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Traffic

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Among other things, the Engineering Division of Public Works oversees traffic signals and timing, traffic signs, pavement markings, traffic calming, traffic counts, and traffic crash reporting and analysis.

Emergency Traffic Requests or Complaints
Please contact us immediately for any emergency traffic requests or complaints, including:

  • Traffic signal failure
  • Fallen or removed stop signs
  • If it is unclear whether a request or complaint is an emergency, please call us.

Click here to view the contact information, hours, and additional information for Public Works.

Non-Emergency Traffic Requests or Complaints
All non-emergency Requests/Complaints, detailed below, must be submitted in writing via the Request/Complaint form to the City of Bloomington Public Works Department. To submit the Request/Complaint form, print it out and use one of the following submission methods:

Mail: City of Bloomington
Traffic Engineer
115 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL 61702-3157
Fax: 309-434-2201
In Person During
Office Hours:
115 E. Washington St
Room 301
Bloomington, IL 61702
Traffic Signals
The City works in cooperation with IDOT and the Town of Normal to provide optimum signal timing across jurisdictions. Signal malfunctions should be reported to the City. Critical issues such as a signal that has been hit, damaged or knocked down, should be reported immediately to the police by calling 9-1-1. Please contact Public Works for any traffic signals that are malfunctioning, but have not been hit, damaged or knocked down. Click here to view the contact information, hours, and additional information for Public Works. Questions or complaints concerning the operation of individual traffic signals should be sent through the  request/complaints procedure outlined above.

General Information on Traffic Signals
The City currently maintains traffic signals at 147 intersections. Some traffic signals are owned jointly with other agencies such as the Town of Normal, McLean County, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The City is reimbursed quarterly from the other agencies for their share of the actual maintenance and energy costs according to intergovernmental agreements.  Some signalized intersections are part of a coordinated signal network. When intersection spacing is less than 1 mile, signal coordination is beneficial to moving traffic safely and efficiently through the signalized intersections along main arterial corridors. There are 3 main coordinated signalized networks in Bloomington. They are the Veterans/Empire, CBD - Central Business District, and West Market systems. Signalized intersections with spacing of one mile or more typically run independently in a "fully actuated" mode. This means that the signal cycles based only on traffic that is present in the zone of detection. 

Vehicle detection at signalized intersections can be done using many technologies. One of the oldest and most common is the induction loop. A loop of wire is installed in the road pavement that connects back to the traffic signal cabinet. When a vehicle crosses the loop, the inductance of the loop of wire changes which indicates the presence of a vehicle. Loops typically need to be replaced when a road is resurfaced. Newer technology includes video or microwave. These technologies allow the zone of detection to be adjusted more easily and are more sensitive in detecting motorcycles and bicycles. 

The City and State use software called "Synchro" by Trafficware to assist in developing signal timing programs on a personal computer. A traffic model is custom built in Synchro for each signalized network and includes items such as traffic volume for each direction and movement, number of lanes, storage lengths, intersection spacing and speed limits. Since traffic volumes vary by time of day and day of week, several models are developed. In the case of the Veterans/Empire network, there is a separate program for AM, mid-day, PM and night as well as one for Saturdays. Traffic counts collected on 15 minute intervals are used to determine what time of day traffic patterns change. This information is used to determine the start and stop times for each of the programs. All the signalized intersections in the same network share the same cycle length which allows vehicles to move through the network in a predictable and repeatable pattern. The intersections in these coordinated networks typically run in a "semi-actuated" mode. Turn lanes and side streets are only serviced when there are vehicles present. Any time not needed for the side street is given back to the main arterial road. This means the beginning of the green for roads such a Veterans Parkway is variable depending on side street traffic. The actual coordination reference point occurs during the green period for the main arterial road. 

Some traffic signals in the CBD network operate only in a "pre-timed" mode. This means that the signal is not actuated in any way by the actual traffic present, but it just operates the same way each cycle. Cycle lengths vary by program and signalized network. The longest cycle lengths in a coordinated program are 140 seconds long during the AM, PM and Saturday programs for the Veterans/Empire network. Connected side street arterials such as Hershey, College, Vernon, Washington, Oakland, and Towanda are part of the Veterans/Empire network. They run the same 140 second program during the AM and PM programs. During off peak periods many of the signals on these other connected arterials are allowed to run free or in "fully actuated" mode. 

The timing programs for each intersection are stored in a database on a network server. Many of the signalized intersections are inter-connected on a dedicated fiber optic or copper cable. The programs can be loaded remotely from the server into the traffic signal controller at each intersection. Traffic signal controllers that are not connected by a network cable have to be programmed in the shop or in the field. The connected intersections can be remotely monitored from the office. Some intersections along Veterans Parkway and Empire Street have PTZ - Pan, Tilt, Zoom cameras which can be panned and zoomed to study traffic patterns and identify issues remotely. Recently, IDOT added PTZ cameras to the Interstate System around Bloomington-Normal. Staff at the METCOM 911 center have access to the PTZ cameras to help with incident management and emergency operations. 

