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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A framework for neighborhood traffic planning Jacobsen, Linda


The purpose of this thesis is to identify a planning framework to guide the management of non-local traffic in neighborhoods. Through traffic filtering onto local streets reduces their safety and environmental quality. This has become more prevalent in cities due to (1) increasing traffic volumes; (2) a grid pattern of streets which provides parallel routes to major streets; (3) overdesigning residential streets, especially at the collector level; and (4) recent emphasis on improved management of existing facilities (rather than new construction) to accommodate increases in traffic. To reduce extraneous traffic and its impacts, devices for "retrofitting" streets to discourage non-local traffic are being used throughout the world. Their installation may generate conflict between residents who value their living environment, and motorists who perceive reduced accessibility and increased travel times. Because of the political nature of these traffic control decisions, resolution may be impeded. The problem is compounded when these location-specific devices are used to combat symptoms of imbalances on the major street network. When this occurs on a widespread basis, the results of reducing negative local traffic impacts may include increasing congestion on the major street network. Because neighborhood traffic controls are immediately effective at reducing local traffic impacts, are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, system improvements dealing with the origin of these impacts may be postponed, or not considered in conjunction with local traffic control so that local and system actions are complementary rather than contradictory. By examining the literature and case studies of Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Washington and Ottawa, Ontario, a planning framework was devised to reduce the potential for such conflict, and encourage the use of local controls, where appropriate, as part of a longer-term transportation planning strategy. It was found that clearly defined goals and objectives and effective citizen involvement were critical to the development of optimal solutions, ones able to withstand initial opposition. It was also concluded that where location-specific measures are used to treat system-wide problems, neighborhood traffic controls be considered as one of a range of possible short-term traffic engineering or transportation management strategies that can be implemented at the city level. This includes determining how goals and actions at the local or system level complement or detract from one another in order to develop an optimal "package" of planning actions. Treating neighborhood traffic planning options as part of a corridor strategy is also advantageous in terms of constructively involving non-residents where local actions would have significant impacts beyond their site.

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