Roundabouts, Special Medians Among Traffic-Calming Efforts In Triangle

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Many Triangle residents don't yet know what traffic calming is, but its presence is popping up on roads all over the area.

Roundabouts, speed bumps and speed tables are all part of traffic calming. Construction crews rework the road to slow traffic, especially in neighborhoods.

"Traffic calming is a technique right now that nearly every community in the country is familiar with and it's becoming more popular everyday," said Chapel Hill Traffic Engineer Kumar Neppalli.

One traffic-calming effort is taking place in Chapel Hill's Oaks neighborhood. Along Raleigh's Ashe Avenue, city crews have just started a similar traffic calming effort. Even North Carolina State University is in the game, with a roundabout on Pullen Road. Several more are on Raleigh's drawing board.

Beyond roundabouts, other traffic-calming tactics include raised, planted medians down the middle of the road, such as one implemented in Chapel Hill. Traffic planners said drivers see the narrower lanes and slow down.

"Most of the traffic-calming devices are physically on the road, so it sends a message to drivers to change their behavior, particularly aggressive drivers who are speeding," said Neppalli.

Chapel Hill said it is studying the effectiveness of its traffic-calming program. Results should be released in about two months.