Kalamazoo to roll out pilot traffic calming program

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Residents in Kalamazoo’s Northside Neighborhood have been complaining about cars speeding down their streets for several years.

The City of Kalamazoo is hoping to provide some relief with a new traffic calming pilot program getting underway later this summer.

“One of the biggest concerns we get when we go out to neighborhoods — whether it’s our neighborhood partners that we’re talking to or just some of the citizens on the street — is traffic calming and speeds and reckless driving,” Deputy City Manager Jeff Chamberlain told News 8 Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve heard that over and over again.”

The city will be installing “chicanes” on several streets on the Northside. The bump-outs will slow down traffic by making a slight weave to the traffic lanes. The city will install semi-permanent chicanes on 13 streets. If the project is successful, the program could expand to other parts of the city.

“They’re easier to put in (than speed bumps) and they’re cheaper to put in,” Chamberlain said about the decision to use the chicanes.

Data from the pilot project that will begin later this summer will be used in the decision-making process when it comes to the city’s work on its “Complete Streets” initiative.  

“We’re going to see how the traffic flows before and during this pilot program and use that information to see if they should be applied in other parts of the city,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain said chicanes are pretty common in municipal governments.

“You see them in other cities. Sometimes they’re just plastic, what we call delineators, that’s what we’re going to be using for the pilot program. Other times communities go permanent where they redesign the curbs and make the curbs bump-out these areas,” he said.

The city will host an open house Thursday at La Crone Park. There will be demonstrations of how the chicanes work every half hour from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Chamberlain encouraged attendees to wear masks and practice social distancing.

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