The Traffic Engineering Division provides design and coordination for the traffic control system to insure the safe and efficient movement of traffic throughout the City. This is handled through the design and implementation of traffic signals, signing, and pavement markings within the City limits. Traffic Engineering evaluates requests for pavement markings, signs, and traffic signals in accordance with standard engineering practices, with the safety of motorists and pedestrians as a priority.
The City maintains over 270 traffic signal installations. The downtown computerized signal system controls 131 signals in the downtown grid and on Broad River Road . Signal systems are also in operation on Harden Street , Devine Street/Garners Ferry Road, Rosewood Drive , Huger Street , and Harbison Boulevard . Coordination of these signals to optimize traffic flow requires a large amount of data regarding traffic volumes during various periods of the day. To provide this data, the Traffic Engineering Division periodically conducts turning movement counts at signalized intersections in the area to insure that signal timing and coordination is appropriate for current conditions.
To provide flexibility in traffic system control, the City is currently in the process of upgrading the existing traffic signal coordination equipment in the Columbia area. Using federal and state matching funds, the Traffic Engineering Division is currently directing the construction of a new, upgraded signal system in the downtown area designing computerized traffic signal systems to be installed on Harden Street , Harbison Boulevard , Garners Ferry Road , Two Notch Road , Forest Drive , and Rosewood Drive . These systems will allow central control of traffic signals on these roadways to provide better coordination and more efficient traffic flow.
In response to individual citizen requests, the Traffic Engineering Division conducts studies to address the concerns of citizens and improve the safety and efficiency of traffic flow in the City. Studies are based on state and federal requirements for traffic control devices such as traffic signals, speed limit and warning signs, and pavement markings. These investigations can require a significant amount of data collection. For example, to determine the need for a traffic signal, a six to eight- hour manual turning movement count must be conducted at an intersection, followed by a review of accident history over the past three years. This data must then be compared to state and federal requirements to determine the appropriate intersection control.
NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC CONTROL
In response to concerns of citizens regarding traffic volume and speeds in residential areas, the City of Columbia has instituted a process whereby neighborhood traffic control needs can be addressed. This process has been utilized successfully in many areas of the City to allow adequate access for vehicular traffic while maintaining a safe environment for pedestrians.
Neighborhood Traffic Control Projects Policy
The City of Columbia 's street lighting policy provides for the lighting of Public Streets in the City. Each request for street lighting is investigated by the City to determine if additional street lighting is warranted. If new street lighting is warranted, a petition is circulated to determine if at least 75% of the property owners affected by the light approve of the installation. If this approval is received, the light is installed.
Street Light Requests................................... 545-3850
This activity serves as City Electrician who maintains City buildings, properties, parks, ball fields, and supports special events such as street festivals, cultural events, parades, and Christmas displays.
The City permits banners to be displayed over certain major routes in the downtown area to promote events meeting criteria established by City Council. Scheduling and hanging of the banners are handled by the Traffic Engineering Division. Locations, fees, and other criteria are detailed on the Banner Application form. Click here to download the Banner Application.
City Traffic Engineer
David Brewer............................................................. 545-3850
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Robert Lee................................................................. 545-3850
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Assistant City Traffic Engineer
Ron Armstead........................................................... 545-3850
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Neighborhood Traffic Control Projects Policy
Initial Request - either from a neighborhood association or groups of concerned citizens. The request may be directed to the City's Traffic Engineering Division or to the City Manager's office. The problem areas should be identified as specifically as possible in order to insure the appropriate data is collected. The request will also be forwarded to officials of the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT), as many residential streets in the City are State-maintained. A meeting will be held between City officials (Council members and City staff), SCDOT, and representatives from the neighborhood.
Traffic Investigations - The City's Traffic Engineering Division conducts traffic volume/speed surveys at strategic locations in the neighborhood. The results are compiled on a map of the neighborhood detailing City and State-owned roadways.
Neighborhood Consultations - Results of the traffic data collection are provided to the neighborhood association, City Council, and to SCDOT. Based on the data, specific locations for traffic control changes are identified by the neighborhood. Once the neighborhood association reaches a consensus regarding the changes, another meeting is held between the neighborhood association, the City, and SCDOT to work out the details of the proposed changes.
Submission to SCDOT - Upon City Council approval, the proposal is prepared in map form and submitted to the SCDOT District Engineering Administrator. The information is reviewed and either approved or revised and returned to the City.
Final Review - The final proposal is provided to the neighborhood association for their review, and, if a consensus is reached for approval, the plan is given final approval by City Council.
Implementation - The items outlined in the final plan are implemented by City staff. The Police Department is notified of the changes so that a coordinated enforcement effort can accompany the new traffic control.
Follow-Up Studies - After a reasonable period of time (a minimum of three weeks) for motorists to become accustomed to the changes, traffic volume/speed surveys are again conducted to determine the effect of the traffic control project. This information is evaluated by City and SCDOT staff, and if necessary, additional action may be taken.