USC discusses changing traffic calming policy
Upper St. Clair’s traffic calming policy was the subject of discussion by the commissioners at their Oct. 2 regular meeting, with possible changes on the way.
Adam Benigni, director of planning and community development, reviewed the municipality’s current traffic calming policy, then presented proposed revisions.
USC’s traffic calming policy has four steps: request for study and screening, traffic calming plan development, approval process by the board of commissioners, and installation and evaluation. Benigni said the proposed changes to the traffic calming policy are in the first and second steps of the process, using a tiered approach during these steps, with an emphasis on education and enforcement of speed limits.
Under Upper St. Clair’s current policy, after receiving a request for a traffic calming project, a petition with at least 20 signatures from households in the surrounding neighborhood must be submitted to the township. The township has the traffic engineer conduct a study to see if traffic calming is warranted. If warranted, a traffic calming plan is developed and the plan is presented at a public meeting to solicit input from residents. After residents’ comments are taken into consideration, a survey is sent to residents and if 50 percent respond favorably, the plan moves to the board for approval.
Under the new proposal, during the first step, after receiving a written request and petition from residents, tier one would include meeting with those in the neighborhood to determine the scope of the problem and see if there are immediate fixes such as cutting trees or bushes to improve sight distance or replacing worn-out or missing signage. Step one could also include educating neighbors as to the scope of the problem and targeted police enforcement of the speed limit. After allowing time for the changes to be implemented, residents from a designated area would be surveyed and if 60 percent still thought there was a problem, step two, traffic calming plan development would begin.
The new proposal calls for data collection and plan development with a two-tier approach. As a first step, low-cost, temporary speed control devices could be used, such as speed signs that collect data. As in step one, after time for evaluation, a resident survey would be conducted. If 60 percent of the residents in the designated area still thought there was a problem, the traffic plan for more permanent installation of traffic calming measures, such as speed humps, would be forwarded to the board of commissioners for action.
Board President Mark Christie said it seemed like the proposed changes to the traffic calming policy showed a more thoughtful process and provided more feedback from the residents.
Benigni said the proposed changes would get residents more involved with the process and at an earlier stage. Benigni said sometimes improvements can be made by improving sight distances, which could be done by working with the township forester and public works, or by meeting with neighbors to make them more aware of speeding in residential areas. Benigni said that during his two years with the township, he has had about eight requests for traffic calming studies.
The board is expected to continue discussing possible changes to the traffic calming policy at the Nov. 6 meeting.
Also during the Oct. 2 meeting, the board proclaimed Oct. 8-14 as Fire Prevention Week in Upper St. Clair. The board also recognized Upper St. Clair volunteer fire fighters for their years of service: Chief Steve Moore – 35 years, Dave Ickes – 25 years, Tony Messina – 15 years, Josh O’Conner – 10 years, and Gary Salerno – 10 years.
In other business, the board amended the fee portion of the township code to include fees for sanitary sewer lateral inspections, setting the fee for an evidence of compliance letter for closed circuit televising, or CCTV, inspection at $25, and setting a $3,000 surety for a temporary evidence of compliance letter for CCTV inspection. Also amended were the library fees and fines, setting a service fee for fax/scan service at $1 per job.
CUTLINE: Terry Kish/For The Almanac
Upper St. Clair firefighters, from left, Dave Ickes, Tony Messina, Josh O’Conner and Chief Steve Moore are shown with Commissioner Rex Waller after their were honored during the Oct. 2 meeting.