Neighborhood Traffic Management
One of the City Council goals for Fiscal Year 1992 called for “the improvement of urban development and neighborhood preservation with transportation solutions, placing more emphasis on multimodal and demand management strategies". The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) helps meet that goal. The program was developed jointly by the Public Works Department’s Traffic Engineering Division and the Office of Neighborhood Coordination.
Through the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program, residents evaluate the various requirements, benefits and tradeoffs of projects within their own neighborhoods and become actively involved in the decision-making process.
The overall objectives for the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program are derived from existing City policy. They are:
- To improve neighborhood livability by mitigating the impact of vehicular traffic on residential neighborhoods;
- To promote safe and pleasant conditions for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and residents on neighborhood streets;
- To encourage citizen involvement and effort in neighborhood traffic management activities;
- To make efficient use of City resources by prioritizing traffic management requests; and
- To support the Comprehensive Plan policy that livability and safety of established residential neighborhoods be protected in transportation operations.
The following policies are established as part of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program:
- Through traffic should be routed to collectors and arterials as designated in the Long Range Roadway System Map for the Albuquerque Urban Area.
- The impact area for a project is defined as those residences along local residential streets which are negatively impacted by excessive through traffic volumes and speeding. Inconvenience caused by limitation of access is not considered to be a negative impact under this definition. The impact area for each project will be determined by the City Traffic Engineering Operations staff.
- Traffic may be rerouted from one local street to another as a result of an NTMP project. The amount of rerouted traffic that is acceptable will be defined on a project-by-project basis.
- Reasonable emergency vehicle access will be preserved.
- Reasonable automobile access will be maintained. NTMP projects will encourage and enhance pedestrian, bicycle and transit access to neighborhood destinations.
- Except for Speed Control Projects on low volume Collector Streets, application of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program shall be limited to local streets as designated in the Long Range Roadway System Map Plan. In cases where minor modifications to the traffic control on a collector or arterial street will (a) improve conditions on local streets and (b) not negatively affect traffic flow on the collector or arterial street, such steps may be considered as part of an NTMP project.
- Through the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program the City may employ traffic control devices (signs, signals, and markings) and/or traffic management devices (curbs, medians, diverters, speed humps, etc.) to achieve the above objectives. The City Traffic Engineer directs the installation of all traffic control devices in compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the Traffic Code. Traffic management devices are planned and designed in keeping with sound engineering and planning practices; and
- In order to implement this program, certain procedures are followed by Traffic Engineering Operations in processing traffic management requests. They are processed in accordance with applicable codes and related policies and within the limits of available resources. The procedures include provision for the submission of proposals, citizen participation, evaluation of the proposal and communication of test results and specific findings to applicants and affected neighborhood organizations prior to the installation of traffic management devices.
The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) includes three types of projects:
1. Local Street Improvement Projects respond to speeding and/or through traffic on one local street in a neighborhood.
We have found that we have a speeding problem on virtually every street. For this reason, we must work first with those streets with the biggest problems. To qualify for speed humps we must find that a local residential street carries more than 500 vehicles per day going more than 5 mph over the speed limit.
We only consider local streets with more than half of the land along the street segment being residential with more than half the residences having either side lots or frontage open to the street.
When doing speed enforcement in neighborhoods, the Police Department finds that most of the speeders live in the neighborhood. By far the best way to reduce the speeding in your neighborhood is for you, your spouse, your kids and your neighbors to drive the speed limit.
Speed humps are designed to allow vehicles to travel at or near the speed limit. They are spaced closely enough that drivers do not speed between them but not so close that they are irritating to residents of the street. Speed humps slow most traffic, but should not be expected to stop all speeding.
People do not all drive at the same speed: some will always drive faster and some slower. Traffic speed varies on every stretch of roadway. This is true with speed humps, also. Some will drive faster over speed humps than others. Some reasons for this are personal preference, comfort level and vehicle characteristics.
Studies have found that, on average, a single family residential property generates ten vehicle trips a day. Large areas of single family housing can generate a large amount of traffic in and out of a neighborhood. We consider a local residential street to have a cut-through problem if it carries more than 1500 vehicles per day with more than 30% cutting through from one major street to another.
A recent study has found that there are no more pedestrians crossing the street near parks and some other “pedestrian-generators” than cross in an area where there are only homes. For this reason, for speed-hump-only projects, we do not give higher priority to streets with “pedestrian-generating” facilities.
Traffic Engineering provides for school zone safety outside the guidelines of the NTMP through signs and markings and, as needed, flashing beacons or speed humps.
2. Neighborhood Area Studies
These are intended to respond to through traffic, speeding and problem intersections on more than one local street in a neighborhood. Neighborhood Area Studies generally require longer to complete than Local Street Improvement Projects because the study area is larger and the traffic concerns more complex. Neighborhood Area Studies also require more research and analysis and greater involvement by the neighborhood.
3. Collector Speed Control Projects respond to speeding problems on low-volume collector streets.
Collector streets are part of the major street system. They are designated to “collect” traffic from neighborhood streets and get that traffic to arterial streets. They are part of the major street system that provides critical and necessary services to businesses and residents throughout the city. This includes emergency services (fire, ambulance, police) and residential services (school buses, refuse removal, etc.). On high volume collectors, measures such as speed humps are not appropriate as they would divert trips from these roadways and slow the delivery time of critical services.
The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Comprehensive Plan establishes the policies for the City’s local streets and calls for protecting residential neighborhoods from the negative impacts of traffic. The City of Albuquerque is committed to the safety and livability of its neighborhoods. Through the NTMP the City can identify, prioritize and deal with the issues of too much traffic and speeding on local residential streets.
We will continue to see more traffic on City streets as Albuquerque grows in population and employment. The Comprehensive Plan calls for protecting neighborhoods from the negative impacts of this increased traffic. The Comprehensive Plan’s Land Use Policy for Established and Developing Urban Areas states that “livability and safety of established residential neighborhoods should be protected in transportation, planning and operations”.