Speed Management Program
The Frederick Speed Management Program (FSMP) has been developed by the Town with the intent of reducing the negative effects of speeding traffic on neighborhood streets. The resident-initiated speed awareness program is aimed at addressing the issue by applying a combined approach of engaging the community, education, enforcement, and engineering traffic mitigation improvements. The FSMP helps to achieve the Town of Frederick’s Transportation Master Plan which prioritizes continuous improvements in safety and comfort for all modes of travel.
Speed Management Goals and Objectives
The intent of speed management and traffic calming is to influence motorist behavior and prevent undesirable driving practices. This can be achieved through a combination of physical and non-physical measures that reduce vehicle speeds, reduce traffic volumes, and discourage cut-through traffic.
The FSMP is used to address traffic issues on residential local streets or minor collector streets. This policy will guide residents and Town staff in an effort to address neighborhood traffic safety, preserve neighborhood character and livability, and educate and encourage residents through neighborhood involvement. The goals and objectives of this policy are:
- Increase neighborhood traffic safety and encourage appropriate driver behavior and improve compliance with posted speed limits, stop signs, and other traffic control devices. Excessive traffic speeds within the Town’s neighborhoods greatly reduce the safety and security of those neighborhoods.
- Improve the quality of life and neighborhood livability while promoting safe and pleasant conditions for residents, motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians by mitigating the impact of vehicular traffic on local and minor collector streets in Frederick and improving the town’s transportation system for everyone.
- Educate citizens about traffic safety and problems occurring in neighborhoods and increase neighborhood involvement. Residents in the area must support the ultimate outcome. Through the process outlined in this policy, residents are strongly encouraged to participate in the assessment of the benefits and trade-offs of implementing projects within their own neighborhoods.
Components of the Frederick Speed Management Program
It is vital that residents become a partner in reducing neighborhood speeding by leading, not speeding. The Frederick Speed Management Program is a resident-initiated process with citizens registering with the town to enter the program.
Provide information to drivers about their travel speeds and safety issues associated with speeding to heighten their awareness of enforcement countermeasures that are designed to curtail speeding.
Actions are taken by appropriately empowered authorities to check that drivers of motor vehicles are complying with the legal posted speed limit. Various countermeasures are used by law enforcement to deter motorists from speeding.
Establish speed limits that are appropriate to the primary purpose of the road providing a balance between mobility and safety for all roadway users. Design roads that produce desired speeds. Introduce physical countermeasures to create a self-regulating roadway that induces drivers to travel at the desired speed.
Improving transportation safety is a primary objective for the Town of Frederick. The 2020 Transportation Master Plan established the town's commitment to safety for people using all travel modes. The purpose of the FSMP is to address speeding traffic on residential streets to improve the quality of life in Frederick’s neighborhoods by slowing speeding traffic. The program is one method by which the town is actively working to implement the recommendations of the Master Plan and achieve its safety objectives.
Common Misconceptions About Speeding
Reducing the speed limit will slow down traffic or raising the speed limit will speed up traffic.
Reasonably set speed limits increase voluntary compliance by drivers. Speed limits set too low forces drivers into unlawful behavior. Speed limits set too high create disparity in speeds among vehicles on the road, which can lead to crashes.
Stop signs will slow down traffic.
Stop signs may slow traffic near the stop sign. However, speeds between stop signs increase up to five miles per hour as drivers try to “make up time” from having to stop so frequently. There is also an increase in noise in the area near stop signs.
Engineering or traffic calming (actual diversions or obstructions in the roadway) and enforcement are the only ways to reduce neighborhood speeding.
While the Town will evaluate the installation of traffic calming devices on neighborhood streets, education is considered to be the first effort to be undertaken. In many cases, drivers become “comfortable” with a particular roadway or become distracted and forget to check their speed.
Residents wishing to record an official neighborhood speeding complaint can register the location with the Town. All registrants will receive educational material, increased police enforcement, and use of speed radar trailers (subject to availability).
