Corridor Traffic Calming

Albemarle, Virginia
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


Speeding by cut-through traffic was increasing vehicle-pedestrian conflicts for residents of the Forest Lakes community.


The Forest Lakes community in Albemarle, Virginia, took the initiative to solve speeding and cut-through traffic problems on a major street that runs through theirs and an adjacent neighborhood. The county conducted a survey to determine the extent of the speeding problem and subsequently agreed to consider recommendations. The community elected several residents to represent them on a committee that also included representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the police department, the fire department, and the school board.


Through a process of sharing and negotiation, residents could express their concerns and desires, and officials shared their abilities and limitations. Originally residents asked for street signs announcing a $200 fine for speeding. The police, however, felt that this would be ineffective, as they don't have the resources to consistently patrol the area. The group agreed upon several measures, including speed bumps, white road edge markings, and pavement markings reading "Slow Down" and "Speed Limit 25." Reflective green fluorescent pedestrian signs were also installed. As speeding school buses were observed to be a part of the problem, the local school board also agreed to enforce the speed limit among school bus drivers. According to the Virginia DOT guidelines, it must be shown that at least 75 percent of the community is in favor of proposed improvements before beginning, so the group also conducted a door to door survey of about 200 of the 1000 homes in the community and found near unanimous approval.


Community initiative clearly triumphed in this case. One DOT representative even stated, "We never would have tackled that battle if they hadn't come to us first." Though no formal evaluation of the changes has been done, residents were pleased with the changes, and county officials feel a viable alternative was worked out through the negotiation process. The community continues to be active in initiating pedestrian safety initiatives. In 2012, the Forest Lakes community worked with the Virginia DOT to install new sidewalks, a crosswalk, caution signs, and school zone signs in the same area. The community homeowners' association funded and contracted the construction of the 200 foot sidewalk, while the Virginia DOT funded and installed the crosswalk and signs.


David Benish


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