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Engineering Department

General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What We Do

The role of the Engineering Department is to provide the services to plan, design and manage the construction and reconstruction of public infrastructure. The Engineering Department is responsible for overseeing the design of public improvements of city streets, water and wastewater system improvements and new installations, subdivision design review and provides the final authority for infrastructure inspections. The Engineering Department prepares and oversees all public bidding processes for infrastructure contracts, prepares and updates the City Standard Specification and Improvement Drawings, provides information to the City Council as requested.

In addition, the department will interface with county, state and federal agencies which have oversight responsibilities for projects within the city. This department works closely with the Public Works Department on all city-funded projects and with the Planning Department on all new subdivision developments.

Traffic Information

Traffic Studies & Pedestrian Safety

The City of Hailey has worked, and will continue to work, closely with Hailey citizens and ITD to address traffic concerns and pedestrian safety. The city's consultant, The Transpo Group, has completed the draft Transportation Plan (see links below). Comment from the public is always welcome and concerned citizens should contact the City Engineer. The study addresses all modes of transportation: pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle. This work is being continued with the Planning Department in preparing a Complete Streets Plan to revise city design standards for city streets.

View the January 2007 Public Meeting Presentation by The Transpo Group.
Draft Transportation Master Plan
Appendix A - Existing Conditions
Appendix B - Background Plans and Studies
Appendix C - Advisory Committee Meeting Notes
Appendix D - Main and River St. Design Concepts
Appendix E - Design Guidelines
Appendix F - Street Maintenance Plan

Highway 75 Information

Street Maintenance

The Street Department performs crack sealing, striping of certain streets and has an annual chip seal program to protect the city's investment in streets.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can we have stop signs placed at intersections in our neighborhood to reduce speeding?

A.  We get many complaints from people in residential areas about cars speeding in their neighborhoods. They often ask us to install more stop signs. This concern is very understandable. Unfortunately, adding stop signs may not be the best solution. In fact, you may be surprised to learn, adding stop signs can sometimes make the problem worse. Here is why:

Stop signs don't always slow traffic.

Strange as it may seem, installing stop signs may not result in reduced traffic speeds. Studies have shown that stop signs are not effective at controlling drivers' speeds between intersections. In fact, motorists sometimes drive even faster between stop signs to make up for the time "lost" while stopped–actually increasing peak speeds and potentially making neighborhoods more dangerous.

Installing stop signs can do more harm than good.

Too many stop signs may also actually discourage good driving habits. Studies have shown that if stop signs are overused or are located where they don't seem to be necessary, some drivers become careless about stopping at them. This can be especially dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists who may have a false sense of safety from the existence of a stop sign.

Other solutions.

Fortunately, there are other ways to encourage traffic to slow down. Sometimes even a simple neighborhood awareness program can be effective.

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Q2. Wouldn't a "Children at Play" sign help protect our children?

A.  We often get requests from parents for "Children at Play" signs to be installed in their neighborhoods. Parents hope that the signs will encourage drives to slow down and drive cautiously. The concern for the safety of children is very important and is shared by highway and street officials. Unfortunately, "Children at Play" signs may not be the best solution. Here's why:

Placing signs does not slow vehicles.

The speeds people choose to drive along a roadway are generally determined by the roadway characteristics and environment and by the level of comfort and safety the driver perceives. In many cases, "Children at Play" or "Playground" (i.e., a sign with children on a teeter-totter) signs are placed along local neighborhood roadways; the users of these roadways are local residents and typically are aware of children in the neighborhood. The characteristics and environment of many local residential roadways also usually produce relatively low speeds. In this type of environment, a reduction in general vehicle speeds through the placement of a "Children at Play" or "Playground" sign should not be expected (especially when the hazard is not consistently clear to the driver).

Signs are used to warn of consistent, not occasional, conditions.

Warning signs are effective when they warn drivers of consistent conditions. Because children are not likely to be consistently playing at a particular location in the neighborhood (unlike at playgrounds or parks), "Children at Play" signs placed there could lose their effectiveness. Studies have shown that when signs are overused or indicate conditions that are not likely and consistent, drivers start ignoring the signs.

With or without signs, education and awareness can be important.

Even when "Children at Play" signs are used, it may not be a good idea to let your guard down or be lulled into a false sense of safety. Children can benefit from keeping in mind that the street is not a place to play and that not all drivers are necessarily watching out for them.

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Q3. Why aren't speed bumps used on all streets to slow traffic?

A.  When traffic goes too fast on a street, people sometimes suggest we install speed bumps to slow vehicles down. Speed bumps are usually not an effective solution to speeding on public roadways. Speed humps, on the other hand, are used in some locations.

What is the difference between speed bumps and speed humps?

Speed bumps and speed humps are both used to slow vehicles, but they have different designs and are used in different places.

Speed bumps are mad of an abruptly raised portion of pavement. Most speed bumps are found in parking lots and along private roadways. Speed bumps can produce substantial driver discomfort/injury, damage to vehicle suspension, and/or loss of control if encountered at too high a speed. These are some of the reasons why speed bumps are not used on public roadways.

A speed hump, on the other hand, is a much more gently raised portion of pavement. Speed humps are much longer than speed bumps and not nearly as steep. Speed humps create a gentle vehicle rocking motion at low speeds, but they can jolt a vehicle at higher speeds.

Factors that determine the use of speed humps.

There are many factors that are considered when deciding whether or not to install a speed hump at a particular location.

The use of speed humps typically lowers vehicle speeds bo about 15 miles per hour. Speed humps are installed on some local roads and other low speed limit roadways. Speed humps may be used on local streets when it is determined that lower vehicle speeds and less through traffic are needed. Speed humps are not used on roadways that are intended for high-speed and high-volume traffic.

Speed humps can make the work of winter maintenance vehicles more difficult and can slow emergency vehicle response speeds. These factors should also be considered in deciding the location of speed humps.

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Q4. What is the harm of installing traffic signs and signals that aren't really needed?

A.  It may surprise you to learn that adding more stop signs or traffic signals along a roadway does not necessarily slow drivers down or increase safety. In fact, in some cases, especially when they are not really needed, the overuse of signs and signals can lead drivers to ignore or not properly obey them.

Too many signs can lead to ineffectiveness.

Studies have shown that when stop signs are placed at intersections where they don't appear to be needed, motorists become careless about stopping.

Too many traffic signals can negatively impact traffic flow.

Installing traffic signals where they are not needed can create traffic congestion, add travel time, and frustrate drivers, who may start driving impatiently.

Other options can provide safety.

To make travel efficient and safe and to help ensure the proper observance of stop signs and traffic signals, they are usually installed only where they are absolutely necessary. Other solutions–for example, a yield sign–may also provide enough safety, without any detriment to traffic flow.

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Q5. How should I address speeding complaints in my neighborhood?

A.  The Hailey Police Department recently purchased a radar trailer with Local Option Tax (LOT) funds. The trailer was put in service on Thursday, September 11 and will be used primarily in areas with numerous speed complaints, school zones and neighborhood streets with high traffic flows. The radar equipment alerts drivers of their speed, and if drivers exceed the speed limit a warning flashes telling them to slow down. An on-board computer tracks traffic volume by the time of day along with speeds. This feature alone will help the Police Department develop a more aggressive and strategic speed enforcement program. For more information contact the Police Department.


Engineering Contact Information

Mariel Platt
788-9830, ext.24

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