The following is an except of the City of Houston’s Traffic & Engineering Departments view of traffic issues in and around the neighborhood.
If you would like to join the effort to support some of all of these issues please contact the Board to find out how you can help!
“We have done several data collection and traffic analyses around this area based on several conversations, and field meetings primarily with Mr. Robert B. Rapfogel. In general, the City of Houston per ordinance follows guidance and procedures included within the Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD). This document starts as a national level manual and the State of Texas tailors it to local conditions with minor adjustments. Using these guidance and procedure the City of Houston, Public Works and Engineering Department, Traffic Operations Division has created some Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) on how to investigate and analyze and implement consistent procedure in implementing all the things you mentioned on your message such as all-way stop intersections and parking restriction signs. For your reference I have attached two of these SOP’s.
There is one thing in your message that I would like to address in advance, that STOP signs actually will increase safety by reducing speed. In our experience and supported by various national level studies, the fact is STOP signs, particularly when not warranted, have the opposite effect. They create false sense of security to pedestrians and send the wrong message to drivers that the STOP sign is unnecessary because there are no vehicles in the opposing approaches which in turn increases running the STOP sign, or most commonly the rolling STOP. In addition, the 2011 version of the TMUTCD, Section 2B.04 Right-of-Way at Intersections, Paragraph 05 says “YIELD or STOP signs should not be used for speed control.”
In addition, the last time we collected speed data, the 85th percentile speeds were within acceptable range. I would attribute this finding because of parking on each side of the streets in the vicinity of the park and along Webster. We see parking on the streets as actually an integral part of the street system that has a calming effect on traffic which is beneficial to the driver and pedestrians.
Here below I will try to address your specific questions:
The City’s position on four way stop signs at each park intersection – what would be the primary obstacle to having these? (what would be the problem?)
Per the requirements of the TMUTCD and Traffic Operations Division SOP for all-way stop installation, minimum warrants are not met.
The City’s position about additional stop signs along West Webster (current stretch of no stop signs for 4-5 blocks from Taft to Wilson St., etc.)
Per the requirements of the TMUTCD and Traffic Operations Division SOP for all-way stop installation, minimum warrants are not met and STOP signs can’t be used for speed control.
City’s position about visibility around corners at intersections (“No parking signs”, etc. we realize some of these go missing, but we’d like your assistance to replace).
Per Mr. Rapfogel request, I actually have to go out personally to evaluate parking restrictions along Webster and other streets in the vicinity of the park. At that time we have verified that the current parking restrictions on record are appropriate. It is true signs do go missing and we desperately depend on citizens to identify missing signs. The best way to report signs is through 311 and we will check field conditions against our records and replace the missing signs.
We’d also encourage you to re-visit the park between 5:30-6:30 any day of the week and you will see the usage of the park, pedestrian circulation, and traffic. We are available to meet and discuss the issues as well. We are meeting with Councilmember Cohen on November 19th, so I’d like to be able to discuss these points with her then.
We will be more than happy to meet, but all the request that you have mentioned can be submitted through 311 and appropriate investigation that has been done will be reported again, or if there is noticeable change in traffic pattern, new study will be performed.”
Please check out the following documents: