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Traffic Calming

What is traffic calming?

The term "Traffic Calming" is used to describe methods of altering the behavior of traffic to suit the character of the area it moves through.  The most apt example of this character occurs where a local street is used by motorists as a short cut from one arterial to another. Because cut-through traffic often moves faster than neighborhood traffic and there is a lot more of it, this use can severely degrade the character of the street.  Increased volume and increased speed can lead to a more dangerous, less pleasant street and discourages its use by bicyclists, pedestrians and children.

As concern over safety and the desire for improved pedestrian and bicycle safety increases, communities across the country are looking at installing traffic calming measures to improve safety and reduce vehicle speed.

Here in City of Lakeland, the need for traffic calming was brought about by the increased requests by neighborhood groups to "do something" about the quantity of traffic using their neighborhoods as cut-through thoroughfares. 


Other Benefits

The overriding purpose of traffic calming devices is to discourage non-local traffic from cutting through neighborhoods.  There are several other benefits to the process as well.  Because many traffic calming strategies reduce vehicle speeds for all the traffic on the street, safety on that street is increased.  Because many traffic calming strategies use landscaping and pavement treatments, these may serve to enhance the aesthetic look of the neighborhood.


Need for Traffic Calming

The need for traffic calming stems from an increase in complaints about traffic on neighborhood streets.  Increased traffic through neighborhoods threatens the integrity and character of the neighborhood and puts non-motorized users at risk. Limited resources of the City prevent comprehensive enforcement of speeds, volume, and safety.

The increase in traffic through neighborhoods is likely caused by one or more of the following:

  • new development in neighborhood creating increased traffic
  • cut-through traffic avoiding congestion on arterial streets
  • re-routed neighborhood traffic due to obstacles at other outlets 

Street Classification

The street network is constructed in a hierarchical manner to provide efficient and effective routes from one’s origin to destination.  Arterial streets form the backbone of the street network.  These high-capacity roadways serve as direct links between different areas of the City.  Local collectors feed into these arterial roads allowing motorists quick and easy access to the major roadways while at the same time allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to move about their neighborhood and to move from one to another.  The majority of streets in the City are local neighborhood streets.  These streets provide residents access to their houses.

traffic calming circle


Traffic Calming Policy

The City of Lakeland's policy for Traffic Calming was initially established August 30, 1999  and has undergone various revisions.

The following guidelines shall be used in establishing priorities for traffic calming projects:

  • Speed Limit: the posted speed limit may not exceed 30 miles per hour.
  • Lanes of Traffic: generally limited to roadways consisting of one (1) travel lane in each direction.
  • Emergency Routes: project street must not be a primary route for fire and rescue equipment.
  • Traffic Volumes: shall not exceed three thousand (3,000) vehicles on an average day. Traffic calming is generally not recommended along roadways carrying fewer than 300 vehicles per day.
  • Traffic Speed Differential:  These elements of the traffic calming study along with other qualitative considerations.

Please contact us for further information.

Removal of Traffic Calming

Traffic Calming may be removed to remedy a hazardous situation.  Alternatively, after the third anniversary of the installation of traffic calming devices, property owners may request removal of these devices.  Contact Traffic Operations staff should you wish to pursue this action.