Bangor eyes traffic calming measures

Posted July 23, 2008, at 12 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 27, 2011, at 11:49 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine -&nbspContinuing increases in the volume and speed of traffic on Bangor’ s residential streets has prompted city councilors to seek some consistency in the way those increases are managed.

On Tuesday, members of a council committee embarked on a review of a proposed traffic calming policy that aims to address those problems.

The policy would govern the installation of traffic islands, raised crosswalks and other mechanisms for getting motorists to slow down or use alternate routes.

The policy was introduced to members of the council’ s transportation and infrastructure committee during a meeting Tuesday. After undergoing a first reading during the council’ s July 28 meeting, the policy will return to the committee for some fine tuning before it heads back to the full council for a decision.

Though none of the councilors at the meeting referred to it specifically, such a policy could have helped the city sidestep the controversy over recent traffic calming measures on Howard Street.

A ban on left turns from State Street to Howard Street proved so unpopular that a group of residents this month gathered the more than 2,000 signatures of registered Bangor voters needed to get a referendum question aimed at repealing it on the city’ s November ballot.

If adopted, the traffic calming policy would require neighborhood involvement in the decision-making process, primarily through public hearings and questionnaires.

The councilors’ desire for a policy that would address traffic management on Bangor’ s residential streets was among the issues they said they wanted to address during their annual planning session in January, according to City Manager Edward Barrett.

According to a background memorandum Barrett prepared for councilors, the policy aims to improve the quality of life in residential neighborhoods that are affected adversely by high volumes of through traffic.

Still in its draft form, the policy also would allow for additional consideration in situations where sidewalks aren’ t available or where schoolchildren might be present, including school walking routes.

In order for a street, or a section of a street, to be considered for traffic calming measures, it would have to meet the following conditions:

” The speed limit is 25 mph.

The street must not be a designated state or federal highway.

It may not be more than two lanes wide.

At least 75 percent of its total street frontage must be residential and there must be at least 12 dwellings for each 1,000 feet of frontage, counting both sides.

Residents of the street must request that action be taken.

If those conditions were met, the city would perform a preliminary traffic study. If the study suggests traffic calming measures are warranted, projects then would have to meet the following additional conditions:

At least 85 percent of vehicles traveling that street would have to be recorded on radar going at least 7 mph above the posted speed limit.

The average daily traffic count would have to exceed 1,000 vehicles, with at least 30 percent of that being cut-through traffic.

There would have to have been at least three accidents on the street or section of street during the previous year.

Any projects that arose from the policy then would have to be funded, or put on a city to-do list.

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