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Traffic Calming Devices Used in Sacramento

Sacramento has become infamous for frequent traffic congestion on a majority of its roads in recent years, causing numerous accidents and an unsafe environment for pedestrians. However, the recent advent of traffic calming devices and measures has improved the flow of traffic and safety for pedestrians and cyclists across the country. Newly-implemented traffic calming devices in Sacramento has finally begun to ameliorate the congestion and accident frequency on the roads with both physical and non-physical measures to ensure safe driving throughout the city.

                The foundation of non-physical traffic calming devices is to eliminate any confusion or uncertainty drivers can have on the road. Several non-physical traffic calming devices have already begun to improve the driving conditions in several neighborhoods throughout the city. Numerous warning signs and stop signs were placed to alert drivers of intersections and road changes, as well as increased frequency speed limit signs and radar trailers to show drivers their speed in slower neighborhoods (for example, in front of schools) to reduce speeding and reckless driving. Several non-physical traffic calming devices were added for the benefit and safety of pedestrians and cyclists as well, including added bicycle lanes and crosswalks so that they have more options to walk or ride safely. Certain non-physical devices to improve traffic and safety in Sacramento were to increase visibility. For example, parking areas were adjusted and trees were trimmed to increase conspicuousness of road signs and parked cars.

                Non-physical devices were not the only traffic calming measures implemented to improve congestion and safety on Sacramento roadways. A number of traffic circles replaced standard four-way intersections and islands and medians were added to separate lanes of traffic on busier streets to reduce the number of collisions. Numerous speed bumps have been installed as well in residential neighborhoods to discourage speeding. Finally, several measures were taken in some areas to narrow travel lanes to decrease speeding and reckless driving. Islands installed in the middle of streets not only serve to narrow the lanes and reduce commuter speeds, but also serve as a safe crossing point for pedestrians by giving them a quick respite in the center of wide or busy roads. Choker maneuvers, such as widening the sidewalk or landscaping at the street edge to narrow road lanes, also decrease speeds and the number of accidents in the same manner.

                The city of Sacramento has installed the traffic calming devices all around the city in a number of locations to improve traffic flow and decrease the number of collisions on average. However, more extreme and costly measures can be taken if these physical or non-physical traffic calming measures do not mitigate the congestion and dangerous roads in the city. Diversion devices have a larger impact on the community, cost more money, and need approval by the Sacramento City Council before they can be installed, but they should be able to get results where any of the previously-listed traffic calming devices should fail. Occasional half-street and full-street closures at certain times can force the flow of traffic to go in certain directions, and thereby ease congestion in certain areas of the city that always become jammed at high-volume hours. Streets can also be changed from two-way to one-way or vice versa during rush hours to achieve the same purpose, depending on where in the city the problem is most severe.

                Sacramento has been known to have poor road conditions as well in years past, and standard improvements in street quality always help to ease traffic and decrease the number of motor vehicle accidents when need be. However, the city has already begun to see improvements in these two areas in the city zones and neighborhoods where the traffic calming devices have been installed. With improved traffic and fewer collisions, Sacramento may see a boost in the city economy that has been needed for some time.