Speeding Concerns

Car speeding through Olympia neighborhoodReduce Speeding in your Neighborhood

The City of Olympia recognizes that traffic conditions directly affect the livability of neighborhoods. Residents want to feel safe and secure while they interact socially, bicycle, walk, and drive in their neighborhood.

When vehicle speeds and traffic volumes are excessive, not only does it affect safety, but neighborhoods can lose their sense of identity and community.

The City offers the following services to assist neighborhoods in reducing speeds.


Neighborhood Traffic Management Program

The City of Olympia does not have funding for the installation of traffic-calming devices. However, a Neighborhood-funded Traffic Management Program (NTMP) is available. This fast-tracked, do-it-yourself program helps residents sponor and install safe, affordable traffic-calming devices in their neighborhood.

With this program Neighborhoods take the lead, while the City assists with gathering input and support from neighbors, choosing the right traffic-calming devices, developing a traffic-calming plan and managing construction.

Any City street that is classified at a Neighborhood Collector or Local Access street qualifies for the program. To find the classification of your street, call 360.753.8565.

  1. Review the NTMP Roles & Responsibilities
  2. Learn about Approved Traffic Calming Devices (below)
  3. Contact Lee Keech at 360.753.8565 or by email to begin the process

Approved Traffic Calming Devices

14 Foot Speed Cushion14-foot speed cushions are traffic-calming devices that have a mounded shape. As a vehicle drives over the speed cushion, the vehicle rises and falls a height of 3 inches over a span of 14 feet. To accommodate large vehicles, such as fire trucks, wheel paths are designed into the device to allow these large vehicles to drive through, rather than over the device. This minimizes their effect on response times and equipment. The spacing of the wheel path prevents most passenger vehicles from by-passing the device.

This device works best in a series or in combination with other traffic-calming devices.

Advantages: Little or no effect on emergency service vehicles or response times. Reduces and can maintain lower speeds when used in a series.

Things to Consider: Need to accommodate for drainage. Increased street maintenance.

1 Lane Narrow PointA one-lane narrow point is a traffic-calming device that reduces the roadway width to one 12-foot travel lane for approximately 20 feet. The one lane requires drivers to take turns driving through the device. A one-lane narrow point creates a visual effect that makes the street more visually restrictive.

This device works well as an entrance treatment into a neighborhood to inform drivers they are transitioning from a higher speed facility to a low-speed, pedestrian-oriented area.

Advantages: Works well in combination with other devices. Works well on emergency services main response routes. This device can be installed with vegetation or landscaping.

Things to Consider: Where no sidewalks exist, vehicles share the same area used by pedestrians and bicyclists to navigate through the device. Need to accommodate for drainage. Increased street maintenance.

2 Lane Narrow PointTwo-lane narrow points are traffic-calming devices with raised center medians which create a visual affect that makes the street more visually restrictive. Unlike a one-lane narrow point, the two-lane narrow point accommodates two-way traffic.

This device works well as an entrance treatment to a neighborhood to inform drivers they are transitioning from a higher-speed roadway to a low-speed, pedestrian-oriented area.

Advantages: Works well in combination with other devices. Works well on emergency services main response routes. This device can be installed with vegetation or landscaping.

Things to Consider: Need to accommodate for drainage. Increased street maintenance.

Bulb OutBulb-outs are traffic-calming devices that narrow the street by widening the curb and sidewalk, landscaped planting strip, or parking area.

This device works well when constructed at intersections or at mid-block locations to make the street appear narrow, thereby reducing speeds.

Advantages: Reduces pedestrians' crossing distance. Improves pedestrian visibility for drivers. Narrowed lanes can help slow vehicles.

Things to Consider: Need to accommodate for drainage. Increased street maintenance.


Neighborhood Speed Watch Program

The Olympia Neighborhood Speed Watch Program is a volunteer public awareness program that promotes traffic safety. Trained neighborhood and community volunteers use a digital display to make drivers aware of their speeds.

Speed watch volunteers record speeds and notify registered owners if their vehicle was observed being driven in excess of the speed limit. Through this program, concerned citizens have an active role in helping to solve speeding problems in their neighborhood through awareness and information.

  1. Request Speed Watch: City of Olympia residents only - Call the Olympia Police Department at 360.753.8300 to volunteer and initiate a Neighborhood Speed Watch Program in your neighborhood.
  2. Get training: Individuals and groups who wish to proceed with the program are briefed on the requirements expected of them, such as proper data collection, use of equipment, and the proper behavior of the participants while conducting the data collection.
  3. Schedule a time to use the radar equipment: Working together, neighborhood residents schedule a time to collect data. This usually happens during various days and times when residents feel speeding is the worst.
  4. Forward information to Washington State Department of Motor Vehicles: City staff send license numbers of speeding vehicles to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Olympia for a list of registered owners and vehicle descriptions. The official description of the vehicle (received from DMV) will be cross-checked with the description of the vehicle given by the citizens.
  5. Letters mailed to violators: A letter from the Olympia Police Department is then sent to the registered owners of all matched vehicles. The letter advises them of the observed violation and encourages them to drive at or below the speed limit when traveling on neighborhood streets.

*This is a Public Awareness Program and notices to registered owners do not constitute notice of violation, go on driving records or impose a fine.


What We Don't Do

The City does not install Stop signs or Children at Play signs as a way to control neighborhood speeds. Studies have shown that both types of sign are ineffective at reducing speeds, and can create a false sense of security.