IDOT also has variable message boards on the interstate system just before traffic enters the Bloomington-Normal area. The messages displayed can be changed remotely to advise motorists of adverse road conditions, traffic backups or other important information. The message boards and cameras are part of a larger state wide ITS - Intelligent Transportation System. Some of this information is available to the public at gettingaroundillinois.com or gettingaroundpeoria.com

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (Battery Backups)
Because the safe movement of traffic is critical on the larger transportation networks like Veterans Parkway, the City and State partnered to provide battery backup (UPS) for some of the critical traffic signals. A UPS project for all the intersections on Veterans Parkway was completed in 2012. The battery backup system is designed to provide at least 4 hours of traffic signal operation in the event of a power outage. Intersections without a battery backup go dark in a power failure. Illinois law requires motorists to treat a dark signalized intersection as an all-way stop. The traffic signal will resume operation once the power comes back on. 

All new traffic signals include battery backup systems with LED signal heads for energy efficiency. One drawback of the LED signal indications is the lack of heat they generate compared to incandescent bulbs. In winter strong winds can blow snow and ice onto the signal face making it difficult for drivers to see what color is lit. This is especially bad in early morning hours as the sun begins to rise causing additional glare and contrast issues. Drivers should be extra careful when approaching a traffic signal if they can't see any color of light.
Sign Removal
Every year, motorists are killed and injured in traffic accidents caused by the unauthorized removal of signs from public streets and roadways. These same accidents also cause thousands of dollars of property damage to vehicles involved. These types of needless accidents can be prevented by contacting the appropriate agency responsible for sign maintenance before removing signs. Please contact us immediately for any traffic signs that have been removed. Click here to view the contact information, hours, and additional information for Public Works. Questions or complaints concerning individual traffic signs should be sent through the request/complaints procedure outlined above.

Penalty for Removing Traffic Signs
Any private party removing any sign will be billed for the replacement costs associated with the re-installation of the sign and may be charged with a violation of Section 11-311 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. The fine for a conviction of this violation is as follows: “Every person convicted of a violation of this Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of at least $250.00 in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed".

Temporary Removal by the City
The City of Bloomington would like you to be aware of our policy concerning the removal of any of our signs from public right-of-way. If a sign installation is in the way, or interferes with any of your company's construction projects, please contact the City of Bloomington Public Works Department at 309-434-2225 to have this sign removed and replaced.

Only City of Bloomington maintenance crews are authorized to perform sign work on public right of way. City maintenance crews will remove and replace, at no charge, any sign posted by the City of Bloomington on any street or public area under our jurisdiction. We require a minimum of two working days notice prior to the desired removal date.
Requesting Accessible Parking
Residents desiring an accessible parking space in front of their residence may also submit their request through the requests/complaints procedure outlined above. Additional information required includes either (a) a copy of the Vehicle Registration Card indicating the requesting party lives at the requested address and has been issued a Disabled Veteran or Handicap License Plate, or (b) a copy of the Placard and Application submitted to the Secretary of States office indicating that the party lives at the requested address.
On-Street Parking and Traffic Regulation
The City of Bloomington has an "On-Street Parking and Traffic Regulation Amendments" procedure for requesting parking changes on public streets within the City. The following presents procedures for requesting change of on-street parking within the corporate limits of the City of Bloomington, Illinois.
  • At least one of the following conditions should be met before the City considers or initiates a traffic study to determine the merits of a request for a parking change:

    • A citizen may submit a written letter representing occupants on both sides of the street for which the parking change is requested. The letter should contain signatures (preferably 50%) and addresses of the neighbors or people impacted by a parking or traffic regulation who are interested in supporting the requested change. The letter should be submitted to the Traffic Engineer.

    • The Director of Public Works, Police or Fire Departments may initiate a parking or traffic regulation change on behalf of the City if they determine that it is in the best interest of the community to implement or modify such regulations.

  • After such letter has been received by the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department, the City’s traffic engineering staff will study the matter and evaluate the merits of a request, taking into consideration the following general factors: public safety, traffic congestion, vehicular and pedestrian access, street maintenance, neighborhood and citywide needs, etc.

  • Notification Process for Parking Change: It shall be the policy of the City of Bloomington to give adequate notice to the occupants of adjacent property when the removal of on-street parking or the modification of time limits is being contemplated. Notification of owners will not be necessary when a limited number (one or two) spaces are being eliminated at intersections because of sight distance concerns or if a new street is being constructed subject to restrictions as approved by the City Council.

