History of the Program
Efforts to alter driver behavior in residential neighborhoods by the city have a long-standing history as indicated by records from the 1970s when selected streets in the Glen Meade/South Oleander neighborhoods were made one-way so as to discourage cut-through traffic. In 1986, consultants recommended the installation of multi-way stops at selected intersections in five neighborhoods (including the Glen Meade/South Oleander area) as an effort to reduce speeds and cut-through traffic. Three years later the devices were evaluated by staff to determine their effectiveness. Data showed that the full compliance rate in Wilmington (15%) at the unwarranted multi-way stops was significantly lower than the national rate (50%) and speeds had increased above pre-installation levels. As a result, city council resolved in 1989 that unwarranted multi-way stops would no longer be installed in the city.
Before the evaluation of the multi-way stops was completed, participants at the Forest Hills neighborhood public meeting requested that the city remove the multi-way stops in Forest Hills and reduce the speed limit on Forest Hills and Colonial drives to 25 miles per hour (mph). Their chief complaint was that drivers were not stopping at the multi-way stop intersections. Traffic speeds continued to exceed the 25 mph posted limit.
Another effort was made to reduce speeds and traffic volumes in the Forest Hills neighborhood by installing three speed humps on a trial basis in the vicinity of Forest Hills school in 1994. Evaluation data taken eleven months after the installations showed that speeds were reduced slightly, but remained higher than the posted speed limit of 25 mph. There were no significant changes in traffic volumes. Public perception was that speed humps were effective, which resulted in an increase in the number of requests for the devices. Between 1994 and 2004 the city installed more than 130 speed humps on neighborhood streets. Following a national trend and input from emergency management entities, the city discontinued the use of these devices due to the adverse effect on emergency vehicle response times and maintenance,
The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) was created in 2004. The program placed greater emphasis on street networks within a defined area so as to provide solutions that benefited the neighborhood as a whole, as opposed to focusing on one particular street. Staff researched other geometric design features, such as chokers, chicanes, and mini-circles as means of traffic calming. A public involvement process was instituted, whereby public meetings are hosted by city staff prior to the development of a plan and after the completion of a draft plan. Both interim and long-range traffic calming solutions were defined based on data and staff observations, as well as resident involvement. Since its inception staff has conducted studies in 18 areas and held 36 meetings with over 1,600 participants.
Neighborhood Traffic Management Program Objectives
- Create safe and attractive streets
- Minimize cut-through traffic
- Reduce crash frequency & severity
- Increase safety for non-motorized street users
- Reduce the need for police enforcement
- Promote pedestrian, cycle and transit use
- Incorporate the preferences of residents
- Increase quality of life for residents
- Help in reducing the negative effects of motor vehicles on the environment
Interim and Long-range Solutions
Interim solutions are designed to be implemented by city staff within a twelve-month period. Long-range solutions are much more complex and costly. These solutions usually require engineering design, city capital improvement program funding, and construction by a contractor.
Typical Interim Solutions
- White edgeline pavement markings
- Double yellow centerline pavement markings
- Marked crosswalks near pedestrian facilities and schools
- Regulatory signs within neighborhood study areas
- Street trees in some neighborhoods
- Reduction of speed limit to twenty-five miles per hour on local streets
- Bicycle improvements
Typical Long-Range Solutions
- Choker islands (Center choker or Bulb-outs)
- Roundabouts (mini-roundabouts and full-roundabouts)
- Intersection realignment
- Sidewalk installation
Map of Study Areas
Click on map to expand.