Programs

Neighborhood Traffic Management

Citizens of Charlotte frequently express their concerns regarding traffic speeds, pedestrian safety and other concerns in residential neighborhoods. The City established this neighborhood traffic management program to address these concerns. The program is a joint effort between the residents and the City to improve traffic safety in their neighborhoods.

Speed limits for thoroughfares and major collector streets are established based upon recognized engineering criteria related to roadway design. Some of the variables include street width, lane width, sight distance, number and type of driveways, and vertical/horizontal alignments. Changing conditions may dictate a review of posted speed limits from time to time. NCDOT is involved in the process on most thoroughfare streets. By State statute, streets within the Charlotte city limits have a speed limit of 35 mph unless otherwise posted. That includes neighborhood streets. 

 

By authority of the Director of Transportation or designee, as stated in NCGS 20-141, the posted speed limit for streets classified as local streets is 25 mph.  Streets classified as minor or major collectors by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) are eligible for 25 mph posted speed limit reduction unless they are designated as an Avenue, Boulevard, or Parkway on the Urban Street Design Guidelines (USDG) street classification map.

 

In cases where new streets are added to the centerline map or where street classifications are downgraded from a higher classification in the CRTPO, the USDG, or the Streets Map, CDOT will apply the respective posted speed limit if it meets the definitions in this section.

 

Citizens may call 311, submit a request online​, or mail to:

Charlotte Department of Transportation

Public Service Division

600 E. Fourth Street

Charlotte, NC 28202​

Neighborhood residents may request multi-way stop sign controls at intersections. The procedure for obtaining multi-way stops involves a multi-step process:

  1. The speed limit will be reduced on both streets to 25 MPH if not already posted
  2. A traffic study will be completed to verify current speeds and volumes of the road(s) and coordinate with Charlotte Fire Department for approval
  3. A petition will need to be completed to show neighborhood support, active HOA's can complete a similar process internally. HOA's must show neighborhood communication and support.
    1. A valid petition requires 60% of the property owners to sign
    2. The petition will encompass all property owners within 1200 linear feet of the proposed device
    3. 30-day appeal period will follow
  4. Implementation of device. All streets are placed on a prioritized list

These are designed to reduce cut-through traffic and may have some impact on speeding.

Requirements:

  1. Intersections cannot include thoroughfare streets and can be three-way or four-way
  2. The collective minimum volume for all intersecting streets must be at least 600 vehicles per day
  3. Collector streets not designated as Avenue, Boulevard, or Parkway in the USDG are eligible for multi-way stops.
  4. The 85th percentile speed of should be equal to or greater than 5 mph over the posted speed limit
  5. All intersecting streets must be posted at 25 mph.

To request a multi-way stop, submit a request online​ or call the CharMeck 311 Call Center at 311.

Speed humps are raised sections of the roadway constructed to reduce vehicular speeds.  Speed humps can be comfortably crossed at 20-25mph.  All requests are evaluated and placed on a waiting list if they meet qualifications.  Due to limited funding, the City Council has asked the Department to prioritize all qualifying requests based on speed levels and the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  At the end of the year, those qualifying for the next year's funding are sent a petition or worked through an active HOA.

Requirements:

  1. Street must be classified as a two-lane local residential street. 
  2. Street width must be less than or equal to 40 ft.
  3. Traffic volume must be at least 600 cars per day
  4. The 85th percentile speed should be equal to or greater than 5 mph over the posted speed limit
  5. Street should not be primary emergency services routes
  6. Requests for speed humps will be reviewed and analyzed by the Charlotte Fire Department for impacts to response time standards.  In cases where the installation of speed humps is determined to have a negative impact on emergency vehicle travel times, CDOT may exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to consider installation of speed cushions as an alternative to traditional speed humps.

The procedure for obtaining speed humps involves a multi-step process:

  1. The speed limit will be reduced on both streets to 25 MPH if not already posted
  2. A traffic study will be completed to verify current speeds and volumes of the road(s) and coordinate with Charlotte Fire Department for approval
  3. A petition will need to be completed to show neighborhood support, active HOA's can complete a similar process internally. HOA's must show neighborhood communication and support.
    1. A valid petition requires 60% of the property owners to sign
    2. The petition will encompass all property owners within 1200 linear feet of the proposed device
    3. 30-day appeal period will follow
  4. Implementation of device. All streets are placed on a prioritized list


​To request speed humps, citizens can call 311 or submit a request online.​ 

Certain neighborhood streets may be eligible for multiple traffic calming solutions.  If, after one type of neighborhood traffic calming option has been installed, a citizen or neighborhood desires to pursue additional traffic calming, they may request consideration of the other type in addition to the original device(s).  The minimum time between installation of the first device(s) and a secondary request is one year.  Upon request, CDOT will collect speed and volume data after one year to determine eligibility of the secondary installation. 

