Traffic Calming

Pedestrain Refuge Island
Making Your Neighborhood Safer and More Livable!

Traffic Calming is any device or program that is designed to discourage speeding, enhance livability and improve overall neighborhood traffic safety.

The City of Vancouver, working in conjunction with the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance (NTSA), offers a new Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program with tips and possible project opportunities for residents seeking to slow local traffic while creating a more livable community.

Things You and Your Neighbors Can Do

You can be instrumental in making your neighborhood more livable where pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists can move about the streets in harmony. Traffic management can be addressed at many different levels, both with short and long term solutions.

Talk with your Neighbors
Express your concerns to a neighborhood speeder and make a friendly request that the speeder drive more slowly. Contact Community Mediation Services for low cost assistance at (360) 344-5862 or Your Neighborhood Police Officer might also assist with a friendly reminder to neighborhood speeders to obey the speed limits. Visit for more details.

Call the Vancouver Police Department Traffic Complaint Hotline: (360) 487-7402
The Hotline is maintained by the Vancouver Police Department and allows citizens to leave a recorded message on specific traffic concerns. Your detailed message should include your name, address, phone number and location of problem (this gives the officer the ability to follow-up and gather more information on the complaint if needed). Please provide detailed information as to the specific time and day of the week when you observe the most speeding (include a 30 minute to 1 hour window when the issue occurs).

Participate in your Neighborhood Association
Work with your Neighborhood Association to identify problem areas and concerns. It is important to document this in an official Neighborhood Action Plan. You might also find that other neighbors have similar concerns or possible solutions. Contact the City of Vancouver’s Office of Neighborhoods at (360) 487-8608 or visit their Web site at:

Participate in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance (NTSA)
The Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance is a group of citizen volunteers from Vancouver neighborhoods who advocate for traffic safety throughout the community.  Vancouver residents are encouraged to participate in the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Alliance to learn more about traffic safety in their neighborhoods and become more involved in making the city a safer place to live.

Research More Information
Research traffic calming information on the Internet or at your local library, where a copy of Dan Burden’s Streets and Sidewalks, People and Cars (The Citizens’ Guide to Traffic Calming) can be found.

Plant Vegetation
Street trees and shrubs tend to slow motorists and beautify the street.

Trim Vegetation
Trim and maintain hedges near intersections to increase visibility.

Drive Less
Complaints of driver speeding and traffic volumes can be reduced over time as more of us adopt other ways of getting around. The City of Vancouver offers information to those who would like to try walking, biking, car sharing, carpooling or taking the bus. 

Things the City Can Do

Assist in Identifying the Issue
Transportation Services can help you identify your specific traffic concern. We ask that residents observe and clearly define the problem.

Verify Data
Transportation Services can verify road conditions, traffic speeds and traffic volumes on a specific street.

Install Signs
Approved traffic signs, where appropriate, can improve safety by warning motorists of approaching parks, schools and crosswalks. Please note that stop signs are not intended for use as traffic calming devices.

Stripe Roadways
Installing crosswalks and bike lanes can enhance road safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Tools that Can Help Slow Traffic

We appreciate your interest in traffic safety for your neighborhood. Speeding, cut-through traffic and other safety concerns can be addressed through traffic calming.

Curb Extension/Bulb-Out
A sidewalk bulge at an intersection or mid-block that narrows the street to reduce crossing distance for pedestrians, improve visibility for pedestrians and drivers, slow traffic and protect parked cars. See photo example at bottom of page. (Ex. 39th St. and Kauffman Ave.)

Landscape Treatments
Using landscaping, especially trees and shrubs, to provide separation between pedestrians and motorists, reduce street width and slow traffic.

Pedestrian Refuge Island
A concrete pad located in the middle of a street that provides protection for pedestrians crossing the street and slows passing vehicles. (Ex. W 39th St. and Daniels St.)

Raised Crosswalk
A speed hump combined with a sidewalk. In some cases, etched colored asphalt creates a brick appearance. (Ex. McLoughlin Blvd., near Hough Elementary School)

Speed Hump
A traditional traffic calming device consisting of a mound of pavement providing a physical impediment to speeding motorists. These are different from speed bumps, which are sharper obstacles found in parking lots. (Ex. Neighborhoods throughout Vancouver)

Speed Cushion
A split speed hump that allows fire engines and buses to pass unimpeded. (Ex. Evergreen Blvd., west of Blandford). The cushions are strategically placed and sized to allow vehicles with wider axles to pass over them without slowing down.

Traffic Circle
A circular, raised island in the middle of a traditional four-way intersection, essentially replacing two-way or four-way stop signs. Approaching vehicles yield to traffic already flowing counter-clockwise in the circle. (Ex. SE 196th Ave., north of 34th St.)

A narrow island in the middle of a wide street that increases pedestrian safety and separates and slows traffic. (Ex. SE 196th Ave., north of 34th St.)

Pinch Point
A narrowing of the street where planter strips (grassy areas along curbs) or curb extensions serve to slow traffic. (Ex. Main St., south of Fourth Plain)

Lane Narrowing
Travel speeds can be reduced by narrowing the travel lane by adding striping. Adding bike lanes or extending sidewalks are just two ways to narrow a street. (Ex. 160th Ave., south of Mill Plain)

Road Diet
Reducing the number of travel lanes so that the prudent driver sets a safe pace. The additional space allows for other alternatives such as medians, center turn lanes, wider sidewalks or bicycle lanes. (Ex. Fourth Plain, west of I-5)

Let's work as a team to improve traffic safety!

Speed Cushions
Curb Extension
Street Striping