County adopts new traffic calming policy

District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery discusses the new policy on traffic calming during their meeting on Monday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a new traffic calming policy, which was presented to the board during its meeting on Monday.

Traffic calming is said to reduce speeds on certain types of roads and streets. According to the policy, counties nationwide have used traffic calming devices and experience demonstrates the devices reduce travel speeds and do not affect the safe operation of motor vehicles.

County Road Manager Fred Baggett said with permission from Madison County, he wanted to adopt its policy on traffic calming implementation.

"They've been studying speed bumps for the last 10 years and they have a good policy in place," Baggett said.

Calming devices implemented should be in accordance with the transportation engineering criteria stated in the policy.

"They are not going to be on open roads," Baggett said. "They will primarily be in communities."

Baggett said this would help alleviate areas of concern. He said in one particular area close to the university, there is a large number of students traveling through the area at high speeds.

"The regular speed they go through these communities is unbelievable," Baggett said. "Something has to be done."

For a road to be eligible for devices to be installed, the road must be classified as public on the county's official road registry. The road must have minimal truck and transit traffic and have a volume of 2,000 vehicles per day or less. The roads must also be paved and have a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

Traffic calming devices will not be installed on streets and roads classified as arterials, collectors or have more than two travel lanes or 40 feet in width. Traffic calming devices will also not be used on streets or roads designated as primary routes for fire and other emergency service vehicles.

The county engineer has the ability to determine if devices can't be installed due to horizontal or vertical curves, inadequate sight distance or excessive longitudinal grades.

This policy does not apply to state aid roads.

According to the policy, for traffic calming devices to be considered, 51 percent of the property owners, residents of non-owner-occupied properties along the roadway or those using the roadway for ingress and egress to their property, must submit a petition to request a study to evaluate the feasibility of the devices.

"If you're not using the streets where the speed bumps are (or being placed), based on this policy, it doesn't concern you," Baggett said.

The petition may be given to the Oktibbeha County Chancery Clerk's office or County Administrator's office. A letter of support from the Homeowners Association, if applicable, is required with the petition.

After a petition is submitted, a traffic study will be performed by the county engineer to determine if the roadway meets the guidelines for a residential area. If the device is warranted, the engineer will meet with those who submitted the request. Once the devices are agreed upon, the county engineer will mark the location of the devices to be reviewed by the homeowners.

When the location is marked, a final petition of 75 percent of the property owners and residents must be submitted to the board.

The board will then make the final decision if the speed bump will be installed.

The particular speed bumps the county will use will cost approximately $113 each.

To remove speed bumps, the devices must be in place for a minimum of two years and 75 percent of there effected property owners must submit a petition to the board, or a safety or engineering issue is affecting the traffic on the roadway.

If the devices are petitioned to be removed, Baggett said the removal process will not damage the road.

"(The speed bumps) are bolted in and if you decide to take them out, you can take the bolt out and drive them into the ground," Baggett said.

President of the Oktibeha County Board of Supervisors and District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said he thinks this a worthwhile policy with the ability to benefit citizens in the county and will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.