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Neighborhood Traffic Control Program - How it Works

The Neighborhood Traffic Control Program (NTCP) is based on a two-phase approach. Phase I includes community education, enforcement, less restrictive traffic management measures, such as improved pavement markings and enhanced signage. These relatively simple, and often effective, approaches to solving neighborhood traffic problems are attempted first.

If necessary, and only with neighborhood concurrence, Phase II solutions may be tried. These involve more complex physical construction measures -- speed humps and traffic circles, for example.

Throughout the process, the NTCP Coordinator carefully evaluates the effectiveness of all measures taken and helps prioritize service requests.

Blue Square Bullet  Phase I
Blue Square Bullet  Phase II
Blue Square Bullet  NTCP Process Flow Chart

Phase I

Once contacted by a concerned citizen or community group, the NTCP coordinator gathers data and studies the situation before deciding the best course of action. This analysis may take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the problems. NTCP will keep neighborhood residents informed of all findings and actively seek suggestions from the community.

Enforcement and Education Play a Role

Enforcement is an important tool and can be employed along with all other attempts to solve neighborhood traffic problems. However, police resources are usually allocated in response to specific occurrences, rather than on-going situations, and are limited by the many calls for service.

In addition, actual field studies of neighborhood traffic problems show that in many instances, the majority of motorists using residential streets are the neighborhood residents themselves. In general, outsiders speeding through the neighborhood are only part of the problem. That’s why community education is a critical step in the problem-solving process.

If it’s determined that speeding is the primary concern, for example, residents could work with the city to circulate a flyer to the neighbors stating concerns and asking motorists to slow down. Sometimes, motorists just don’t realize how fast they are really going. The City of Kirkland has a self-contained Radar Readerboard which electronically clocks the speed of an oncoming vehicle and posts the number on a digital display. The automatic device can be used to help educate drivers- or with a patrol car standing by, to enforce speed restrictions.

The Police Department also enlists citizen volunteers to monitor traffic speeds, especially in school zones. If you are interested in volunteering for this police program, you may contact the Police Department at (425) 587-3400.

Let's Start Simple

Since education and enforcement alone may not do the job, the city may make one or more relatively modest physical changes to the street environment. These actions may be quite simple, such as trimming brush that obscures visibility for the motorist. Other typical Phase I interventions include:

Blue Square Bullet  Pavement Markings – Adding markings such as edgelines, which are white stripes painted on the outside edges of the pavement. Edgelines visually narrow the roadway, which helps reduce traffic speeds. Other pavement markings, such as centerlines, painted traffic islands, and speed limit legends may also be used. 

Blue Square Bullet  Signs – Installing new or additional signs in or near the affected area. Appropriate traffic control signs may include no parking, speed limit, dead-end, pedestrian crosswalk, and curve ahead.

Blue Square Bullet  Citizen Speed Watch – Neighborhood residents use a radar unit to clock the speeds of vehicles on their street and write down the make, model and license plate number of those exceeding the speed limit. In collaboration with the Police Department, letters are sent to the registered owners. These letters are not notices of violation, but rather reminders about the posted speed limit and the community’s concern for safety.

Phase II

If Phase I actions fail to reduce excessive speeds or traffic volumes, more restrictive measures may be considered, based on certain threshold criteria, including:

Blue Square Bullet  Average daily traffic volumes of at least 200 but less than 5,000 vehicles per day;

Blue Square Bullet  Where speed is an issue, 15% of the vehicles must be exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 5 miles per hour as determined by speed studies;

Blue Square Bullet  Roadway characteristics such as hills, curves and sight distance.

Of course any recommended action will be based on sound engineering and planning principles. Safety remains paramount in the decision-making process, including access for public safety vehicles. The Traffic Calming Tools section of the web-site includes information about different options for traffic calming devices.

Neighborhood Voting Process for Installation of Traffic Calming Devices

Before permanently installing any traffic calming device that significantly impacts traffic flow, the NTCP Coordinator will send a ballot to those living on or near the street in question.

Blue Square Bullet  When there are less than 70 households voting: At least 70 percent of those households that receive a ballot must vote "yes" to install the Phase II device.

Blue Square Bullet  When there are 70 or more households voting: At least 70 percent of those households that return a ballot must vote "yes" to install the Phase II device.

NTCP Flowchart

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Public Works
Engineering
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
Operations & Maintenance
Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
915 8th St, Kirkland WA 98033

General Inquiries
E-mail: publicworks@kirklandwa.gov
Engineering: T. 425.587.3800 | F. 425.587.3807
Operations & Maintenance: T. 425.587.3900 | F. 425.587.3902