 

The same requirements specified above for speed humps and multi-way stops are the same, with the exception of traffic volume, which is a minimum of 1,500 vehicles per day on the affected street. All requests for multiple traffic calming installations will be analyzed by the Charlotte Fire Department for impacts to response time standards. 

 

If the secondary option is determined to meet the warrants set forth by CDOT, a post card notification to the impact area defined by CDOT will be permitted in lieu of a petition if the request is received less than 5 years from the date of the initial installation.  The secondary treatment will be approved if CDOT does not receive any public opposition.  Any owner of property within the defined impact area, or any other person reasonably affected by the change, may appeal traffic calming by filing a written notice of appeal with CDOT.  Written appeals must be received within 30 days. If CDOT receives any appeals, the requestor will be required to obtain neighborhood approval through an HOA letter of endorsement or a petition.

 

Citizens may call 311, submit a request online​, or mail to:

Charlotte Department of Transportation

Public Service Division

600 E. Fourth Street

Charlotte, NC 28202​


Any owner of property abutting a street within the defined impact area, or any other person reasonably affected by the change may appeal traffic calming by filing a written notice of appeal with CDOT.  Written appeals must be received within 30 days of implementation.

Appeals will be heard through a quasi-judicial proceeding before the Department of Transportation Director or Deputy Director, or a hearing officer designated by the Department of Transportation Director or Deputy Director.

The only issues that may be raised on appeal are:

  1. Whether there is a public justification for the change (Public justification is defined as meeting the department's volume and speeding criteria) and
  2. Whether the chosen method (petition or HOA) to gauge neighborhood consensus was properly completed as required by CDOT.

A decision on appeal shall be subject to review by proceedings in the nature of certiorari instituted in the Superior Court of Mecklenburg County within thirty days.  A certiorari appeal shall not automatically stay implementation of any proposed treatments.​

​Traffic circles are small landscaped circular islands placed in an intersection to provide geometric control to traffic on residential streets. Traffic circles provide control to traffic because they physically require motorists to slow down in order to maneuver around them.


Traffic circles reduce the number of angle and turning crashes. Traffic circles are effective at lowering vehicle speeds in their immediate vicinity.

Requesting a Traffic Circle
If you are interested in having a traffic circle in your neighborhood:

  • Click here or Call CharMeck 311 Call Center at 311
  • CDOT will evaluate your street to determine if a traffic circle is appropriate. Other traffic calming devices may be more effective in reducing your traffic problems.
  • Traffic circles are among the more expensive traffic calming devices. Considerable evaluation is required before a location can be approved for this treatment.

As with most CDOT traffic calming measures,  neighborhood approval is required by one of two methods:

  1. A letter of endorsement from the neighborhood association.  The neighborhood association will be required to notify affected property owners (as defined by CDOT) of the planned installation, and no petition is required, or
  2. If the neighborhood association does not support the proposed service, the resident can petition.  Petitions require signatures from at least 60% of property owners within the CDOT defined impact area.  If a petition is required, the CDOT will define the impact area and issue the petition forms.

For additional information, go to CDOT's petition process.

​The City of Charlotte completed its first roundabout in 2001 at the intersection of Nineth and Davidson Streets in the First Ward neighborhood.

A roundabout is an intersection design that uses a circular island rather than traffic signals or stop signs. This type of design encourages lower speeds as vehicles drive through the intersection.

