Category: 15,000 – 39,999 Winner or Honorable Mention: Title of the Project: Better, Slower, Safer, Cheaper: Traffic Calming in University Place City: University Place Population: 30,310 Name: Matt Sullivan Title: Management Analyst Phone: (253) 566-5656 Better, Slower, Safer, Cheaper Traffice Claming in University Place In August of 1995 University Place officially became a city. With incorporation the city planners took on the courageous task of making the community livable, walkable, and drivable. They set in motion a symbiotic relationship between Public Works and Police to deliver the promise at incorporation of a safer community. Traffic calming in University Place would be Better, Slower, Safer, and Cheaper. The City started the process of traffic calming by selecting the Pierce County Sheriff’s office to provide police services to the community. The City was committed to the Community Oriented Policing Strategy or C.O.P.S approach. This approach would enable police services and extra officers to work with the community to solve policing, traffic and safety problems. The contract negotiated between the Sheriff’s Office and the City would save the citizens a significant amount of money while increasing police services a minimum of 50%. Original estimates would have allowed just a basic patrol of on duty officers plus support services for $2.5 million per year. The City, through negotiations was able to fill police service needs doubling patrol officers per shift, adding a detective and a traffic specialist for only $2.4 million. Second only and in partnership to the police contract was that of street services. Almost $2 million was spent in the City's initial year on transportation and more importantly traffic safety. The goal was to provide University Place citizens an equal or better level of service than they had received from the county; that goal would be met and shattered. University Place was a community before incorporation of little to no sidewalks, street lighting and crosswalks. If one wanted to walk down the road to the store they would traverse the gravel shoulder and literally take their lives in their hands by stepping around power poles and into the street. With its first six-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) adopted University Place would become a safer place to live. Grandview Drive would get sidewalks and bike lane improvements. Street lighting would be installed on all major arterials. Bridgeport Way and Cirque Drive would get sidewalks, where initially there were none. There would be intersection improvements across the City. In a unique partnering arrangement between the city and Washington Natural Gas (WNG), curbs, gutters and sidewalks were constructed along Cirque Drive, as a part of a gas main installation project. The City, to do this project by itself would have spent $225,000. With the partnership the project cost the City only $90,000, a huge savings for the City Of University Place residents. "Preserving community quality of life means building and rebuilding our public infrastructure by investing in the Capital lmprovement Plan and our community's future. We will not correct years of under investment and capital deficit overnight, but this first University Place Capital Improvement Plan is a great start. We are even more pleased that it is fully funded from existing revenues, without a tax increase!" Robert W. Jean City Manager Traffic Stops by University Place Police from Incorporation to Present 5,000 4,595 4,000 3,712 3,200 3,352 3,000 2,697 # of Traffic Stops 2,000 1,000 1,178 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 University Place in keeping the promise of a safer community organized Neighborhood Advisory Committees. These committees would aid and assist the Police and Public Works Departments on city transportation plans and potential neighborhood traffic calming and enforcement. The level of traffic enforcement in the City tripled from incorporation. The City Council in 1997 approved funding for overtime traffic enforcement, additional radar units, equipment and a radar trailer that the neighborhood committees could use through the new speed watch program Traffic safety in school zones became paramount. The first arterial streetlights were installed around University Place schools. In a survey in 1997 taken by University Place citizens 70% agreed that the performance of the Police was excellent, the promise of incorporation was being met. With innovation and good fiscal sense the City in the summer of 1997 installed a demonstration roundabout on Grandview Drive, the first of its kind in Washington State. Responding to a citizen suggestion the Council agreed to try a test roundabout in order to calm traffic along Grandview