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Speed Limit Policy

Speed limits shall be established and posted as necessary for the purpose of providing motorist with the maximum allowable speed by law. Speed limits shall be established in accordance with Chapter 16 of the Greensboro Code of Ordinances covering "Motor Vehicles and Traffic" and in accordance with all other local, state and federal requirements and guidelines. Speed limits signs shall display the limit established by law, or regulation, after an engineering and traffic investigation has been made in accordance with established traffic-engineering practices.

Guidelines for Establishing Speed Limits

The Greensboro Department of Transportation's guidelines for the establishment of speed limits utilizes functional classification and traffic volumes to determine the level of detail needed when conducting an evaluation. The various types of classifications are Major Thoroughfare, Minor Thoroughfare, Collector, Sub-collector, Residential and Local.

The City's zoning map publication will be utilized in the identification of street classifications unless otherwise instructed by a Transportation Engineer. There are two types of guidelines within the GDOT Speed Zone Policy: "Residential Speed Zone Guidelines" and "Non-Residential Speed Zone Guidelines." The "Residential Speed Zone Guidelines" allow the posting of speed limits below the statutory speed limit of 35 MPH by a neighborhood petition process. The "Non-Residential Speed Zone Guidelines" involves a thorough engineering investigation and does not involve a petition process of any kind.

Residential Speed Zone Guidelines

Residential & Local Streets

When requested to lower the speed limit on a residential or local street GDOT will:

  • Review accident data to check for any apparent accident patterns or problems related to speeding traffic. (If a problem is identified, a petition is not needed. Use the more thorough procedures detailed for the "Non-Residential Speed Zones.")
  • If an accident problem is not apparent then, review the street(s) to determine if conditions permit the speed limit reduction. The following factors should be considered:
    • length of speed zone (goal of 1/2 or greater and minimum of 1/4 mile).
    • continuity within neighborhood street network
    • must not be a cut-through problem
    • must not be a state system street
  • Identify acceptable street(s) and send out a petition along with the "Residential Speed Zone Program" brochure to begin the process to lower the speed limit to 25 mph.
  • Upon receipt of the completed petition, verify that it contains the owner/occupant's signature of at least 75 percent of the dwelling units on the street. Once verified, write a work order to install the signs and update the traffic schedule accordingly.

Note: For state system streets, use the guidelines for non-residential speed zones. For cut-through problems, use the guidelines for sub-collector streets.

Sub-Collector Streets

When requested to lower the speed limit on a sub-collector street, GDOT will:

  • Review accident data to check for any apparent accident patterns or problems related to speeding traffic. (If a problem is identified, a petition is not needed. Use the more thorough procedures detailed for the "Non-Residential Speed Zones.")
  • Identify the streets to be analyzed. (Must not be a state system street)
  • Conduct a study to include the collection of speed and volume information and an analysis of all available accident data.
  • If the street carries less than 1,500 vehicles per day and traffic volumes are expected to remain at this level into the future, then treat the street as a residential street.
  • If the street carries more than 1,500 but less than 2,500 vehicles per day, traffic volumes are expected to remain at this level into the future, and the 85th percentile speed is:
    • Equal to or less than 35 mph, then begin petition process for 25 mph.
    • Greater than 35 mph, then provide the police with a copy of the speed study results and begin the petition process to post 35 mph signs.
  • If the street carries more than 2,500 vehicles per day, traffic volumes are expected to increase above the current level or it is a state system street, then follow the Non-Residential Speed Zone Guidelines.
  • Upon receipt of the completed petition, verify that it contains the owner/occupant's signature of at least 75 percent of the dwelling units on the street. Once verified, write the necessary work order to install the signs and update the traffic schedule accordingly.

Non-Residential Speed Zone Guidelines

Major/Minor Thoroughfare & Collector Streets (Also includes state system streets and streets with 2,500 vpd or more.)

When requested to lower the speed limit on a major/minor thoroughfare or collector street, GDOT will:

  • Educate the customer on the function of collectors and thoroughfares and explain how they differ from residential streets. Mail a brochure that describes the establishment of speed limits on major roadways.
  • Identify analysis area and determine if a traffic engineering study is appropriate.
  • If appropriate, conduct a traffic engineering study considering one or more of the following:
    • Speed & Volume Information
    • Accident Analysis Results
    • Design Speed
    • Ball Bank Indicator Survey
    • Sight Obstructions
    • Street Width
    • Presence of Sidewalks
    • Street Lighting
    • Pavement Markings
  • An engineering decision will be made based on the results of the study. Actions may include one or more of the following:
    • Provide police with results of speed study.
    • Post existing speed limit.
    • Post a reduced speed limit.
    • Implement speed watch program.
    • Improve any sub-standard items. (Sight obstructions, lighting, etc.)

Note: No petitions are to be involved with the establishment or posting of speeds on collector and thoroughfare roadways.

Last updated: 5/14/2011 2:54:47 PM