Public Works details Richmond sideshow deterrence pilot projects

Public Works details Richmond sideshow deterrence pilot projects
Public works staff and transportation consulting company Fehr & Peers have developed a sideshow deterrent project for South 37th Street. Photo/ Linda Hemmila

The Public Works Department detailed two sideshow deterrence pilot projects during a midyear budget review at Tuesday night’s Richmond City Council meeting.

The two locations at Barrett Avenue and Key Boulevard and South 37th Street and Wall Avenue are part of a $1.2 million package of 18 traffic calming projects approved by the council in November 2022.

Joseph Munoz, the Capital Projects Manager in the public works engineering department, said design work for the Barret Avenue project was completed last winter, and the department is trying to determine if the project can be constructed in-house or needs to be contracted out.

Sideshow Deterrence concept plan
Barrett Avenue and Key Boulevard Sideshow Deterrence concept plan.

“This is the concept that includes a traffic calming circle,” Munoz said during the council meeting. “There is restriping with a road diet and installing quick build elements such as surface mounted curb systems.

Public works staff and transportation consulting company Fehr & Peers have developed a sideshow deterrent project for South 37th Street that can be constructed in-house.

Sideshow Deterrence
South 37th Street and Wall Avenue sideshow deterrence concept plan

“It includes the same features, a surface mounted curb system, high visibility continental crosswalks and shared lane bikeway striping, red curb, and refreshed turn and stop indicators,” Munoz said.

Vice Mayor Claudia Jimenez requested a timeline for completing the traffic calming projects.

“You presented a timeline for when we have allocated money but not a timeline for when these projects are going to be finished,” Jimenez said. “Like Key and Barrett, which is what I committed to the community, it says design winter 2023. When is it going to be built?” 

Jimenez said public works were asking the council to put money into 18 projects without any information.

“The accountability is lacking. Not because you are not thinking about doing this but because there’s no information that is provided to us,” Jimenez said.

The public works department underwent changes. In the spring of 2023, a new public works engineering staff joined the city; Munzo said staff worked with the finance department to address accounting and contract issues with the transportation consultant to proceed with the development of the projects. 

“Three of those locations have been completed; two are currently under construction,” Munoz said. “We are coordinating with our city forces. Nine are in the design phase, and four are in planning.”

Fehr & Peers will develop eight out of the 18 locations designated for traffic calming. The city intends to carry out and deliver these project locations through a formal contract.

The completed locations are speed humps on Esmond Avenue, 32nd Street, and State Avenue.

District 1 Councilmember Melvin Willis said the neighbors are deeply appreciative of the Esmond Avenue speed humps installed between 24th and 26th streets.

“They even came here during Human Traffic Awareness Month and said thank you for the speed bumps and thank you for the lighting,” Willis said. “It has made a huge remarkable difference even just walking by there.”

Last year, the department created a Traffic Calming Program website, which received more than 150 requests in the first three months. Public Works also created a temporary back-end database to track and monitor requests.

Richmond residents urged to voice concerns about traffic safety
The Public Works Department has launched a new reporting tool for residents to voice their concerns about traffic safety and make prioritizing and tracking project requests easier. The Traffic Calming Program aims to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods by reducing the harmful effects of traffic on neighborhood streets

“Now we have 150 locations to address in some capacity. Transportation consultants developed a process for evaluating traffic claiming requests to ensure uniform analysis for inquiries,” Munoz said.

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