The benefits of using a roundabout include:

  • Lower vehicle speeds
  • Fewer and less severe accidents
  • Increased pedestrian safety

Roundabout Rules:

  • Right in, Right out - Drivers enter and exit a roundabout by turning right. Once in a roundabout, all traffic travels in a counter-clockwise direction
  • Roundabout has Right-of-Way - Drivers within the roundabout have the right-of-way
  • Yield on Entry - Drivers entering the roundabout must yield to traffic until a safe opening is available

Roundabout Facts:

  • Roundabouts have no traffic signals to fail or maintain;
  • Drivers cannot "run the roundabout" like they can "run a red light!"
  • Roundabouts reduce the chance and severity of accidents
  • Roundabouts are pedestrian friendly and enhance the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods
  • They provide opportunity for beautification - landscaping in the center island will complement the surrounding area

The purpose of school speed zones is to reduce the speeds of vehicular traffic so that:

  • A shorter vehicle travel distance is required for a driver to recognize and react to situations requiring slowing, stopping, or evasive action.
  • Pedestrians, especially young pedestrians, can more accurately anticipate vehicular movements.

School speed zones in Charlotte will be set at 25 miles per hour.

They will operate from 45 minutes before school begins in the morning until 15 minutes after school begins and again 15 minutes before school is out in the afternoon until 30 minutes after school is out unless otherwise determined by the Department of Transportation.

School speed zones will be designated as follows:

  1. Local streets - On local streets the school speed zones will be the "background" speed zones. The base speed limit will be reduced to 25 miles per hour on the entire street or reasonable portion thereof.
  2. Elementary and middle schools fronting on other than local streets - For these streets, the school speed zones will be "standard"  school speed zones. A standard school speed zone will be established along the entire property frontage of elementary and middle schools on streets other than local streets. The zones will begin 100 feet in advance of each property line. When an elementary or middle school has no street frontage but has a driveway directly on a street other than a local street, the standard school speed zone will begin at the projection of the property line.
  3. Locations of Type I school crossings outside standard school zones - Reduced school speed zones will also be used beginning 200 feet in advance of Type I crossings on streets other than local streets outside the standard zones. (See School Crossing section of this program)
  4. High Schools - If an engineering evaluation reveals the need, school speed zones may be installed along the frontage of high schools with any of the following characteristics:
  • Fronting on streets with six or more through lanes
  • Fronting on streets with speed limits in excess of 35 
    miles per hour
  • Where more than 40 students must use a street other than a local street to walk to and from school or to wait for a City bus 

However, if a school traffic signal is in place along the frontage of the school in question, every effort should be made to address all issues with that method of traffic control before installing a reduced school speed zone.

In some instances, a combination of vehicular volume, pedestrian volume, pedestrian age, and street width require more than just a 25 mile per hour speed zone to aid pedestrians in crossing vehicular traffic. In these cases, designated school crossings may be added to the streets in the vicinity of the school.

Three different types of school crossings are used in the city of Charlotte. For all three school crossing types, a minimum of five school-age pedestrians should use the crossing. Otherwise, other measures such as extending bus routes to serve the very few walkers would be appropriate.
Type 1 - School crossing with speed zone
The Type 1 school crossing consists of a marked crosswalk, an adult crossing guard, and, if the crossing is located in a standard school speed zone, the establishment of a school speed zone 200 feet on each approach to the crossing. The minimum requirement for a Type 1 crossing addresses vehicular traffic volume and speed, pedestrian volume, and street width.
Type 2 - School crossing without speed zone The Type 2 school crossing consists of a marked crosswalk and an adult crossing guard. Unless the crossing is located in a standard school speed zone, the Type 2 school crossing does not include a school speed zone. The minimum criteria for a Type 2 crossing also address vehicular traffic volume and speed, pedestrian volume, and street width with special emphasis on pedestrians by age group.
Type 3 - School crossing with pedestrian traffic signal The Type 3 school crossing consists of a marked crosswalk, an adult crossing guard, and an actuated pedestrian signal which will operate during school arrival and dismissal only. The minimum criteria for a Type 3 crossing is five school-age pedestrians and a base (not considering the standard school speed zone) 85th percentile speed of 35 miles per hour or where there is less than one acceptable gap per minute.

Restrictions on establishing and Operating School Crossings There are instances in which a school crossing could cause more harm than good. Therefore, there are some instances in which school crossings should not be employed:

