Traffic and Roads / Advisory Group (TRAG)
Traffic and Roads
(Select Board Policy revised and adopted September 18, 2023)
The Traffic & Road Advisory Group (“TRAG”) is an internal group consisting of the Town Manager, the DPW Director, the Town Engineer, the Police Chief and the Community Resource Officer. The TRAG members may invite town employees to attend TRAG meetings but voting power shall remain with the TRAG members. Upon invitation, other town officials, departments, consultants, engineers and/or agencies may attend the group. The TRAG meets at least quarterly to review requests from residents, town departments and town officials related to modifications, improvements or additions to Town of Longmeadow roadways, right-of-way, and regulations. The Committee shall receive and review input from town residents, businesses, and neighborhoods on issues or concerns related to matters within town roadways. The TRAG shall be made aware of and consider construction plans for work occurring on or around roadways and develop traffic safety plans to accommodate the work. The TRAG also reviews requests for large events that may have an impact on pedestrian, cyclist and/or vehicular traffic and shall present comments, if necessary, to the Select Board. The TRAG is the transportation and safety review board for the Town of Longmeadow under the direction of the Select Board and Town Manager. The TRAG takes up issues relative to pedestrian safety, speeding, and other transportation issues. The TRAG is also responsible for recommending amendments to the Town of Longmeadow Traffic Rules and Orders, as approved and adopted by the Select Board. The TRAG also oversees the Complete Streets Bylaw (Ch. 259 Art. IV) and develops projects to help the Town reach its goal to create a connected network of right-of-way facilities accommodating all modes of travel to the maximum practical extent and to promote the walkability and bike ability of the Town's streets.
View the complete Traffic and Roads Policy here.
The Traffic Calming Policy has been developed in order to establish a process through which the Town can respond to and address residents' concerns regarding these types of traffic issues that occur on Town maintained streets. The purpose of the policy is to verify a concern once it is brought to the Town's attention, evaluate it, provide recommendations to address the issue, and determine the effectiveness of recommendations that are implemented. Reporting the Problem If a neighborhood group feels that there is a speeding or traffic problem, it should be reported using the Neighborhood Traffic Calming Application. The types of concerns include heavy traffic volume, commercial traffic, consistent speeding, traffic patterns, complaints otherwise not resolved through increased patrol. Residents should note the application requirements for neighborhood participation. Certain individual traffic complaints can be made by using the Longmeadow Police Department Traffic Safety Complaint form found here. The types of complaints for this process include, but are not limited to, light/stop sign violations, crosswalk violations, and specific times where speeding is observed. Once this form is completed and submitted, a copy will be provided to the Select Board and the Traffic & Road Advisory Group. The TRAG meets at least quarterly and the application will be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting.
It is not the intent of the Traffic Calming process to require drivers to slow down well below the speed limit. This could create congestion where it did not exist previously. Motorists should be able to move through a corridor while safely sharing the roadway with cyclists and pedestrians. There are certain traffic calming measures that may not be applicable for collector and arterial roadways with higher speed limits. Considerations are also made for emergency access, transit routes and DPW plowing operations.
Devices Not Included in Traffic Calming
Concerns about speeding traffic are often accompanied by requests for new stop signs, traffic signals, turn restrictions, speed limit signs and the like. These are not traffic calming devices, but rather regulatory traffic controls that are governed by either national engineering guidelines, state laws, or both.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) frequently receives requests for new stop signs to “slow down traffic” and “improve safety” on a local street. Not only are stop signs not a traffic calming measure, but research shows that installing unwarranted stop signs can often result in more collisions and more speeding. Drivers often increase speed between intersections to make up for perceived lost time.
Another common traffic-related request involves the lowering of posted speed limits on Longmeadow roadways. A posted speed limit is a regulatory control governed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) through a state approval process that requires documented speed and engineering studies. Conducting a study does not guarantee lowering the speed limit. Again, most research concludes that driver speed is less a function of posted speed limits and more a function of real or perceived driving conditions.
Children at Play, Slow Children, and Deaf Child signs are a common request for residential neighborhoods. These types of signs are non-standard. State and local entities follow the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is a document issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to specify standard traffic signs and pavement markings. Warning signs are intended to inform drivers of upcoming conditions of the roadway. According to a report conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, “there is no evidence that special warning signs of this sort reduce driver speeds or crash rates.” These signs may give parents a false sense of security that it is safe for children to play in the road. Drivers may be led to believe that there are no children in areas where these signs are not present. The MUTCD states “the use of warning signs should be kept to a minimum as the unnecessary use of warning signs tends to breed disrespect for all signs.”
● Traffic Calming, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Boston, MA, January 2006.
● Traffic Calming – State of the Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Washington, D.C., August, 1999.
● Project Development and Design Guide, Massachusetts Highway Department, Boston, MA, January 2006.
● Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington , D.C., May, 2012.
● Pennsylvania’s Traffic Calming Handbook, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, PA, 2012.
● CTC & Associates LLC. Effectiveness of “Children at Play” Warning Signs. Madison: WisDOT Research & Library Unit, 2007.