Drive. Roundabouts are cheaper than traffic signals ($80,000 to $125,000 each compared to signal costs of $150,000 to $250,000 per intersection). In January of 1998, Dennis Ingham (Assistant Secretary of the Washington Department of Transportation) congratulated the City for its leadership in setting a vision for their City, and showing the courage to test new ideas in order to meet that vision, even in the face of a vocal minority opposition To date, there have been no accidents at the roundabout with the exception of a one car accident involving a highly intoxicated driver. Pedestrians and bicyclists negotiate the roundabout with ease. With the success of the first roundabout four more have been installed, with similar results. The table below shows how traffic claming techniques had a dramatic impact on accident rates over the first few years. "Problem Accident Locations" Results of Police Emphasis and Public Works Improved Road Design Collision Location 1996 1997 1998 6700 Bridgeport Way W 17 6 0 2700 Bridgeport Way W 14 9 10 4000 Bridgeport Way W 12 13 10 6700 Cirque Drive W 6 9 4 3900 Bridgeport Way W 6 5 3 3800 Bridgeport Way W 6 4 3 Bridgeport Way/Chambers Lane W 6 2 2 3500 Bridgeport Way W 5 11 7 Cirque Drive W/Orchard St W 5 4 3 Bridgeport Way W/Cirque Drive W 4 5 6 2200 Mildred St W 4 3 4 3500 67"' Av W 4 2 0 3700 Bridgeport Way W 4 2 3 2700 Sunset Drive W 4 0 1 19th St W/Bridgeport Way W 4 1 4 TOTALS 101 76 60 By the end of 1998 the relationship between Public Works and Police was becoming more and more effective in serving the community. Traffic patrols had been successful and accident rates were cut in half. The Block Watch program had been expanded and the Community Oriented Policing Strategy (C.O.P.S.) was growing. Arterial streets were lit and there were miles of new sidewalks and bike lanes constructed. There had also been over $500,000 in Neighborhood CIP projects completed and over $19 million in Public Works Capital Improvement Projects approved for the next 5 years and all from existing resources, not new taxes. Innovative thinking has been a hallmark for the City Of University Place. In 1999, the City was able to secure almost $1.4 million in grants from the state to improve roads. The State approved a $ 1.1 million grant for Bridgeport Way to build sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights, and traffic signals. The City received $98,000 for the 27th street West project enabling them to provide curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. The City was also able to get $200,000 for Grandview Drive West, which would provide for sidewalks, bike lanes, and storm drainage. The city was able to keep the promise of incorporation and by doing more with less. Results from the traffic signals, sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, police enforcement and roundabouts improvements were beginning to pay off. Speeds were down in University Place 5-10% from 40+ mph before incorporation to under the 35 mph speed limit after. Accidents were also down in just a few years time. Safety was the issue and "road dieting" was the new and progressive tool in the traffic-calming arsenal of University Place. Roads in the City were being narrowed to reduce speeds and accidents. Closure of the free left turn lanes, using medians, and U-turns made Bridgeport Way and other arterials safer for all. Another positive result of the road improvements was business volumes Citywide were up 5% and businesses in Town Center where Bridgeport had been completed increased by 7%. The following table demonstrates the reduction in speed and accidents on two main arterials in University Place. Traffic Calming at Work on University Place Roads Arterial Average Average % Speed Average # of Average # of % Street Speed Speed Reduction Accidents Accidents Accident Before After Before After Traffic Reduction Traffic Traffic Traffic Calming Per Calming Calming Calming Per Year Year Bridgeport 35.3 33.4 6% 19 8 60% Way Grandview 34.53 30.39 12% 12 1 50% Through incorporation the City of University Place has been dedicated to keeping the promises set forth by the city planners. The relationship that developed and grew between Police and Public Woks created a safer place to live. Since incorporation the city has been successful in their charge. Traffic accidents, major and minor, down by 52% Speeding reduced overall by 14% Over eight miles of street rebuilt 16 miles of sidewalks installed 14 miles of bike lanes created Over 22 million was applied to capital and safety improvements 637 street lights added Thanks to the combined dedication of enhanced traffic enforcement and innovative traffic claming, the City of University Place is truly a Better, Slower, Safer, and Cheaper place to live.