1. A. What does “Traffic Calming” mean? Traffic Calming is a term commonly associated with physical features such as: speed humps, pinch-points, and chicanes (added curves). They are installed on the road to reduce the speeds at which vehicles travel, to discourage through traffic, to improve traffic safety, and to improve comfort levels for all road users.
1. B. Why is this happening in North Yarmouth? Two town surveys paid consultants and town people’s observations showed concerns about speeding traffic through the town center.
2. Why is the town center getting the focus of attention first? The recently completed new town Comprehensive Plan calls for increased density in the village center, which is well underway (41 units), and safety concerns are high.
3. Who is involved in developing the plan and process (test)? NY Public Works, Bicycle/Pedestrian Coalition of Maine, DOT, Traffic Engineer, town planning consultant, and volunteers from the LWNY and EDSC committees.
4. What did this process cost the taxpayers of North Yarmouth? Per Town Manager; “$150O, of which grant funds will reimburse 50%.”
5. A. Why did you obstruct the bike lanes with the project? There are no bike lanes in the village center. Paved shoulders are not bicycle lanes, though bikes commonly ride on the shoulder. When legal bike lanes are not available, bikers should be riding in the same lanes as traffic?
5. B. Why not create true bike lanes? Per DOT, the roads are not wide enough. The goal is to show how a bicycle, pedestrian, or traffic-calming facility could improve safety and comfort without adversely impacting other users.
6. Does anyone really ever walk in the village center? Walkers and runners have responded positively to this experiment. Pedestrians accessing NY Variety, Stones, and the Purple House, along with the new residents at Meadowbrook and Stone Post and the new housing and business units currently under construction in the village center, all deserve the safety provided by traffic calming.
7. Did the test provide enough space for commercial and over-sized vehicles? The test did not create illegally sized traffic lanes. The NY fire chief successfully tested the lanes with a firetruck.
8. What about speed bumps? Speed bumps are permanent, costly structures that may be determined to be part of the final plans, but not in the initial testing. DOT does allow them in areas with speed limits below 35 mph. Speed tables, which are similar to speed bumps but have a longer, smoother profile, may be more appropriate for this context. Speed tables can be combined with crosswalk locations to create raised crosswalks.
9. What was the deal with the planters? The planters were an example of one of the low cost “physical features” (see FAQ #1), which can be used to temporarily narrow a roadway in an attempt to slow traffic down. They did not work well in this situation and were removed before the end of the trial.
10. Why not stop signs and red lights? Multi-way stop control and traffic signals can only be installed if a given intersection meets certain warrants based on traffic counts, crash/safety history, and other related criteria. Installation of unwarranted traffic control devices can produce unintended consequences that may reduce traffic safety and/or hamper operations and are very costly.
11. Why not just put in a permanent solar-powered speed sign reminding people how fast they are going? We did not use this idea in the test process due to cost, but it does not mean it will not be considered in the future.
12. Why not just hire a police officer to monitor and ticket speeders? The idea of the trial was to understand better what might be done to slow vehicle speed with small dollars. The traffic calming experiment was a cost-effective means to get drivers to operate vehicles at the posted 30 MPH speed limit. The data collected in this initial test will help inform the budgetary process if NY decides to incur the cost of employing a police officer.