Creek Crossing Traffic Calming Project 2014

Overview

Creek Crossing Road is an arterial route through greater NE Vienna, heavily travelled during rush hours. It is mostly wide, and tends to invite speeding. Many complaints have been voiced by residents along this street about this situation.

Until now the traffic calming process has been stuck at the "conceptual plan" stage. In the last year, Vienna resident Micha Joffee has taken the initiative of working with the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) to get the relief from speeding that many seem to want, by taking this project to the next stage,

Traffic calming measures are not approached in an ad hoc way. They follow a formal protocol, and there are many steps involved in the process. Click HERE to see the entire procedure, of which the first 5 steps have been completed.

The County agrees that Creek Crossing is a problem, and that the most appropriate solution is installation of speed humps, described below. We are now at a point where the issue is before us living here.

Some people think that having police and radar is more effective. Yes it is. But Creek Crossing is no more important than anywhere else, and the police could only be there for a few days each year. The humps, by contrast, work year around.

Some traffic calming opponents claim that humps will divert traffic to side streets. This is unlikely. Slowing from 39 MPH to 29 MPH only adds 19 seconds to the 0.58 mile trip down Creek Crossing. No side street "diversion" could reasonably compete with that. See DETAILED ANALYSIS.


What is a Speed Hump?

A speed hump is a section of raised road which discourages speeding by imparting an uncomfortable impact to vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit.

The specific dimensions and contours of a speed hump depends upon the speed limit. For a road posted at 25 miles per hour, the hump rises and falls 3 inches over a distance of 12 feet. Speed humps are often combined into pedestrian crossings, as shown in photo at left.

Click on the photo on left to see the FCDOT description.

It's a Speed Hump, Not a Speed Bump

Dont confuse the two. Speed Bumps (at right) are commonly used in parking lots and alleys to slow traffic to human walking speed. Any faster, and it is very uncomfortable, and potentially damaging to your vehicle.

The proposed Speed Humps on Creek Crossing can be comfortably and safely crossed by almost all cars at 25 MPH. They are designed to keep traffic moving smoothly at the posted limit.


Are Speed Humps Effective?

Yes. Based on reliable statistical modeling, the 85th percentile speed, presently measured at 39.0 MPH, will be reduced to 31.4 MPH.


Where are the Humps to be Located?

Click HERE to see the map showing proposed locations.

Who Gets to Decide?

Fairfax County Department of Transportation selects the citizens who are most impacted by the decision. In this case, 299 homes have been chosen as the panel of eligible voters.

If you are a renter, you can vote. One vote per household.

Click HERE to see if you are on the panel.
Click HERE to see the ballot.


Speeding on Creek Crossing Drive is a perennial topic.
Speed signs, both offical and home-grown,
do not seem to be enough.

Will this be the time to do something
more about it?

Update 9/22/14: The following letter has been distributed to all homes that make up the eligible Speed Hump voters.

Update 10/07/14: Voting residents attended a meeting at the Westbriar Elementary School.

Update 10/15/14: Voting residents received ballots in the mail.

Update 11/7/14: Last day for mailing in ballot.

Update 11/12/14: Majority voted for traffic calming, but 60% was not met. The traffic calming initiative not successful.


From the Mailbag

Opponents of speed humps have weighed in with some arguments against the program. Ms. Regina Risseeuw of Country Club Drive
has enumerated ten points she found on the website of a company that manufacturers a competing device. Called the Radarsign, it
is an unattended radar that tells you your speed as you go by. While this is great for checking your speedometer, it offers no penalties
for speeding, so it seems unlikely to deter aggressive drivers from their habit.

