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Neighborhood Traffic Management Program

Late in 2014, the Town embarked upon a project to develop a Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) to help the Town manage and address neighborhood traffic issues such as speeding and cut through traffic. The NTMP is a policy document that will be designed with the help of the Town Council, community, and affected Town resources so that the list of improvements provided in the tool box available are reflective of the their needs. 

The Town is served by north-south arterial corridors El Camino Real, Middlefield Road and Alameda De Las Pulgas. Because east-west access throughout Town is handled by streets that have residential frontage, complaints regarding speeding and cut through traffic are prevalent. Access to the north-south corridors can be difficult and congestion during peak periods creates the potential for cut through traffic utilizing local streets. The existing roadway network, lack of east-west collector streets, and long straight local street segments creates the desire to manage local streets with a combination of the four (4) E’s, Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Encouragement. The NTMP program is intended to help the Town staff and local law enforcement implement the 4 E’s as projects are identified and funded.

The City Council awarded a contract to the Engineering firm, Hatch Mott MacDonald, in April of 2015 to make recommendations and prepare the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP). 


The Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) is an important policy document which provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, and systematic program to address neighborhood traffic concerns, improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and maintain the scenic and quiet rural character of Atherton neighborhoods.  It is a community-based approach to reduce vehicle speeds and improve the behaviors of drivers to “calm” traffic in residential neighborhoods.

Town staff has the authority to implement necessary traffic control measures.  The NTMP does not affect staff authority to implement necessary traffic control measures in residential neighborhoods in response to observed traffic safety concerns.  The NTMP is an additional tool which provides a systematic framework to educate and encourage residents to participate in identifying and implementing equitable and effective neighborhood traffic solutions. 

There are no single answers or solutions to the emotional issues of excessive vehicle speeds on residential streets.  There are also varying opinions regarding appropriate solutions and the installation of devices to calm neighborhood traffic.  All successful Neighborhood Traffic Management Programs includes involvement of the affected neighborhoods to identify and agree on neighborhood traffic problems and then take responsibility for the solutions.  Accordingly, an important program element includes criteria which must be met to qualify for the NTMP along with a survey mechanism to insure a high level of neighborhood support prior to the installation of any devices or improvements.  This NTMP provides a framework for the selection, application, and implementation of traffic calming improvement measures in the Town of Atherton.

Current Status

The process involves steps to identify the residents’ traffic concern(s), demonstrate neighborhood support for traffic calming measure(s), to determine if the traffic concerns meet the NTMP qualifying criteria, to identify (by Town staff) the most appropriate and effective improvement measure(s), and to prioritize and implement the plan. 

The process is initiated by a request from a resident to resolve a speeding and/or traffic problem in their neighborhood.  The requestor must complete a Neighborhood Action Request Form(NARF), describing the problem, its location and suggested improvement to remedy the problem.  A Getting Started Packet provides a summary of the NTMP, a description of neighborhood traffic management devices, and the Neighborhood Action Request Form. The NTMP Policy is also available for review.

NTMP Program Goals

The Town of Atherton establishes its NTMP with a number of goals as follows:

  • Improve local residents’ sense of well-being about their neighborhood streets and enhance traffic safety in residential areas.
  • Incorporate the preferences and interests of residents into the design and operation of streets within their neighborhoods.
  • Provide objective criteria to help Town staff identify and prioritize projects.
  • Provide residents of residential streets with protection and relief from disproportionate traffic increases.
  • Provide a NTMP format that is responsive and equitable to all neighborhoods in the Town of Atherton.
  • Ensure the program is cost effective by encouraging high standards of acceptance before measures are implemented.
  • Clearly state procedures to provide clarity to the process and the basis for determining appropriate measures.  

NTMP Program Objectives

The objectives of the NTMP are as follows:

  • Provide a format for citizen involvement and collaboration in identifying traffic concerns and objectives, as well as traffic management measures that best suit the needs of their neighborhood.
  • Provide a process that includes clear opportunities for members of the affected community to provide input on the recommended plan prior to its implementation.
  • Integrate engineering, enforcement, and education initiatives to encourage positive driver behavior in residential neighborhoods.
  • Improve neighborhood livability by encouraging compliance with designated speed limits.
  • Discourage cut-through traffic within residential neighborhoods.
  • Maintain capacity and facilitate traffic flow on the Town’s arterial and collector roadway network.
  • Effectively balance public safety interests including traffic mitigations and emergency response. In other words, recommend neighborhood traffic improvement plans that clearly address provisions for emergency response

Prior Presentations:

July 15, 2015 City Council Presentation 

For More Information Contact:

Atherton Town Engineer
Marty Hanneman