Changes are in store for the East End’s North Euclid Avenue. Vehicles and cyclists may have noticed yellow traffic poles set up in circles guiding them around four intersections along the avenue that stretches from Highland Park to East Liberty. These additions are called neighborhood traffic circles.

This July, MoveForwardPGH, an initiative of the City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI), installed the pilot neighborhood traffic circles at four intersections: Callowhill Street, Hampton Street, Hays Street, and Rippey Street. Modeled on similar traffic circles used in other cities throughout the U.S., they are essentially mini roundabouts—a traffic calming tactic used to slow down vehicles at minor intersections on residential streets with low volumes. MoveForwardPGH writes on their Instagram page that “they are a great option for slowing vehicle speeds and diverting cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets.”

“We’re tasked with calming traffic in key locations to reduce speed and make sure people have safe alternatives to get where they need to go,” said Kimberly Lucas, Assistant Director of DOMI. “We’ve needed to expand the tools in our toolkit, so we’re looking at successful interventions from cities across the country. One successful device we’ve found are these neighborhood traffic circles.”

The selection of the traffic circles as a traffic calming tactic for North Euclid resulted from a combination of community input and data analysis. Speeds in the area did not warrant the use of speed humps so the traffic circles offered an alternative solution to addressing dangerous intersection collisions and reckless driving.

The four locations were chosen because they each represent different intersection scenarios that the City would like to test, such as Port Authority buses at Callowhill Street and a higher volume of traffic at Rippey Street.

“We eventually plan to traffic calm North Euclid Avenue in its entirety, but we wanted to pilot the idea first,” said Lucas.

During the pilot, MoveForwardPGH will be meeting with various stakeholders including emergency responders, snowplow operators, Pittsburgh Public Schools, representatives from the American with Disabilities Act taskforce and community members.

The pilot neighborhood traffic circles are designed to be temporary and are constructed with reflective paint, flex posts, and temporary sign poles. The final permanent design will consist of a sloped mountable concrete curb, space for planting in the center and a standard signpost. The temporary circles at these four locations give the City a chance to monitor and make any necessary adjustments before making them permanent.

MoveForwardPGH will be using on-site observation, feedback from residents and stakeholders, temporary radar units to measure speed and temporary cameras to understand how people, particularly large vehicles such as buses, are responding to the intervention.

The pilot’s active data collection is scheduled to run for one month and conclude in early August. Pending results of evaluation, the final circle designs may be modified and otherwise installed in fall 2020.

MoveForwardPGH is an initiative to rapidly implement the City’s brand new Bike(+) Plan.

“One tool outlined in the plan is ‘traffic calming’, because if a road is slowed down, it’s not only safer for bicyclists, but it’s safer for pedestrians, drivers and residents on the street,” Lucas noted. “Basically, we can achieve multiple goals, while also helping create a well-connected bike network.”

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*Photos courtesy of Bike Pittsburgh