Traffic Calming Program

graphicPolicy Overview

The City of Lowell Traffic Calming Program was developed to provide effective and consistent guidelines for the implementation of traffic calming measures throughout the City to decrease vehicle speeds and increase the safety and livability of the residents of Lowell.  The Traffic Calming Program provides a clear process by which citizens of Lowell are able to request that their street or neighborhoods to be evaluated for traffic calming.

Presentation to Transportation Subcommittee 11-8-2022

Traffic Calming

Traffic calming is defined as the installation of mainly physical measures designed to reduce traffic speeds and/or cut-through volumes in the interest of providing a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly street system.

Traffic calming objectives include:

  • achieving slow speeds for motor vehicles
  • reducing collision frequency and severity
  • increasing the safety and the perception of safety for non-motorized users of the street(s)
  • reducing the need for police enforcement
  • enhancing the street environment
  • preserve neighborhood character and livability
  • increasing access for all modes of transportation
  • reducing cut-through motor vehicle traffic

Traffic calming measures that may be employed include both community-oriented (non-infrastructure) and physical measures.

Community-oriented traffic calming measures focus on bringing the community together to raise awareness and educate drivers that they are in a neighborhood where there is a strong desire for them to drive responsibly. Physical traffic calming measures include horizontal deflection or vertical deflection measures. Horizontal deflection measures create an obstacle in the street that removes the straight line pathway, causing motorists to slow while navigating the measure. Vertical deflection creates a change in the height of the street that requires the motorists to slow to maintain an acceptable level of comfort.  Examples of the physical measures can be found in the appendix to the Traffic Calming Program found here:

Traffic Calming Program

Request a Traffic Calming Study in Your Neighborhood

Residents with concerns about neighborhood vehicular traffic speeds or cut-through traffic volumes should submit a Neighborhood Traffic Calming Request Form:

Traffic Calming Request Form

Supporting letters  ( Sample Neighborhood Support Letter ) or photos showing the area of concern may also be attached to the form.

Process and What to Expect

Once a request has been received, City Staff will evaluate if the location is appropriate for traffic calming measures and if physical traffic calming measures can be installed. An administrative alternative may be found, such as police enforcement or new signs. Staff may collect data prior to making a recommendation. Any recommendation will be reported to the City Council Transportation Subcommittee, the initial petitioner, the primary Neighborhood Association contact, and posted on the City’s website to notify residents and solicit comments.  Neighborhood Associations can request the attendance of City Staff at neighborhood meetings to generally discuss the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program and answer questions. 

Physical traffic calming measures will be installed in a temporary condition at first. City Staff will evaluate the effects of the traffic calming project at the end of the trial period. Additional data may be collected on vehicle speeds and volumes, and resident feedback (via will be reviewed. If there are negative impacts, the trial will be concluded and the temporary measures will be removed. Should positive impacts be identified, funding for permanent implementation will be considered. 

The traffic calming program process, following the receipt of a neighborhood petition, will take approximately six to nine months. Some solutions require the elimination of on-street parking.