The Town of Queen Creek has adopted a Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (revised March, 2011). This document describes the policy and procedure for anyone requesting traffic calming devices in their neighborhood.
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) defines traffic calming as the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.1
Traffic calming goals include:
- increasing the quality of life;
- incorporating the preferences and requirements of the people using the area (e.g., working, playing, residing) along the street(s), or at intersection(s);
- creating safe and attractive streets;
- helping to reduce the negative effects of motor vehicles on the environment (e.g., pollution, sprawl); and
- promoting pedestrian, cycle and transit use.1
Traffic calming objectives include:
- achieving slow speeds for motor vehicles,
- reducing collision frequency and severity,
- increasing the safety and the perception of safety for non-motorized users of the street(s),
- reducing the need for police enforcement,
- enhancing the street environment (e.g., street scaping),
- encouraging water infiltration into the ground,
- increasing access for all modes of transportation, and
- reducing cut-through motor vehicle traffic.1
Examples of traffic calming features include: speed humps, speed bumps, speed tables, raised intersections, traffic circles, chicanes, chokers, center island narrowing, raised medians, and permanent closures.
1Lockwood, Ian. ITE Traffic Calming Definition. ITE Journal, July 1997, pg. 22.
National standards, Arizona law and the Town of Queen Creek do not recognize the "Children at play" signs for these reasons: warning signs are designed and intended to advise motorists of an unusual or unexpected physical roadway condition ahead. Signs such as this give the wrong message to both children and parents, fostering a false sense of security. There is no evidence to show that these signs help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents or lower travel speeds.
Federal standards do not support these signs because the signs are suggesting that it is acceptable behavior for children to play in the streets.
Arizona State Law and the driver's license manual limit the motorists' speed to 25 M.P.H. (miles per hour) in business and residential areas. It is the driver's responsibility to adjust speed for conditions, and to act reasonable and prudent when encountering conditions that occur in all residential areas.
The Town of Queen Creek follows the guidelines set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the Arizona State Statutes to set speed limits in our town. The State Statutes allow local authorities to determine speed limits on streets under their jurisdiction based on an "engineering and traffic investigation." The MUTCD provides the criteria used for the engineering study. The MUTCD states that the speed limit should be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic (the speed at which 85% of the vehicles are traveling at or less than). It also allows you to consider road characteristics, roadside development, parking and pedestrian activity, and crash experience. We do most of our studies based on citizen requests, in areas where the roadside environment is changing due to development, or where we have experienced a higher number of accidents than usual.
In accordance with Arizona State Law, the speed limit in a residential or business district is 25 miles per hour (MPH) with or without the presence of a speed limit sign. Although not required, 25 MPH speed limit signs may be posted at entrances to residential or business areas. Multiple postings of 25 MPH speed limit signs on residential streets not only detracts from a neighborhood's curb appeal, but it often fails to achieve the desired result of reducing the speed of motorists.
Many believe that forcing motorists to stop at each intersection will decrease overall speed on the road. However, studies show that stop signs only reduce speed immediately adjacent to the sign. Most drivers accelerate between signs to make up for apparent time lost. Engineering studies indicate that the inappropriate installation of extra stop signs may cause additional problems such as rear-end collisions, a redistribution of traffic onto side streets, and drivers ignoring the inappropriate stop signs. Stop signs are used to assign right-of-way at an intersection, not to control speed. If you believe speeding is an issue in your neighborhood, please direct your concerns to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Queen Creek Substation non-emergency phone number at (602)876-1011.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), published by the Federal Highway Administration is the nationally recognized standard for traffic control adopted by the Town of Queen Creek. When considering a School Speed Zone, the MUTCD requires that an engineering study define appropriate locations (Section 7B.11) and further recommends uniform application by way of policy to achieve reasonably safe and effective traffic control (Section 7A.01). Traffic Engineering has adopted policies consistent with the requirements and guidance of the MUTCD for evaluating School Speed Zones.2
School Speed Zones are only to be installed after a careful traffic engineering study of pedestrian routes, crossing activity, traffic volumes, vehicle speeds, and crash history indicates that the installation is appropriate. School walking routes and crosswalk locations are developed in the traffic study. School Speed Zones are encouraged where all of the following conditions exist:
- There is a school crosswalk with probable schoolchild pedestrian crossing activity that is not protected by a traffic signal or stop sign,
- The adjacent school is elementary level instruction, and
- The posted speed limit is less than 40 mph.2
School areas that do not meet these conditions should not have a school speed zone. For instance, in the following cases a school speed zone is discouraged:
- Street with slow travel speeds,
- Where crosswalks are controlled by a stop sign or traffic signal,
- When the school has no students who walk or ride bicycles to school (lack of pedestrian/bicycle accommodations or school policy prohibits students from walking or biking to school),
- If no children cross the roadway, or
- The posted speed limit is 40 mph or greater.2
Unnecessary school speed zones are often disrespected by drivers, thereby increasing crash frequency from greater speed differentials and creating a false sense of security for pedestrians. Furthermore, unnecessary school speed zones compromise the effectiveness and safety of appropriate school speed zones.2
2City of Lee’s Summit, Public Works Department, Engineering Division. Facts about School Speed Zones. Retrieved from http://cityofls.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=%2FZJXN%2BIGwcs%3D&tabid=465
If a traffic signal is not functioning properly, please contact the Public Works Hotline at (480)358-3131.
After extensive study and analysis, the Federal Highway Administration developed the eight (8) traffic signal warrants contained within the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These eight (8) warrants define minimum conditions under which signal installations may be justified. The warrants take into consideration traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes, school crossings, coordinated signal systems, crash experience, and overall roadway network. The satisfaction of a warrant or warrants is not in itself justification for a signal. Every situation is unique and warrant guidelines must be supplemented by the effects of specific site conditions and the application of good engineering judgment. Installation of a traffic signal should improve the overall safety and/or operation of an intersection and should be considered only when deemed necessary by careful traffic analysis and after less restrictive solutions have been attempted.
All signalized intersections have video detection cameras to detect the presence of a waiting vehicle. It is a common misconception that if you pull up further or back up and drive forward again, this will make the signal change quicker. This movement can actually reset the detection and possibly add wait time. The best place to stop the vehicle is at the painted white stop bar. All detection cameras are aligned with this stop line. If you are experiencing exceptionally long wait times, please call the traffic hotline at (480)358-3132. It is possible the detection cameras are malfunctioning or at certain times of day, the sun’s reflection into the vehicle lens will block the detection of a vehicle.
Red left turn arrows typically can reduce the potential for left turn collisions. However, they also typically increase the potential for rear end collisions. Allowing left turns on the green light for through traffic reduces delay. We use red left turn arrows only at locations where there is a historic safety problem or a situation that presents a greater than reasonable potential for a safety problem.
Most signalized intersections allow left turns on the green light for through traffic when the left turn arrows are first installed. At locations where there was a history of accidents involving left turning vehicles, the signal is modified to have red left turn arrows.
At intersections where there are two left turn lanes in opposite directions, the red left turn arrows are used. Two cars attempting to turn left side-by-side make it difficult for both drivers to see oncoming traffic. The red left turn arrow prevents this situation.