The Neighborhood Speed Management Program (NSMP) program is part of the City of Boulder’s prioritization of safe transportation. The city strives to keep its streets, sidewalks and paths safe for all modes of transportation.

NSMP implements engineering, education and enforcement to slow speeding traffic on residential streets. This program supports Vision Zero, the city’s goal to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

The NSMP accepts applications from community members year-round. More information on planned and implemented projects, as well as how to apply and application status is below.

Upcoming Virtual Neighborhood Forum

Join an upcoming Virtual Neighborhood Forum on Sept. 30 to learn more about NSMP traffic-calming projects proposed for the following locations:

  • South 32nd Street (Ash Avenue - Dartmouth Avenue)
  • Lincoln Place (Baseline Road - Cascade Avenue)
  • Lincoln Place (College Avenue - Euclid Avenue)

Learn more and register for the event

NSMP Sept 30 forum

Apply for the Neighborhood Speed Management Program

Application materials

City staff accepts NSMP applications year-round and evaluates them on an annual basis. The next deadline for application evaluation will be in late spring 2020. Please use the links below to access the online application and neighborhood petition.

Eligibility

Neighborhood petition

  • All applications requesting engineering treatments (such as speed humps and traffic circles) must include a neighborhood petition with signatures from 20 neighbors or 30 percent of households on the same block, whichever is less.

What to expect

  • Staff will review and rank applications requesting engineering treatments based on the criteria laid out in the NSMP final guidelines. All applicants will be notified of the ranking. Staff will then present a list of prioritized projects to the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) for review.

  • All applicants are eligible to receive educational materials and enforcement in their neighborhood.

  1. Projects with engineering treatments will be categorized as "simple" or "complex"
    • Simple projects are those that are expected to have a localized impact on reducing speeds, address speeding issues on a short segment of a non-critical emergency response route and have little effect on traffic diversion. They are also anticipated to cost less than or around $15,000. Simple projects will be implemented by staff after a recommendation by the Transportation Advisory Board.

    • Complex projects may include impacts to neighboring streets or other travel modes, be located on a designated critical emergency response route and cost more than $15,000. Complex projects must receive a recommendation to proceed from the Transportation Advisory Board and must also be approved by City Council.

Application Status

If you’ve applied for the NSMP and would like to know the status of your application, look below for the date you submitted your application to find out its status.

  • Applications are currently being accepted through Sept. 3, 2021. Applications received after this date will be evaluated in 2022.

  • If you submitted an application by Feb. 26, 2021, and staff categorized your project as a simple project, your application is currently on the NSMP Simple Project list. Staff is currently planning the top six simple projects to be installed in 2021.

  • If you submitted an application by Feb. 26, 2021, and staff categorized your project as a complex project, your application is currently on the NSMP Complex Project list. Staff began planning the Whittier NSMP Complex Project in August 2021.

  • If you submitted an application between Mar. 1, 2021, and Sep. 3, 2021, staff is currently evaluating your application. Applications that qualify for engineering will be prioritized by the Transportation Advisory Board at their November and December 2021 meetings.
  • Applications submitted after Sep. 3, 2021, will be evaluated beginning in Spring 2022.

Staff email regular updates to all applicants with updates on the program and what to expect in the coming months. Sign up to receive email updates.

2021 NSMP Projects

Staff is planning the simple projects listed below. The projects will be presented to the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) in Fall 2021. Project plans will be added here soon.

NSMP Engineering Toolkit

To help ensure that neighborhoods are safe and comfortable places, the NSMP focuses on education, enforcement, and engineering to slow drivers down. The toolkit below focuses on the engineering component of the program, also known as traffic calming. Traffic calming is an active attempt to control vehicle speeds through the engineering and design of the roadway.

The toolkit below includes the variety of devices that can be used to physically slow down vehicles. Some of these devices may be more appropriate than others depending on the neighborhood and street conditions, as well as the need for emergency services to use a route.

More information on the variety and effectiveness of different traffic calming devices can be found below.

Edgewood Speed Cushion

Purpose

Speed humps and speed cushions are designed to slow vehicles with a vertical change in pavement. They are parabolic in shape, typically between 3 and 4 inches tall and 12 feet wide. They extend to the edge of the gutter on each side of the street, or the edge of the pavement where there is no curb and gutter.

