Pace Car Image

Neighborhood Speeding

Speeding in residential areas is a problem many neighborhoods experience not just in the City of Columbus but across the nation.  Please see the resources below to learn about how to combat speeding in your neighborhood.

 I:  Slow Streets Columbus Program

Learn more here about the slow streets initiative here

II.  Enforcement

Of the different tools in the fight against speeding in residential areas, increased enforcement can play a major role in helping to remind neighborhood drivers to slow down and observe the posted speed limit.  More often than not, it’s our neighbors - and even ourselves - who are the root cause of neighborhood speeding.

To request additional enforcement, contact the 311 service center at (614) 645-3111 or [email protected].  If making the service request online, select the “speeding in residential area” option.

Note:  As of January 1, 2019 the Department of Public service will no longer be deploying Speed Trailers as they have been found to be ineffective in working to proactively reduce speeding.

III.  Traffic Calming

Residents request traffic calming in many ways – speeding complaints, asking for speed trailers, or requesting physical measures to be installed. It’s understandable why speeding concerns cause frustration or fear – speeding vehicles affect our feeling of safety, and are a major concern for pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Often, residents are intent on only one or two solutions – speed humps or stop signs. Although speed humps and other physical traffic calming options may help slow drivers, they aren’t always an appropriate solution. Speed humps and stop signs can bring some unanticipated consequences; drivers may speed between signs or humps to make up for perceived lost time, emergency vehicle response times may increase, and snow removal may take longer. 

The City does install traffic calming in certain circumstances. Locations are selected by reviewing the following criteria:

  • Traffic volumes
  • Posted speed and measured travel speed
  • Roadway character and residential density
  • Connectivity and length of street
  • Crash history
  • Roadway geometry
  • Pedestrian generators and accommodations (e.g. presence of sidewalks)

Traffic calming is not appropriate for all areas – areas with very high or extremely low traffic volumes and lower average speeds, for example, would be candidates for increased police patrol/enforcement. Streets with high vehicle volumes, bus routes, or heavily used emergency vehicle routes, should be considered carefully for vertical traffic calming (e.g. speed humps or speed tables). 

Even if a location is confirmed to have a speeding issue, several steps may be taken before determining whether a traffic calming installation is appropriate. Traffic calming funding is competitive and based on measured criteria. 

What you can do:

 

  • Neighborhood participation in the Pace Car Program
  • Park on the street: on-street parking, where legal, can reduce vehicular speeds in residential settings
  • Plant street trees: trees, when placed appropriately, can be a visual cue to slow down
  • Request enforcement: file a “speed enforcement in a residential area” request via 311
  • Request for a location to be evaluated for traffic calming options: city staff will collect speed, volume, crash data, and evaluate other criteria to determine whether traffic calming is appropriate

 

When considering traffic calming requests, City Staff may also assess the potential for alternative speed control and neighborhood safety measures, such as:

  • Neighborhood engagement and driver education
  • Safe Routes to School (SRTS) evaluation or walk audit
  • Mailers/brochures
  • Enhanced enforcement, coordinated by the Department of Public Service and Columbus Division of Police
  • Signage and pavement striping
  • Assessment of one-way to two-way conversion potential
  • Addition of on-street parking, where feasible
  • Evaluation of sidewalk gaps

 

IV.  Pace Car

It is the responsibility of every motorist to follow all traffic laws, including speed limits, in order to make our city streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and fellow motorists. To promote safer streets, the Pace Car Program is a resident-based traffic calming initiative coordinated by the Division of Traffic Management, Department of Public Service. The goal of the Pace Car Program, which has been modeled after similar programs in other U.S. cities, is to make our streets safer by encouraging residents to promote motorist responsibility as well as roadway safety through both an education and awareness campaign. 

“On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes in 2015.”  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Take Action in Your Neighborhood

  • Set a safe pace — drive the speed limit in your neighborhood. Vehicles behind you will have to drive the speed limit, too.
  • Join the Pace Car Program and encourage neighbors to join, too, to become a Pace Car Neighborhood. Learn more at www.columbus.gov/PaceCar/
  • Request additional enforcement by the Columbus Division of Police through the 311 Columbus Service Center at (614) 645-3111 or [email protected].
  • File accident reports, even when minor, with Columbus police. The City uses crash data to help identify and prioritize speeding problem areas that may warrant traffic calming measures.
  • Talk to your neighbors – good people speed out of habit, haste, or inattention. Sometimes a reminder goes a long way.
  • Allow extra drive time to reduce an inclination to speed.
  • Avoid distracted driving — phone calls, texts, and food can wait!
  • Teach children to be aware of vehicles and use caution when crossing the street. Don’t allow them to play in the street or dart after toys
  • Get active! If possible, walk and bike in your neighborhood – streets are shared spaces.

Tips for Pedestrians and Cyclists

Mobility is important to everyone, whether it’s from the car to your house, to a specific destination or for recreation and exercise. Walking or using a mobility device is integral to how we live, work, and play. When motorists speed, pedestrians and neighborhood quality of life are negatively affected. Slower speeds promote safety and:

 

  • Allow drivers to react to unpredictable circumstances such as young children darting into the street
  • Lead to a greater sense of safety, trust and support among neighbors
  • Increase the likelihood that residents will feel safe using neighborhood sidewalks

Tips for Drivers 

  • Always stop for pedestrians. They are permitted to cross at intersections even when there are no pavement markings, unless posted signs prohibit it.
  • Stay focused and slow down, especially in school zones and neighborhoods with children present.
  • Never exceed the speed limit when passing vehicles. Never pass vehicles that are turning or stopped at intersections.
  • Prevent feeling rushed by allowing enough travel time.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.