vehicles are traveling above 10 miles per hour (mph) over the posted speed limit. For example, a residential street with a posted speed limit of 25 mph would have a speeding problem if 85% of vehicles are recorded traveling at speeds of 36 mph or higher.
The block must also meet these width requirements:
- Two-way streets must be at least 34-ft. wide.
- One-way streets must be at least 26-ft. wide.
How to request a traffic calming study
To request a traffic calming study, write a letter to the Streets Department’s chief traffic engineer. Include the traffic issue and location, as well as your contact information. Mail the letter to:
Kasim Ali, PE
Chief Traffic Engineer
900 Municipal Services Building
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1676
The normal turnaround time for engineering studies is 12 weeks, depending upon workload.