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By Rylie Friesen—
The City of Citrus Heights is currently developing a $200,000 program to help handle a high volume of requests from the public relating to traffic flow improvements, enforcement and roadway safety in the city.
According to a Sept. 4 news release from the city, the Multi-Modal Transportation Safety Program (MMTSP) is designed to enhance the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and will develop a clear process for the city to address resident requests and implement solutions.
According to Principal Civil Engineer Leslie Blomquist, the city’s engineering division has received over 380 requests during the past five years to install signs, striping, speed humps, and other traffic calming measures. That number doesn’t include additional requests for enforcement, which are received each year by the police department.
“Historically, nearly every street in the city has received a request for some sort of traffic calming,” Blomquist says in a three-minute informational video released about the program.
City Engineer Stuart Hodgkins is also quoted in the video noting that the city has implemented numerous traffic calming measures over the years, including roundabouts, bike lanes, center lines and parking lanes.
Due to the volume of requests being processed, the city applied for a grant to update its current neighborhood traffic management program. Last year, it was awarded a Caltrans Sustainable Communities grant of $180,000 to go toward the development of the program. The city also put up matching funds of $23,321.
When complete, the program “will identify treatments, resident complaint guidelines, and most importantly, a methodology to evaluate, prioritize, and implement countermeasures,” Blomquist said. The city says the new program will be much more streamlined and transparent than the existing method of handling requests.
The development of the program is expected to be completed by February 2020.
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Those interested in playing a more active role in the program are asked to attend upcoming workshops about the program and consider volunteering as a “Neighborhood Champion.”
According to an FAQ published by the city, “Neighborhood Champions” will play important roles by communicating program progress and goals to neighbors, and assisting the city at community workshops.
Champions are expected to attend an orientation and training on Oct. 2, from 5:30-6:30 at City Hall, as well as lead two WALKshops. They will also be expected to participate in the first of several Community Workshops on Oct. 30, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., at the Citrus Heights Community Center. Application forms are available on the city’s website.
Additional information about the program can be found below, with answers taken directly from a city FAQ about the program.
Why is the city doing this program now?
The City of Citrus Heights receives hundreds of requests each year for the installation of stop signs, speed humps, and other traffic control devices to reduce speeding in neighborhoods. The current Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) requires investigation, analysis, and a determination of whether the request is the most effective solution. This process takes time and is not very transparent to the community.
The initiation of the MMTSP is intended to update, improve, and streamline the process allowing the City to quickly respond to citizen requests and track the status of requests anywhere in the process. Further, the MMTSP will promote and provide tools for Citrus Heights residents to improve safety in their own neighborhoods. The community is invited to help develop the MMTSP so that they have input into the program, and better understand how it works.
What will the outcome of the MMTSP be?
- A toolbox of multi modal safety measures and traffic control devices as well as guidance on the best way to use these solutions to respond to resident requests
- An improved and more transparent process for residents to submit requests for safety improvements
- An improved process for reviewing concerns, investigating the problems, and identifying the best solutions, as well as a computerized system for ranking, prioritizing, and tracking resident requests and solutions
- Tools for Citrus Heights residents to promote safety in their neighborhoods
What about requests that have already been made?
Previous requests made by residents for safety improvements will be incorporated into the new process being developed and remain in the order they were received. They will be ranked and prioritized using the procedures being developed as part of the MMTSP with input from the community.
Does the city have money to install improvements?
The city will identify and prioritize safety improvements ranging from education and enforcement programs to capital improvements that may be incorporated into the City’s 5-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). One of the goals of the program is to develop low-cost, near-term solutions that can be implemented and evaluated for effectiveness.
Should the evaluation near term treatments warrant higher cost solutions, the city will program funding toward improvements through the budget and CIP process, seeking grant and/or other funding sources to supplement construction costs.
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