According to the Philadelphia Streets Department, “traffic calming measures— especially speed cushions— can slow the speed of vehicles and may reduce traffic volume.” The Department has a process by which a resident can request traffic calming measures on their street, but several criteria must be met:

To qualify for a traffic calming and safety study, the block:

  • Must not be a state highway or an arterial route.
  • Must be at least 1,000 feet long (typically two city blocks) between stop signs or traffic signals.
  • Must not have uphill or downhill grades of 15% or more, or be a curving street.
  • Must have a speeding problem.

Unfortunately, these first two criteria eliminate most of Philadelphia’s streets, and importantly most of the High Injury Network(HIN) – the most dangerous streets where traffic calming is needed most.

We recently took a look at how much of the HIN is eligible for traffic calming measures based on this criteria, and the results are alarming: less than 3% of the HIN qualifies. We think this means there is a need to modify the criteria for traffic calming, and we encourage the City to work with PennDOT to create a system that makes traffic calming more accessible to residents where it is needed most.