Carroll County’s traffic calming program is coming up on its 15th anniversary and has seen a steady increase in traffic calming requests since the program initiated in 2006.
Douglas Brown, deputy director of Public Works, and Christopher Letnaunchyn, traffic engineer for Carroll County, presented the county’s traffic calming procedures — procedures that use physical devices and the use of land to improve roadway safety and control traffic— to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
Physical devices include speed limit signs, centerlines, sometimes double wedge devices, raised intersections or raised sidewalks, and speed humps. Other measures include neighborhood traffic circles and center islands.
“I would say that certainly as time goes on, the number of requests for traffic calming has increased over the years and I think that’s just a natural course,” Brown told the Times.
“The traffic calming device design is a balance that takes into consideration all the vehicles that must utilize our roadway,” Letnaunchyn said. “And we’re always accommodating our emergency service vehicles with those designs.”
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Letnaunchyn told the commissioners that the program was designed to involve all community members. Once a traffic calming request is submitted to the department and data is analyzed, officials meet with the community and require two-thirds of the community to approve of a solution before enforcing it.
“If it is determined that traffic calming devices are appropriate, we meet with the community to discuss what the traffic calming program is and talk about which devices would be appropriate for the community,” Letnauchyn said.
The steady increase in traffic calming requests are two-fold said Brown — including a growing population in the county while also being reflective of changes in homeownership in an area.
“As a property sells or someone else moves on the street or moves into an area, they may look at things differently or perhaps they experience things differently from where they came,” Brown told the Times. " Let’s say you had someone who moves from Montgomery County or Baltimore County or Howard County into Carroll County, and perhaps they were used to things being done a little differently there. So I think it’s all a mix of things that may call someone to do that.”
Brown also said a new set of requests have come into the department as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve had concerns during the pandemic from people that live on streets regarding access to public lands,” Brown said. “So say you lived on a street that was next to an open field or open land for years and years and years, and nobody really used it well over the last year. People haven’t had much to do. So they’ve been wanting to get out and walk and take their dogs out or, you know, go do things on public land. So the traffic on those streets has increased. And so you may hear from people about that.”
Brown says a large part of the program is outreach and education and encourages county residents to learn more about the different traffic calming devices available. The departments procedures and an index of its traffic calming devices are available at its website.