Those requesting engineering treatments, such as speed humps and traffic calming to address speeding concerns must also include a Neighborhood Petition Form with signatures from 20-neighbors, 1 adult per household, or 30% of households on the same block adjacent to the area of complaint, whichever is less. Residential local and minor collector streets are eligible for Program participation. If traffic calming is requested at an intersection, the block on each side of the intersection would be required. Town Engineering staff can assist in determining the area required for the petition. To determine if your street is eligible, please visit the FSMP webpage. Town staff accepts FSMP applications year-round and evaluates them on an annual basis.
A block is a segment of roadway between intersections, the residents located directly adjacent to the same segment of the roadway would be considered households on the same block.
Successful completion of the Petition Process will trigger Town of Frederick Engineering to analyze and evaluate transportation conditions at the identified location. Completion of the Petition Process does not guarantee the installation of traffic calming measures.
Speed Management Toolbox
Temporary or Simple Project Speed Management
Temporary or basic speed management services include the installation of traffic speed radar trailers, neighborhood signs, increased traffic enforcement by the Frederick Police Department, or the installation of additional street signage or roadway striping if found warranted. The application of temporary and permanent devices is subject to federal, state, and local policies and guidelines.
Permanent or Comprehensive Project Speed Management
If an adverse traffic condition cannot be addressed through temporary speed management services and the thresholds are met, a permanent or comprehensive speed management analysis can be initiated. The implementation of permanent speed management projects is limited to residential, two-lane local, or minor collector streets, with a maximum posted speed limit of 25-mph.
Evaluation of Eligible Comprehensive Engineering Projects
Eligible Comprehensive speed management projects will be evaluated for implementation based upon the severity of the traffic conditions by taking into account the following cumulative traffic impacts: speeding, volume, crash history, proximity to pedestrian generators (i.e. schools, parks, community centers), and unique roadway conditions.
- Speed is given the most important since high speed usually affects safety and livability the most. It is also the condition that can be improved the most using traffic calming measures.
- Traffic volume is also considered because it contributes to the general traffic conditions on the street.
- Auto accident history gives an indication of existing safety problems with the street. A high level of auto accidents can be an indicator of limitations of the street design that may be difficult to quantify. In addition, reducing traffic speed and volumes has been shown to reduce auto accidents on residential streets.
- Existing traffic control signing and pavement markings to evaluate the roadway traffic operation, level of service, or deficiencies in these items.
- Roadway geometry is an important factor in traffic safety in neighborhoods. Roadway geometry features can restrict visibility, creating hazards for motorists and pedestrians. The investigation or implementation of “No Parking” signage in these areas can reduce visibility conflicts and increase safety.
- Other criteria such as the presence of sidewalks and pedestrian generators, bus routes, area population, and drainage information.
Threshold Criteria for Comprehensive Projects found through Engineering Evaluation
- Functional classification = local street or minor collector street
- The posted speed limit of 25-mph
- Traffic volume less than 2,500 Average Daily Trips (ADT)
- 85th percentile speed of 5-mph over the posted speed limit
Locations that do not meet the threshold criteria may be eligible for speed management measures if the Engineering Department determines that a unique or unusual condition exists which results in negative traffic impacts caused by a high crash rate, vehicles traveling at excessive speeds, significant pedestrian activity, or proximity to major traffic corridors or traffic generators that contribute to extraordinary changes to normal traffic conditions.
If traffic data collection did not determine that there was a speeding issue, the traffic data and reasoning for no further action is sent to the original applicants. Applications for the same area will not be accepted for two years.
Funding of Comprehensive Engineering Projects
Funding for projects that are eligible for comprehensive traffic calming must be appropriated by the Town Board of Trustees and is subject to available funding. If a project is not selected in a given funding cycle, it will remain on the project list for consideration in the next funding cycle. As resources permit, projects may be reassessed to ensure that the priority ranking reflects any significant changes in land use, speed, volume, crash history, pedestrian activity, or other conditions that may have occurred on any given roadway(s).