Subject: Issues regarding Janneys Lane traffic calming
To: Joe Fischer, Joe Gerard, Frank Putzu, and Bill Robinson
From: Ginny Hines Parry, 703-212-0982, email@example.com
Re: Issues regarding Janneys Lane traffic calming
Date: November 5, 2003
I want to share with you my concerns about the Janneys Lane traffic
calming project funded by City Council in April, 2003 for $150,000. I am
particularly concerned about different representations made by city staff
about how the Janneys Lane initiative will proceed, especially based on how
the city has stated the program should work in its Neighborhood Traffic
Calming Program Guide (NTCPG) as well as Clover-College Park Civic
Association¹s (CCPCA) past and recent experiences.
CCPCA finalized its traffic calming plan in June, 2002. The last
segment of the CCPCA plan, at the intersection of Janneys Lane and West
Taylor Run Parkway, has not yet been installed. City staff have proposed
several alternatives that have been rejected either by Fire and EMS or
residents over the past year. Another proposal is still under
It is my hope that because Janneys Lane passes through 3 neighborhoods
(Seminary Hill, Clover-College Park, and Taylor Run), the 3 strong civic
associations affiliated with these neighborhoods will be able to work
proactively together to develop a process and plan that benefits all of
Janneys Lane and does not cause harm to the adjacent streets. The process
dictated by city staff at the October 22nd Janneys Lane traffic calming
meeting is too staff-driven and exclusionary.
And finally, the observations and comments provided in this memorandum
are my own personal opinions and not the official position of the
Clover-College Park Civic Association board of directors.
- Signature collection for petitions
Staff statements at October 22, 2003 SHA meeting -- Paul DeMaio of the
city¹s Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) Department said that
65% of those who must use Janneys Lane (i.e., those residing on Janneys Lane
and on cul-de-sacs off of Janneys Lane) need to sign petitions. He did not
mention that every homeowner (100%) whose property abutted a traffic calming
measure needed to sign a petition.
CCPCA traffic calming experience -- The signatures of all (100%) 5
property owners in the 700 block of Janneys Lane (between West Taylor Run
Parkway and Skyhill Road), where city staff wanted to install an
experimental asphalt chicane speed cushion described at the October 22nd
meeting, were required before the chicane could be installed. At least one
of those 5 homeowners refused to sign the petition, so this chicane proposal
did not proceed. Although 65% of residents on Janneys from King Street to
Yale Drive also needed to sign the petition, staff did not require nearby
cul-de-sac residents to approve.
Additionally, nearly every resident of Skyhill Road, which intersects
between the 700 and 800 blocks of Janneys Lane and just before West Taylor
Run Parkway, objected to the placement of the chicane in that block, even
though the signatures of Skyhill residents were not required. Skyhill
residents were concerned that the chicane in that location would cause
traffic to cut-through on Skyhill, a through street (the street that I live
on), to avoid the chicane, as well as the 3 speed cushions already on West
Taylor Run Parkway. Staff eventually acknowledged that cut-through traffic
on Skyhill Road would be a consequence if the chicane were placed there, yet
there was no requirement that residents of Skyhill be included in the
approval process set forth by city staff.
Three bulbouts (also known as sidewalk extensions) are now under
consideration for the intersection of Janneys Lane and West Taylor Run
Parkway. Rich Baier, Director of T&ES, told several of the CCPCA board of
directors and representatives from Taylor Run and Seminary Hill civic
associations at an October 7, 2003 meeting that no residents¹ signatures
were required for bulbouts because they did not remove any parking spaces
and were merely extensions of the sidewalk. Nonetheless, Baier did need the
approval of the CCPCA board of directors. Baier also expected the CCPCA
board to communicate to its residents that the bulbouts would be installed.
A full discussion about this new bulbout proposal has not yet been conducted
with the Clover-College Park community, and no newsletter about this has
gone out yet.
NTCPG Policy Statements -- Page 11 of this document states that ³65% of
households² is the minimum community support needed for bulbouts. The NTCPG
does not provide guidance on how the 65% of households is determined.
By removing the 100% approval requirement for directly affected
residents, staff appears to be relaxing the previous policy regarding the
number of signatures required for installing traffic calming measures.
While citizens are obviously frustrated when one citizen has veto power over
a traffic calming measure, one has to question the wisdom and fairness of a
policy that theoretically would allow the installation of a traffic calming
device in front of a residence without the property owner¹s permission,
particularly one which could eliminate parking spaces and could create
adverse traffic impacts on adjacent through streets, where residents have no
say in the process.
- Composition of Workgroup
Staff statements at October 22, 2003 SHA meeting -- DeMaio emphasized
that only those persons residing on Janneys Lane and those who live on
cul-de-sacs off of Janneys Lane could participate in the workgroup. He also
stated that no board members from the Seminary Hill Association could be on
The rationale for including only those who reside on Janneys Lane or the
cul-de-sacs off of Janneys Lane is that they have no choice but to travel on
Janneys and thus, presumably, have more at stake than other residents. This
policy deliberately excludes residents from other streets who may see an
increase in cut-through traffic from those drivers avoiding a traffic
calming measure on another street. For example, if traffic calming measures
are installed on Janneys Lane near its intersection with Quaker Lane,
drivers traveling on Quaker from Duke Street may choose to turn east onto
Trinity Drive to avoid Janneys.