Objections submitted by Ms. Risseeuw Replies by Traffic Calming Chairman, Micha Joffee
1 Speed humps interfere with emergency vehicles response times. Each speed hump costs fire trucks ten seconds in response time, 3 humps is 30 seconds. According to Traffic Calming: The State of the Practice Chapter 7, a delay, when measured, is almost always under 10 seconds. The largest delay recorded was 13.5 seconds for a ladder truck in Berkely, CA. However in Montgomery County, MD ladder trucks were slowed only 2.8 seconds per 12 foot hump. The vast majority of reported delays were in the 2-5 second range. Any delay of this magnitude, on a worst case scenario of traveling over 3 humps, is very unlikely to have a meaningful impact. Guy Mullinax of Fairfax County stated that speed humps in general have the endorsement of Emergency Response teams in our area.
2 Reduced property value. Prospective homebuyers may reject home sites near speed humps. I have looked hard for an objective study showing speed humps lower property values and cannot find one. However a very balanced study published in ITE Journal showed that speed humps have no impact on property values. This seems to be a buyer preference issue.
3 Increased noise levels. Speed humps usher in a constant barrage of scraping cars and engines revving over the humps. This is not true. Constant barrage? Traffic over the hump is only going to be loud if people are driving too fast to begin with, then aggressively speed up again after the hump. I have listened to and taken video of cars travelling over humps on Old Courthouse Rd, and traffic driving at standard speeds on Creek Crossing. My ear cannot detect a difference. I think because you hear a thump while in your car, people assume that the same thump is heard outside the car, too. This just is not the case.
4 Increased wear and tear on residential and commercial vehicles. Speed humps are a source of excessive wear on tires, brakes, suspension systems, and shock absorbers This may be true if you drive over them too fast and drive very aggressively. I have been a car owner for 25 years and have never needed servicing because I drove over a speed hump. This sounds very far-fetched to me.
5 Increased air pollution. On roads with speed humps, carbon monoxide emissions increase by 82 percent, carbon dioxide emissions double and nitrogen oxide increases by 37 percent.

I'm curious to see a citation from a primary source on this. In fact one report shows that slower driving on the road with speed humps improves air quality. See US National Research Council's committee for study of impacts of highway capacity improvement on air quality and energy consumption HERE.

6 Reduced fuel efficiency and increased gas consumption. By forcing drivers to brake and accelerate repeatedly, speed humps will cause a car that normally gets 58.15 mpg travelling at a steady 30mph to deliver only 30.85 mpg Even if true, we are talking about 28 MPG over .6 miles of road. A few teaspoons of gas per trip. Again I would have to assume this only applies if you are speeding to begin with. Slower speeds with gentle accelerations as a rule improve fuel efficiency. If you are going 40 in a 25 MPH zone you are the type of driver that burns a lot of excess fuel anyway.
7 Speed humps do not change driver behavior and encourage other dangerous driving behaviors, such as going 'off road' to avoid the humps. I am curious to know more of this. Can you cite me a reference? I have not come across this in my readings. Again, this is the kind of problem that will only happen to aggressive drivers. I personally have never heard of someone try to bypass a speed hump by driving into the ditch or onto a sidewalk.
8 Speed bumps make traffic speed unpredictable as some vehicles don't slow down. We are talking about speed humps in this proposal not speed bumps. Drivers who expect to live long consider only the facts before them, not predictions of what they should be.
9 Speed bumps make snow removal difficult, as snowplow operators would have to raise their plows at the humps. Again, we are talking about speed humps, not speed bumps. Guy Mullinax told me the plows glide right over them and the plow does not need to be raised.
10 Expensive to remove. Municipalities, under pressure by citizens and enforced by the courts, have been forced to remove speed humps at great expense to tax payers. I have heard of individual cases like this when municipalities were overzealous putting in many speed humps. Some were removed. I imagine this is a rare exception. Do you have any stats on the percent of projects that are reversed?


The following stories were published in the Westbriar Crier:

Update 9/17/14
CREEK CROSSING
SPEED HUMPS:
POSSIBLE

..... if
residents
want them.

An initiative to install three speed humps along Creek Crossing Road is underway, and has made a great deal of progress over the summer.

