Traffic Calming and Mobility
What is the city doing to slow vehicle speeds?
There are a few things that guide our maintenance and implementation of traffic calming measures -
- Every year, we work with the Infrastructure and Asset Management Department to plan the maintenance of existing crosswalks, painted curb bumpouts, and bike lanes.
- Every year, we also work to plan, design, and implement traffic calming pavement markings and vertical traffic calming interventions (think flexposts) in new locations around the city. Implementation of new traffic calming measures is guided by our Vision Zero action plan which includes analysis of the most dangerous streets and intersections (compiled into a map of the city’s High Crash Network) as well as a map of communities of concern (based on data about the location of Environmental Justice populations). Refer to the plan here.
The Mobility Division uses the Vision Zero Action Plan to guide our work. There are actions throughout the plan that specifically relate to our commitment to continually implement traffic calming improvements throughout the city, two examples include:
- Street Design Action 1.2 - Implement tactical intersection safety improvements at five all-way stop or signalized intersections, and
- Street Design Action 2.4 - Annually install physical infrastructure improvements at four locations on low volume residential streets.
We also want to hear from you about the areas where you notice drivers going too fast and where you don’t feel safe on foot or on your bicycle. Please use the map on the main page to let us know what you think.
As a result of reduced vehicle traffic on our streets during this time, cities around the country are experiencing increases in speeding. Our Shared Streets network that is being implemented as part of the city’s COVID-19 response builds on an existing network of low volume residential streets, called neighborways, where bicycles and pedestrians are given priority and vehicle speeds are low. Continued implementation of Shared Streets will help spread awareness throughout the city that vehicles need to slow down and share road space with bicycles and pedestrians.
Are the street changes being implemented in response to COVID-19 temporary?
Everything that is being implemented as a direct response to COVID-19 - hands-free signals, shared streets, shared curbs - is being implemented with temporary materials that are easy to move and change based on resident feedback and how the interventions perform once they’re on the ground.
Slowing vehicle traffic, creating safer streets, and improving the safety and efficiency of sustainable modes of transportation like biking, walking, and taking transit are all city priorities outlined in adopted plans like SomerVision, Somerville Climate Forward, and Vision Zero. Implementing these quick-build and easily changeable responses to COVID-19 will give us all important information about how our streets could function differently in the future.
Where can I report a traffic problem?
There are a few ways to provide input to the city on traffic problems that you experience:
Email us at Transportation@somervillema.gov
Provide feedback on the map on this website
Contact the City’s 311 Constituent Services Division by calling 3-1-1 (TTY 866-808-4851) or 617-666-3311 from outside the City. You can reach 311 via the 311 mobile app, twitter (@311Somerville), or email (email@example.com).
What about residents with mobility impairments?
Accessibility improvements are considered in every project we undertake. Rehabilitation of sidewalks, improving accessibility to bus stops and rapid transit, and improving accessibility within ¼ mile of schools are all annual actions in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan that guide the Mobility Division’s priorities and projects.
Residents with specific mobility concerns or impairments are encouraged to have direct input on the planning and design of city projects through one of our city advisory committees - the Pedestrian and Transit Advisory Committee or the Commission for Persons with Disabilities
How do you reach non-English speakers?
The Mobility Division strives to translate key information about our projects into Spanish and Portuguese. If you have questions, thoughts, or concerns, we always welcome feedback through the City’s 311 Constituent Services Division - operators at the Division speak Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish. If another language is needed, a third-party translation service will join a call.