Traffic Calming

The overall objectives of the City of St. Cloud’s Traffic Calming process are: 

  • Protect and improve livable neighborhoods by reducing the negative effect of motor vehicles on residential neighborhoods. 

  • Promote safe and pleasant conditions for residents, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. 

  • Achieve safe and efficient movement of all forms of transportation within residential neighborhoods (including emergency and City services vehicles) consistent with the intended function of the neighborhood street.

  • Provide accessibility for local traffic, discourage unsafe speeds and encourage opportunities for alternative modes of transportation (i.e. bicycles), all in recognition of quality of life issues. 

  • Maintain acceptable levels of service on arterial streets to reduce incentives for motorists to intrude onto local residential streets. 

  • Encourage citizen involvement in all aspects of “The 3 E’s”: EDUCATION, ENFORCEMENT AND ENGINEERING activities in their neighborhood.

What is Traffic Calming? 

Traffic Calming is a concept that involves changing the look and feel of residential streets using attractive design features to narrow travel lanes and regulate traffic at intersections.  The features are placed to slow traffic to a speed more in keeping with a residential neighborhood and are not designed to divert traffic. 

Traffic Calming involves the use of devices such as speed humps, speed tables, raised pedestrian crosswalks, traffic circles, traffic medians, chokers, chicanes and neighborhood entryway treatments, to name a few.  Not all traffic calming devices are appropriate for all streets and any proposals will be carefully considered.  When determining which traffic calming devices will work best for a particular street, there are a number of engineering considerations: 

All devices have both benefits and disadvantages.  For example, a device that effectively slows traffic may also have a negative impact on emergency vehicle response time, or on public service vehicles such as sanitation trucks, street sweeping equipment or school buses. 

Traffic calming devices occasionally (and unintentionally) divert traffic away from the project street onto an adjacent neighborhood street, moving rather than solving the problem.  The impact of any device must be carefully studied to ensure that an unacceptable traffic burden is not placed on an adjacent street. 

Some devices simply cannot be used on particular streets because of the physical geometrics, or conditions of the roadway and the surrounding area. 

Specific neighborhood characteristics must be taken into account.  Residents might want to consider how traffic calming devices might affect visual aesthetics, driveway access, parking needs, or other issues important to the neighborhood. 

Designing an effective traffic calming plan requires a complex engineering process that takes time, effort and funding.  The City can undertake a limited number of traffic calming projects at any given time.  The City Engineer determines the priority of each requested project on a case by case basis. 

 The 3 E’s of Traffic Calming

  1. Education – alerts citizens to the various ways they can help ease traffic problems.  For example, neighbors may help by reducing their own driving speed, encouraging family, friends and visitors to their neighborhood to do the same, and by using alternative modes of transportation like bicycles and buses.

  2. Enforcement – enlists the help of the St. Cloud Police Department to focus on enforcement efforts on the target streets or throughout the project area and to help increase community awareness of the speeding problems. 

  3. Engineering – passive techniques include traffic signs, pavement markings, speed display trailers and other creative tools that try to keep the drivers attention directed on the task of driving.  Special emphasis signs or special pavement marking legends are options that the Traffic Division will consider using if there is neighborhood consensus. 

 When Education, Enforcement and Engineering techniques are used together their effectiveness is considerably higher. 

Traffic Calming Request   

For Traffic Calming requests, please email publicworks@stcloud.org to request a copy of the City of St. Cloud's Traffic Calming Policy and application.