Installing speed humps is not done on an ad hoc basis. Fairfax County has specific tests and procedures, the last of which is a Yes-No vote by residents who live in the area. In this case, the voting residents would comprise all of Westbriar Zone G, plus all Fairfax County residents on both sides of the road, several blocks deep, all the way up to Old Courthouse Road.

Community meeting: Speed Hump Program

Westbriar Elementary School on

Tuesday, October 7, 7:30 PM

Creek Crossing Road
Ready for Traffic Calming?
Only the area residents can say.

Detailed information
is now available
.


CREEK
CROSSING
TRAFFIC
CALMING
MEETING:

More Heat than Light
10/8/14

About the only thing residents along Creek Crossing could agree on Tuesday night was that Creek Crossing needs traffic calming. Commuter speeding during rush hours is pretty bad. Even Fairfax County agrees.

But the residents could not seem to find agreement with much else. Some want a permanent radar trap, as if it was an option (it isn't). Some want flashing lights warning the driver he is speeding, as if it was an option (it isn't). Some want sharp spikes to rise out of the road to puncture the tires of speeders, as if it was an option (it isn't). The participants in the loud and often contentious meeting seemed unaware of what the Creek Crossing traffic calming program was about, and very few seemed even interested in finding out. The meeting was ruled by Pet Peeves, Improbable Fears, Fanciful Solutions, and Woeful Anecdotes about near misses with the Grim Reaper.

That seemed odd, considering that every single voting household has been provided with THIS INFORMATION which completely describes the effective program offered. For eligible voters, the only question that counts is this: Do you want the rush hour speeding reduced, or is the situation just fine with you as is?


Click to enlarge

This ballot will be mailed out in the near future. If you want traffic calming, vote YES. If you don't, you don't have to even respond. That is as good as voting NO.


CREEK CROSSING
TRAFFIC CALMING
BALLOTS MAILED
10/16/14

The official ballots have been mailed out to eligible voters along Creek Crossing Road to determine whether or not they want three Speed Humps offered by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation. Voter have until November 7 to mark their choice and mail it in.

Information describing the speed hump program is found HERE. For eligible voters, the only question is: Do you want the rush hour speeding reduced, or is the situation just fine with you as is? All voters have been contacted directly.

Traffic calming is not universally embraced. Many drivers like the freedom to make their commute in the least possible time, and are willing to risk citations to do so. People who live along the speedways are more apt to feel differently.

Speed Humps are second only to active police radar as a technique to keep traffic calm. But year-around police presence is not going to happen.



Creek Crossing Speed
Calming Verdict In

11/14/14 by Leon

Ballots have been counted, and the results are in. Enough voters turned in their ballots to achieve a quorum. Of these, a majority of 107 voters (54.6%) wanted the traffic calming, and 89 (45.4%) did not.

Because 60% was needed to pass the measure, Creek Crossing will remain as-is for the foreseeable future.

Traffic calming on this street has been an issue for as long as many people can remember. But this is the first time that anyone has taken the steps all the way to see what could be done about it.

It would seem that traffic calming is not as popular with the general public as it is with those living next to a problematic street. But considering the closeness of the vote, and that a third of the eligible voters did not even send in their post-paid ballots, it is tempting to speculate on whether a more aggressive door-to-door campaign might have made a difference. At any rate, if history is a guide, the issue will likely be revisited in the future.

The person who worked this Fairfax County program is Dr. Micha Joffee, who lives in Westbriar. Our Civic Association picked up the ballot expenses for its 90 homes in the voting bloc because it was considered a beneficial civic exercise.

Joffee personally funded the much larger ballot expenses of the County residents, because they do not have a functioning Civic Association. He also funded two informational mailings to all 299 voters.

"Dr. Joffee's dedication on this project was an example of community spirit at its finest," said Westbriar Association President John Shreffler.

Micha Joffe

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