School Safety Project
The Traffic Calming Program (TCP) undertook a School Safety Project (SSP) in the winter of 1995 on the streets adjacent to Holy Redeemer School.
The goal of a SSP project is to enhance the safety of the younger pedestrians associated with the elementary school by either reducing the street crossing distance, or reducing the 85th percentile speed on streets adjacent to the school. Both N Portland and N Vancouver are Neighborhood Collector streets. They are both classified as Transit routes and are both Primary Fire Response routes.
The intersection of N Portland and N Vancouver has been identified as a high accident location. At this intersection, 3 legs: North, South an East, are marked school crosswalks with ladder crosswalk markings. The west leg is marked with parallel crosswalk lines. The intersection is signalized. N Portland and N Vancouver close to their intersecton, both serve a single family residence neighborhood.
All residents of N Portland Blvd and N Vancouver Ave, along with parents and teachers at Holy Redeemer School were invited to an open house in order to review and comment on the proposed traffic calming devices. The plan for Holy Redeemer and the plan for Applegate School to the north, were combined. They consisted of a series of 10-22 foot speed bumps on N Vancouver from N Ainsworth to N Columbia Blvd. The plan also included a new signal installation at N Vancouver and N Portland, along with Opticom, a traffic signal preemptor for emergency vehicles. At the intersection of N Portland and N Vancouver, 4 curb extensions were designed to shorten the crossing distances for the school children and prevent the buses from making their right turns. The majority of those who attended expressed approval for the proposed project. There was concern expressed about placing traffic calming devices like 22 foot speed bumps on Neighborhood Collector streets, especially those that are used by emergency services and transit.
7 - 22' speed bumps, at 400 to 600 foot spacing, were constructed along the 0.8 mile stretch of N Vancouver from N Ainsworth to N Lombard on August 19, 1996 by the Bureau of Maintenance. Curb extension construction was finished in April of 1997.
On N Vancouver, vehicle speeds, previously concentrated between 29 and 40 mph, have been shifted into the range of 23 to 34 mph. The 85th percentile vehicle speed before the project was 37 & 38 mph. After bump construction the highest 85th percentile speed measured was 32 mph.
Traffic volumes measured before bump construction were 6226 vehicles per day (vpd). After bump construction volumes measured 4206 vpd.
On N Portland Blvd, vehicle speeds, previously concentrated between 30 and 41 mph were shifted to a range of 26 to 38 mph. Before the project the 85th percentile speed was 37 & 39 mph. After construction of the curb extensions, the 85th percentile was 36 & 37 mph. Volumes changed from 9085 vpd to 9476 vpd. It was not expected that curb extensions would have any effect on volume.
Traffic Calming on N Vancouver Ave has successfully reduced the 85th percentile closer to the posted speed and enhanced pedestrian safety. The curb extensions did not produces as much speed reduction, however the curb extensions and new signal installation on N Portland Blvd at N Vancouver have enhanced the safety of school children around Holy Redeemer School.