By Paige Lambert
Buda may soon have a way to deal with hazardous traffic in residential areas.
It may come after the city recently entered into a consulting contract with Freese & Nichols to flush out a traffic calming policy. According to Buda Director of Planning Chance Sparks, the completed policy will be presented to council after two to three months of consultant work.
A traffic calming policy is applied to roads with hazardous or unwanted traffic conditions. Typically it is prompted by vehicles speeding in a neighborhood, he said.
“It’s this whole menu of different types of devices and approaches that help to address those issues,” Sparks said. “What is causing issues in one situation isn’t always the reason that is happening in another situation.”
The need for such a policy was first mentioned in 2012 as part of the comprehensive plan. Sparks said officials began getting more complaints last year.
“We just needed some guidelines to go by and a policy,” said Buda Police Chief Bo Kidd said. “There is a need and we need to be consistent.”
The policy could apply to areas where vehicles speed or have a lot of pedestrians. A road that passes by a neighborhood park would be a good example, Sparks said.
It would give officials a clear understanding of how to collect data on an area and what changes need to be made.
“We may find that the problem is during a peak time so maybe the right answer is stepped up police enforcement, … Or maybe we would look into installing the radar signs that tell your speed.”
Other changes could mean more signage, pavement markings or rumble strips. Sparks said physical changes could mean more speed bumps, diverters or traffic circles.
“There are quite different levels of approval,” Sparks said. “If we get one complaint from a neighborhood that could be just one person complaining or is it a whole area that’s bothered by it.”
Officials will hold public meetings before the policy is brought to council, Sparks said. Adopting the policy won’t cost the city anything initially.
“When the dust clears away this policy will set the stage for the parameters of who pays for what and how,” Sparks said. “It’ll spell out the process we will go through and everything like that.”