Many community members have expressed concern about the speed of traffic on S. Montague Way within the Tuscany subdivision. ACHD was contacted and determined Montague Way qualifies for traffic calming. The traffic calming method being proposed is speed humps. ACHD uses a variety of speed hump consisting of two “speed cushions,” with one cushion positioned within each lane of travel leaving an open center area.
The next step in the process to have speed humps installed is for a petition to be submitted to ACHD. The petition must contain signatures from a minimum of 75% of the homeowners who would be immediately impacted by the placement of speed humps on the roadway. Homeowners are considered to be directly impacted if they cannot reach their home without utilizing Montague Way. ACHD has identified 183 homes they deem to be directly impacted, necessitating the signatures of 137 of those property owners on the petition.
These residents who would be most directly impacted by the installation of speed humps were contacted via email in January and asked to respond to a brief survey indicating whether they would be willing to sign the ACHD petition. MGM has email addresses on file for 175 of the 183 homeowners. Of those 175 homeowners, only 57 responded to the survey. 37 (64.9%) indicated yes, they would sign the petition, while 20 (35.1%) indicated they would not.
Despite less than a third of the homeowners responding to the survey, and only two-thirds of those being in favor, which is short of the 75% required, the HOA Board decided during the February Board meeting to reach out to the community for volunteers to pursue the signatures needed. If there are community members who feel strongly that speed humps are the best solution for addressing the traffic on S. Montague Way, the Board would like to give them the opportunity to pursue this avenue. ACHD has broken the 183 homes impacted into 11 groups of between seven and 24 homes. The Board would optimally like to find 11 or more people willing to go door to door speaking to the impacted homeowners to see whether they can collect the 137 property owner signatures required.
If you would be willing to help gather signatures, please send your name, email address, and phone number to MGM with a subject line of “ACHD Petition.”
In doing its due diligence, the Board has found there are many factors to consider when it comes to the installation of speed humps.
- Speed humps have been proven to effectively reduce traffic speeds
- The reduction in speeds tends to remain effective over time, while other traffic calming methods like radar speed signs can lose their effectiveness
- They can make streets safer by reducing the number of accidents that occur
- Residents will not have a say in the location or placement of the speed humps
- ACHD is careful to avoid installing them in front of driveways or over existing manhole covers or utility drains, but will be the sole decision-maker in terms of where the speed humps are located
- Speed humps are expensive at $6K-$10K each, and ACHD determines at its sole discretion how many to install
- Potential for damage to vehicles going over the speed humps
- Increased noise levels from vehicles going over the humps, slowing quickly as they approach them, and engines revving to get back up to speed
- Delays in emergency response times as fire engines and ambulances must slow to traverse the speed humps
- This concern is somewhat alleviated by the speed cushion design utilized by ACHD, since the open center area allows emergency vehicles to straddle the speed cushion in their lane of travel
- This design loses its effectiveness, however, if there are vehicles parked on or near the speed cushion, which eliminates the path for one side of the emergency vehicle
ACHD uses three criteria to determine eligibility for traffic calming, only one of which must be met:
- Greater than 100 vehicles during the peak hour of traffic, or
- 85th percentile speed (speed below which 85% of traffic travels) of 30 MPH, or
- 95th percentile speed (speed below which 95% of traffic travels) of 35 MPH
ACHD conducted a multi-day speed and volume study in 2022 and found the following for S. Montague Way:
- Peak hour volume: 240 vehicles (qualifying)
- 85th percentile speed: 29 MPH (not qualifying)
- 95th percentile speed: 32 MPH (not qualifying)
It is important for residents to understand S. Montague Way qualifies for traffic calming based strictly upon the peak hour volume, which far exceeds the minimum requirement, but not for either speed criteria. Speed humps can lead to traffic taking alternate routes to avoid the speed humps, but instead of reducing the overall traffic volume, it could simply divert traffic onto other streets within Tuscany.
Currently, once the required number of signatures are collected on the petition, the next step will be for ACHD to conduct a cut through study. A cut through study measures the volume of vehicles “cutting through” the subdivision to get from one major road to another (e.g., Eagle to Locust Grove). Vehicles traveling through Tuscany to drop a child off at Sienna or to buy groceries at Albertsons are considered “destination traffic,” and do not count toward the cut through numbers. The result of the cut through study is used to determine who is responsible for the cost of the speed humps. If Tuscany does not meet the minimum requirements in the cut through study, responsibility for the cost of the speed humps will fall on the HOA if they are installed.
A cut through study was conducted for Tuscany several years ago. That study found only 7.2% of traffic qualified as cut through traffic. During that study, the required percentage was 39%. The required percentage has since been reduced to 22%, but even with the lower number, the amount of cut through traffic traversing Tuscany would still need to have more than tripled since the last study. With this being the case, unless a change is made, the HOA can expect to be held responsible for the cost of however many speed humps ACHD determines are necessary. The HOA is not required to have the speed humps installed if the quantity needed (as determined by ACHD) would make the cost prohibitive.
After taking all of the above factors into consideration, the Board is lukewarm on the idea of speed humps being installed along S. Montague Way. However, the Board respects that some Tuscany residents may still feel strongly that this is the right solution. If this describes you, and you would be willing to help gather signatures from a portion of the 183 homeowners who will be most directly impacted, please send your name, email address, and phone number to MGM with a subject line of “ACHD Petition.”
Volunteers will be accepted until Sunday, March 5. If a sufficient number of volunteers does not come forward, the Board will consider the community to have spoken, and will not proceed any further with this.