Traffic impacts in residential communities remain an issue in Howard County. These impacts are principally related to excessive vehicular speed within communities. To address these problems, the Police and Public Works departments have implemented a comprehensive community speed control program. The program incorporates three necessary elements to combat excessive vehicular speed: traffic safety education, vehicular law enforcement, and, when needed, the appropriate level of engineering retrofit of roadway conditions.
Because this program is young and its long-term effectiveness is uncertain, the Howard County staff considers it an interim effort. The program will be closely monitored and necessary changes will be made as results are collected.
Many, if not most, of the communities in the County have requested that action be taken to provide additional speed control in their areas. In order to prioritize the backlog of requests, the Department will rank requests as top priority (school walking routes), second priority (connector or through streets), and third priority (remaining cul-de-sacs or isolated road system communities).
Traffic Safety Awareness Campaign - The Public Information Office will develop an ongoing campaign to heighten public awareness to reduce speeds in residential communities.
The Howard County Department of Police recognizes that excessive speed and other traffic violations in residential areas are a source of concern to the community. The Department will take an active role in enforcing applicable laws, educating the public and making suggestions for road engineering improvements. Law is the principal means of speed control.
Retrofitting existing residential streets to reduce vehicular speeds is an option when problems persist in a community. Each community’s problems need to be reviewed individually by the Department and with a solution custom designed to fit the particular situation. The community will be encouraged to provide input regarding the development of a final solution.
Options for retrofit include:
In order to implement the retrofit program, the following guidelines will apply:
For an engineering retrofit to be considered, the prevailing speed (85th percentile) shall be measured in excess of 10 mph over the posted speed limit. When this determination is made, the Department will do an analysis and present a plan of action to the community. The plan may consist of one or more of the retrofit options. After citizen review and community association approval of the plan, the Director will authorize implementation of the plan consistent with the available budget resources.
Major Collector Roads - The primary emphasis for speed control will be enforcement and education. In circumstances where problems continue, retrofits will be considered. Edge markings, roundabouts, chokers, intersection modifications, roadway medians and striping are the principal options for consideration. In unusual circumstances, other options can be considered. The Department will present a plan for citizen review and community association approval. After review and approval by the community, the Director will authorize implementation of the plan consistent with available budget resources.
Arterial Roads - Due to the nature and function of these roadways, traffic enforcement will be the primary method for speed control. However, in some cases traffic calming may still be needed. In these situations, retrofits will be done as a Capital Project.
Extremely Limited Situations