One of the major concerns brought up by opponents to the recent Cone Boulevard rezoning was cut-through traffic.
The opponents noted that with the development generating an estimated 4,000 vehicle trips a day, a certain percentage was going to cut through the neighborhoods, creating more traffic on otherwise quiet residential streets.
There are ways to keep traffic on the main thoroughfares and off residential streets other than restricting development. The most notorious are speed bumps and their first cousin, speed humps, which are lower, wider versions of speed bumps. Greensboro did install speed humps on Cotswald Terrace, but they are a rarity in town.
Director of the Greensboro Department of Transportation (GDOT) Hanna Cockburn said the city was looking at a pilot program to evaluate different kinds of neighborhood speed control devices.
Cockburn said that because of the coronavirus, many more people are working from home and that has resulted in people viewing the traffic in their neighborhoods in a whole different light.
She said that one result was a “growing interest” by the public in neighborhood speed control devices.
Speed bumps are what most people talk about, but Cockburn said that there was a wide range of speed control devices now available and that “a lot of companies are creating temporary installations of these devices.”
There are a number of speed control devices that are not as intrusive as speed bumps or humps. One is to narrow the street at the intersections. This has been done in downtown Greensboro where the sidewalks at intersections extend a few feet out beyond the curb line.
Another is to turn residential intersections into mini traffic circles by placing a raised circular island in the middle of the intersection. This should not require any street widening but prevents vehicles from going straight through the intersection. The cost of installation is between $6,000 and $15,000.
In regard to the various neighborhood speed control devices, Cockburn said, “We’re open to having a conversation about it.”
One stumbling block toward moving forward is funding. Cockburn noted that most of the work done by GDOT is funded with state and federal grants that the city has to match, and she said that GDOT hasn’t found a good source of funding for speed control devices.