DeMaio also said traffic calming should not hurt other streets.
However, the remedy he proposed for resolving any disputes between streets
is the Traffic and Parking Board. It is my understanding that the TPB
avoids mediating any disputes between neighbors, and will instead retain the
CCPCA traffic calming experience -- Baier first told several of our
civic association¹s board members that he did not have time to staff a
traffic calming committee comprised of representatives of the 3 Janneys Lane
neighborhoods and that the Clover-College Park civic association board of
directors could sign off on Janneys Lane traffic calming near West Taylor
Run Parkway. He later said that the CCPCA board could choose to do whatever
it wanted regarding the planning process.
Also, when CCPCA's traffic committee was active, there was a
representative on the committee from Taylor Run, MacArthur Elementary School
PTA and the CCPCA board of directors. This was very helpful because both
Taylor Run and MacArthur School were then starting their own traffic calming
projects. Because of the interrelatedness of each segment of Janneys, each
of the 3 neighborhoods should participate, as well as MacArthur Elementary.
And, of course, civic association board involvement is essential in traffic
calming planning to ensure effective communication and coordination with the
- Approval process
Staff statements at October 22, 2003 SHA meeting -- DeMaio did not
mention that the civic association had to review and approve any traffic
calming recommendations from the workgroup. DeMaio also did not discuss
the role of the Traffic and Parking Board in the approval process.
CCPCA traffic calming experience -- City staff told the CCPCA board that
their approval was required. The CCPCA board of directors formally approved
the 2002 Clover-College Park traffic calming plan and fully expects to
approve any traffic calming measures installed along the Clover-College Park
portion of Janneys Lane (700 through 1100 blocks).
NTCPG Policy Statements -- Page 7 of the June 2003 NTCPG states that
usually 65% of affected households need to sign petitions and a letter of
support from the civic association needs to be presented to the Traffic and
Parking Board for approval of traffic calming plans. No definition of ³affected households² is provided in the document.
Page 8 of the guide also states that all projects will be presented to
the Traffic and Parking Board for review prior to implementation. It has
been the practice of this board to hear comments from the public about each
traffic calming proposal.
Geographic Boundaries of the Workgroup
Staff statements at October 22, 2003 SHA meeting -- DeMaio stated that
the boundaries for this traffic calming workgroup would be Janneys Lane from
Yale Drive to Quaker Lane. He must be assuming that this entire area is
part of Seminary Hill Association. However, the 1100 block of Janneys Lane,
which begins at Yale Drive, is part of the Clover-College Park Civic
Association. Hence, there should be coordination with the CCPCA board of
directors and residents.
- Other issues
Fire and EMS approvals -- CCPCA has found several times that Fire and
EMS have veto power over traffic calming measures on primary response
routes, such as Janneys Lane, Yale Drive, Cambridge Road and West Taylor Run
Parkway. Often the concerns of Fire and EMS were not made known until well
after committee members had agreed to a specific traffic calming measure.
Many committee members felt frustrated and antagonistic toward city staff at
the end of the experience because of the lack of timely disclosure.
Public notice -- Notification to the public about Traffic and Parking
Board meetings when neighborhood traffic calming plans will be discussed is
inconsistent at best. For example, there does not seem to be any specific
amount of time mandated for posting public notices on the street, and, other
than civic association newsletters, no other notice is provided to
Instead of acquiescing to staff¹s plan for directing this process, SHA,
TRCA and CCPCA may wish to actively participate in the Janneys Lane traffic
calming process. The CCPCA experience makes clear that a standardized
planning model for traffic calming does not exist and that staff proposes
different approaches at different times. As a starting point, a process to
consider might be one that:
- Encourages participation by Janneys Lane residents, residents of
cul-de-sacs off of Janneys, residents of ³through² streets off of
Janneys, other residents of Seminary Hill, Taylor Run, and
Clover-College Park and representatives from MacArthur Elementary
- Allows for participation by Board members of the Seminary
Hill, Taylor Run and Clover-College Park civic associations;
- Provides for proactive outreach to residents on Janneys Lane
to ensure support by these residents well before a design is
- Provides for regular communication via newsletters to all
Seminary Hill, Taylor Run and Clover-College Park residents;
- Explicitly acknowledges and studies both the volume and the
speed impact on Janneys, adjacent ³through² streets,
and nearby arterials;
- Invites representatives from the TPB and Fire/EMS staff to
attend a meeting of the workgroup and discuss their respective
processes for reviewing and approving traffic calming plans; and
- Encourages city staff to serve in a consultative, advisory
capacity, rather than a leadership role.
Again, this memo expresses my personal opinions and not the official
positions of the CCPCA board of directors. I would be happy to meet with
you to further discuss these concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact me
at 703-212-0982 or firstname.lastname@example.org.