Speed cushions differ from speed humps by including gaps to allow the wheels of larger vehicles such as fire trucks or transit vehicles, or bicycles, to pass through the device unimpeded. The gaps are spaced so that passenger vehicles and small trucks will need to drive over the cushions.

Effectiveness

  • Speed humps and cushions can be effective in reducing vehicular speeds up to 20%
  • Speed humps are most effective on local, non-emergency routes
  • Speed cushions may be effective on collector roadways and emergency routes

Advantages

  • Immediately effective at reducing speeds for all passing vehicles
  • Fairly inexpensive to install and maintain
  • Can design for specific speed

Disadvantages

  • Significant impact on emergency response times and slows transit service
  • May divert traffic to other street
  • Noise from braking, acceleration, and traversing
  • Can feel unpleasant to traverse, especially for people with some medical conditions

Cost

$2,000 - $5,000 per speed hump or cushion

Raised crosswalk

Purpose

Raised crosswalks and intersections are defined by a vertical rise in the crosswalk or intersection that is designed to slow traffic. Raised crosswalks and intersections incorporate what is known as a speed table, which is like a flat topped speed hump that is up to 22 feet wide. For a raised crosswalk, this includes pavement markings and signs to help pedestrians and drivers recognize the crosswalk. For a raised intersection, the entire interior area of the intersection is raised creating a plateau, with ramps on all the intersection approaches (or legs).

Effectiveness

  • Raised crosswalks (speed tables) can be effective in reducing vehicular speeds up to 20%
  • Raised intersections have limited effectiveness in speed reduction, but may be effective in promoting pedestrian safety at locations with multiple crosswalks

Advantages

  • Raised crosswalks are immediately effective at reducing speeds for all passing vehicles
  • Both can improve driver compliance with yielding to people in the crosswalk(s)

Disadvantages

  • Significant impact on emergency response times and slows transit service
  • Can impact drainage infrastructure and increase costs
  • Noise from braking, acceleration, and traversing
  • Can feel unpleasant to traverse, especially for people with some medical conditions
  • May divert traffic to other street

Cost

  • $10,000 - $20,000 for one raised crosswalk, $50,000 - $100,000 for one raised intersection

Purpose

Medians and crossing islands create a visually narrow space for cars on the road and increase the visibility of people crossing to drivers. They can include a horizontal shift in the driver's path which can cause drivers to slow down when they are parallel to or passing the median or island.

Effectiveness

Medians and crossing islands can reduce speeds up to 15%

Advantages

  • Can provide space for placemaking, landscaping, and neighborhood gateways
  • Can shorten the distance for people crossing the street
  • Can be built to minimize impact to emergency response

Disadvantages

  • Lower design speed is more effective at slowing traffic, but is also more impactful to emergency response
  • Higher cost especially if landscape elements are included

Cost

$10,000 - $40,000 per median or island, depending on size and length

Curb extensions

Purpose

Curb extensions include curb bulb-outs, chokedowns, and chicanes. A curb bulb-out is a horizontal extension of the sidewalk, located at a crosswalk, that narrows the roadway. Bulb-outs are usually built in pairs to maximize effect. A chokedown is a pair of curb extensions but is usually mid-block, intended to slow down approaching vehicles. A chicane is a series of curb extensions that create alternating curve shifts, causing a driver to travel in a path curving back and forth.

These devices create a visually narrow space on the roadway for cars or create deviations in a straight travel path to reduce speed. When used near pedestrian crossings, curb extensions can be used to prevent people from parking too close to the crosswalks and can shorten the distance of the crosswalk.

Effectiveness

  • Bulb-outs and chokedowns can reduce speeds up to 10%
  • Chicanes can reduce speeds up to 20%

Advantages

  • Can provide space for placemaking, landscaping, and neighborhood gateways
  • Can be used to prevent people from parking close to crosswalks, providing more visibility for people using a crosswalk
  • Can shorten the distance for people crossing the street

Disadvantages

  • Must be clearly marked to alert drivers of the change in the roadway
  • May divert traffic to another street
  • Lower design speed is more effective at slowing traffic, but is also more impactful to emergency response
  • Depending on design, the device can impact drainage and increase installation costs

Cost

$10,000 - $40,000 per extension

traffic circle

Purpose

Traffic circles are located in the middle of unsignalized intersections, and are usually used with yield signs causing the driver to slow down on approach rather than coming to a full stop. Traffic circles slow down drivers as they maneuver around the circle, whether they are traveling straight through the intersection or turning right or left. The circle, which is a raised island that may include landscaping, creates a narrowed path and causes vehicles to shift out of a straight travel pattern through the intersection. Traffic circles are different from roundabouts in that they can be installed in existing intersections and do not require lane splitter islands on the approaches (intersection legs).