  • At no time should a school crossing be used as a device to control vehicular speed except as stated in the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Code at a bona-fide installation.
  • Unless protected by a school pedestrian traffic signal, school crossings should not be installed between intersections. Non-signalized, mid-block crossing locations present the driver with an unexpected situation for which she or he is not prepared. Furthermore, operation of a non-signalized, mid-block school crossing could adversely affect the operation of adjacent intersections.
  • Signalized intersections on a designated school walk route shall have pedestrian signals. If an intersection where a school crossing is established is subsequently signalized, all school crossing markings and signs may be removed.
  • School crossing signs and markings should not be established on approaches where traffic is controlled by stop sign.
  • School crossing signs and markings shall not be established within 600 feet of a signalized intersection, a four-way stop, or another school crossing when located on the same street.
  • A school crossing shall not be established at a location leading to an unprotected railroad track except at an established grade crossing.
  • A school crossing shall not be established at locations with inadequate sight distance.
  • School crossing guards shall be adults or school safety patrol. Adult guards are currently employed, trained, and supervised by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
  • The legal obligation of the guard is to choose adequate gaps in traffic to enforce the proper use of the crossing by school children. Therefore, guards shall not direct vehicular traffic unless authorized by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to do so. The guard should more properly concentrate his or her attention on controlling the students and choosing adequate gaps in traffic in which to cross them.
  • Neither school crossings nor crossing guards are used at high schools.

​Where the guidelines for school speed zones or school crossings are not met, other forms of traffic control may be appropriate:

  • Where a school crossing is not warranted, but young students, K-4, use the crossing location and conditions exist that would create a hazard should a child select an unacceptable gap, a crossing guard may be assigned to the crossing location and a Type 2 crossing installed. Furthermore, the crossing guard shall only assist the children in crossing safely and shall not attempt to direct traffic. This also applies to signalized intersections at which young students might misinterpret the pedestrian signals and need assistance. No special signs and markings are required at a signalized intersection at which a guard is assigned to help young children and there are crosswalks and pedestrian signals.
  • At high schools or at elementary and middle schools without a Type 3 crossing, a school traffic signal may be installed if the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Warrant 1A or 1B is met for one hour either before school arrival or after dismissal. The signal will operate 6 am to 11 pm.
  • Off-duty officers may be employed by schools to control traffic at schools with a permit from the City of Charlotte. The permit process is administered by CDOT.
  • As a standard, the SCHOOL pavement marking will be used at the beginning of every school speed zone. In the case of local streets and high schools, the SCHOOL pavement marking may be used where the speed zone would begin if it existed.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) will process requests from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' Safety Officer, a school principal, or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police School Coordinator for a school speed zone or for a school crossing. CDOT staff, together with an official of the school if the school so desires, will make an inspection of the location. This inspection will consider but not necessarily be limited to the following factors:

  • Physical conditions of the area
  • Vehicular volume, speed and other conditions pertaining to traffic
  • Proposed pedestrian walk plan for the area served by the crossing or speed zone (prepared by the school).

Upon consideration of the above information together with the report and recommendations of the staff, the Department of Transportation may approve or disapprove the school speed zone or school crossing. When it has been determined that a school speed zone or a school crossing is needed to reduce hazards and increase safety, plans will be prepared and the zone and/or crossing will be installed by the Department of Transportation.

School Busing Considerations

Because busing of students is a major factor in the number of school pedestrians in an area, and because busing schedules change yearly, the need for each established school speed zone or school crossing may be reviewed at the beginning of each school year. Those school zones and crossings which no longer meet minimum criteria should be removed.

​​To request a traffic calming remedy for your neighborhood, contact the CharMeck 311 Center at 311 or submit a request online. Since every neighborhood presents a unique set of circumstances, an Engineering Services Investigator will be assigned to each request.

Click here to view CDOT's Petition/HOA Process and Appeals 

​Note: If your request meets criteria for traffic calming, the evaluation can take from 30 days to four months depending upon which traffic calming device is selected.

Multiway stops usually take approximately 30 days, however, speed humps may take several months longer because speed humps are only installed once a year in the spring and summer.

Because of funding limitations, CDOT must prioritize all requests with a prioritization system based on speed levels and the amount of pedestrian and vehicular activity. Until all requests are received and evaluated, we cannot determine who will be invited to petition for speed humps.

In order to be approved for speed humps or multiway stop installations, neighborhood support is desired, and can be obtained by one of two methods:

  1. A letter of endorsement from the neighborhood association. The neighborhood association will be required to notify property owners within the impact area (as defined by CDOT) of the impending traffic calming measure, and no petition will be required, or

  2.  If the neighborhood association does not support the proposed service, the resident can petition. Petitions require signatures of 60% of all property owners within the impact area. If a petition is required, the CDOT will define the impact area, and issue the petition.  

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Additional Transportation Information​

Charlotte Truck Routes