The City of Murfreesboro recently installed traffic speed cushions on Alexander Boulevard to slow traffic on the busy stretch of roadway in a residential neighborhood.
The City Engineering Department has developed a “Speed Cushion Pilot Program” for specifically approved neighborhood projects aimed at reducing traffic speed. It followed the City Council’s adoption of a traffic calming program two years ago to address speeding in residential neighborhoods.
“The Speed Cushion Pilot Program is designed to make strategic changes to heavily traveled streets to reduce speed and enhance pedestrian safety,” said Assistant City Engineer Michele Emerson. “The City Council decided to initiate a pilot program to test out speed devices in some areas and is committed to street improvements specifically designed to improve traffic safety.”
The Alexander Boulevard neighborhood made application for traffic calming and met the specification for the speed reduction study. Neighborhoods must apply and meet City specifications before a study of an area can be conducted. The City Engineering Department decided to use the Alexander Boulevard location for the Speed Cushion Pilot Program
Alexander Boulevard is a long straight road which enables motorists to pick up speed and is used as a cut-through by many motorists.
“We also use bike lanes and roundabouts as traffic calming techniques, but those devices are not applicable to every area and speed cushions may work better in areas such as Alexander,” added Emerson.
The speed cushions were installed in sets of three separate pieces approximately every 500 feet between Tennessee Blvd. and Dejarnette Lane.
“There is one on each lane and one in the middle designed so emergency vehicles such as fire trucks can straddle the cushions and not be slowed in responding to an emergency. Emergency response is a concern with speed bumps, a device that reduces speed traffic even further than speed cushions,” added Emerson.
Speed cushions slow traffic speed to 15 to 20 mph while speed bumps slow traffic to 2 to 5 mph and are often used in parking lots and parks.
After installing the speed cushions in February, a six-month study is being conducted to gauge neighborhood and motorist reaction. After the study period, the City will decide if the use of speech cushions will be continued and installed in other locations.
Letters have been mailed to all residents who live along Alexander Boulevard with an e-mail address to send-in comments. The City encourages residents to provide feedback about speed cushions as the Engineering Department decides whether the program should be expanded.
Questions about road improvement projects, the public is encouraged to email City Engineer Chris Griffith or call (615) 893-6441.