Effectiveness

Traffic circles can be effective in reducing vehicular speeds between 10% - 15%, depending on design

Advantages

  • Can provide space for placemaking, landscaping, and neighborhood gateways
  • Effectiveness for reducing speeds depends on the diameter of the circle and radius of the turn for vehicles.
  • Usually does not impact roadway drainage

Disadvantages

  • Must be clearly marked to alert drivers of the change in the roadway
  • Lower design speed is more effective at slowing traffic, but is also more impactful to emergency response
  • Forces cars and bicycles to share space as they pass through the intersection
  • Crosswalks may be impacted if they are close to the intersection
  • May divert traffic to other/adjacent streets

Cost

$15,000 - $50,000 per traffic circle, depending on size, construction materials, and landscaping

Radar

Purpose

Radar speed signs display the speed of a person driving as they approach the sign, raising awareness of speed and encouraging the driver to slow down.

Effectiveness

Radar speed signs can reduce speeds up to 10% after installation, but their effectiveness decreases over time

Advantages

  • Provides active feedback to people driving, which may discourage inattentive speeding
  • No impacts to emergency response times

Disadvantages

  • Device is not delay-inducing, and has limited effectiveness at reducing speeds
  • Considerable long-term maintenance costs

Cost

One sign display can cost between $5,000 - $10,000, but they are most effective in pairs

diverter

Purpose

A diagonal diverter is a barrier that is placed through the center of an intersection, creating 2 two-way intersections out of 1 four-way intersection. A diagonal diverter causes a driver to turn either right or left depending of their direction of travel, but does not allow through traffic. Gaps or cutouts in the middle of the diverter can allow pedestrians and cyclists to continue travel through the intersection where it is restricted for vehicles.

Full and half closures restrict access at an intersection; full closures completely restrict vehicular access in both directions, whereas a half closure allows access in one direction but not the other. A half closure effectively creates a one-way street at the point of the closure.

Effectiveness

  • Diagonal diverters may have limited effectiveness in reducing speeds depending on the location, but are effective in reducing traffic volumes
  • Full closures may have limited effectiveness in reducing speeds depending on the location, but are effective in reducing traffic volumes
  • Half closures can be as effective as curb extensions in reducing speed (that is what is usually used to restrict access), and also reduce traffic volumes

Advantages

  • Can be used to discourage or restrict non-local or cut through traffic in neighborhoods
  • May enhance travel for pedestrians and bicyclists by reducing traffic volumes and allowing access where cars are restricted
  • Can provide space for placemaking, landscaping, and neighborhood gateways

Disadvantages

  • Restricts access for all vehicles
  • Significant impact on emergency response times
  • Depending on design, the device can impact drainage and increase installation costs
  • Diverts traffic to other/adjacent streets

Cost

$15,000 - $45,000 per diverter or closure, depending on design

Purpose

On-street parking is dedicated space for the storage of personal vehicles. Parking curbside on the street creates side friction to traffic flow, and effectively narrows the roadway width which can create a similar effect as a curb extension. On-street parking can be on either or both sides of the street, and zones can be continuous or staggered to create the feeling of a chicane. On-street parking can be parallel parking or angled parking.

Effectiveness

Depending on the usage and length of the parking zone, effectiveness may be limited or may be as effective as roadway narrowing.

Advantages

  • Can be a low-cost way to traffic calm a street if parking demand results in high usage of the parking zone
  • Provides the community space for the storage of private vehicles
  • Can provide revenue through pricing

Disadvantages

  • May not be effective if parking demand is low
  • May create additional collisions with cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians as vehicles enter and exit the parking zone
  • Reduces efficiency of the through lane as vehicles enter and exit the parking zone

Cost

The cost of on-street parking can be minimal if a zone is created through signs; costs increase with revenue infrastructure (pay stations), pavement markings, enforcement, and paired traffic calming (like curb bulb-outs).