    Notice is not required if the changes are being made in accordance with an agreement between the City and adjacent property occupants and/or owners. When specific locations are being considered for change, the following procedures will be utilized:

    • The matter will be discussed at the next City meeting.
    • If it is deemed necessary the City will notify adjacent property occupants, City Manager and City Council that a proposal has been received or that the City is contemplating a change in on-street parking regulations.
    • After allowing two weeks for comment, a recommendation which will be transmitted to the City Manager.
    • The City Manager’s office will notify the City Council of the Engineer’s recommendation, his assessment of that recommendation and the action that will result from the study. Following the City Manager’s notice to proceed, the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department will send a second notice to adjacent property owners informing them of the results of the City’s study, what action will be taken, and when that action will occur. A minimum of seven (7) days notice is necessary before actual changes are made. A copy of this notice will be sent to the City Manager and City Council.

Parking Violations
Parking Violations are managed by the Bloomington Police Department.

Speed Limits
Complaints concerning speeding should be sent through the request/complaints procedure outlined above or reported by phone to the Police Department at 309-820-8888. All speeding complaints received in writing will be discussed by staff at the next regularly recurring meeting. Questions concerning speed limits should be submitted through the request/complaint procedure outlined above.

Public Works will only investigate altering a speed limit if it is determined that some type of unusual condition exists for the section of street in question. Conditions that typically exist in residential areas (e.g. large number of children, vehicles parking on-street etc.) do not constitute unusual conditions.

Speed Studies
A speed study takes into account the actual speed being driven by individual vehicles. Using the data collected; the 85th percentile and the 10 MPH pace speed upper limit are calculated. The resulting prevailing speed can be adjusted by taking into account on street parking, high numbers of crashes, pedestrians, and the number of conflicting driveways and side streets.

Requests for speed studies can be made using the request/complaint procedure outlined above. The City will consider a request to study a particular road segment no more than once per year and only if the conditions which affect the study have changed since the prior speed study. 

State and Federal Speed Limit Regulations
There are several "standard" or statutory speed limits established by law in the State of Illinois, such as 30 MPH in urban areas, 55 MPH in rural areas and 70 MPH on rural Interstates. Any other speed limit posting is considered an altered speed zone.

The City utilizes the Illinois Department of Transportation Policy on Establishing Speed Limits to establish altered speed limits.

In addition, the National Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices defines an altered Speed Zone as a speed limit, other than a statutory speed limit, that is based upon an engineering study.
Sight/Sign Obstructions
Signing Obstructions
Signing obstructions are commonly caused by tree limbs that have grown in front of signs causing them to be obscured from a motorists vision. Request/complaints concerning this type of safety issue may be reported to Public Works at 309-434-2225, the Bloomington Police Department at 309-820-8888 or the Forestry Division of the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department at 309-434-2280.

Sight Obstructions
Sight Obstructions typically occur at intersections and may be caused by parked vehicles, vegetation or other vision obstructions. This type of problem should be reported through the request/complaints process outlined above.
Traffic Control Devices
It is the policy of the City of Bloomington to accept requests/complaints for additions, deletions and modifications to signs maintained by the City. Requests/complaints must go through the request/complaint procedure outlined above and will be evaluated using the City of Bloomington Signing Policy, State and Federal Standards and accepted engineering practice.

Requests received through phone calls will not be evaluated unless it is deemed that they constitute an immediate safety hazard. Any party submitting a request/complaint will be notified as to the disposition of the request after the evaluation is completed. Every attempt will be made to grant requests or to provide a satisfactory answer to the requesting party.
Traffic Counts
The Transportation Engineering Section maintains traffic volume records for streets and intersections within Bloomington. Current and historical traffic volume information for streets or intersections is available via the requests/complaints procedure outlined above.

Current traffic volume information is available on the Illinois Department of Transportation's website.
Traffic Calming
Throughout Bloomington, residents have become increasingly aware and concerned about the negative impact speeding vehicles have on their quality of life. They view speeding vehicles, cut-through traffic and associated noise and litter as detrimental to their security, property values, and the livability many have worked so hard to achieve.  

City staff members from Public Works, Police, and Administration work with residents to find potential answers. At times, the answer has been "traffic calming." This is a traffic engineering technique to reduce speeds and includes such items as installation of speed humps. However, the use of traffic calming devices is used only rarely under a defined set of circumstances. More information on this technique, and how it is used in the City of Bloomington, is listed below. Click here to view the Traffic Calming Assessment Form.

Submitting Requests and Complaints
Requests for traffic evaluation and traffic related complaints may be initiated by individual citizens, neighborhood associations, City government officials, or other groups. Requests for traffic evaluations or complaints of chronic speeding, cut-through traffic, parking, signage, or other traffic-related problems occurring on Bloomington streets should be submitted in writing to the City of Bloomington Public Works Engineering Division using the request/complaint process outlined above. The City Engineer exercises discretion in resolving requests and complaints and forwards unresolved issues to a staff committee.

What is Traffic Calming?
"Traffic calming is the combination of mainly physical measures that reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for non-motorized street users." (Institute of Transportation Engineers). Traffic calming improvements typically incorporate any combination of the following features:

• Changes in horizontal and/or vertical alignment of the roadway.
• Roadway or lane narrowing.
• Changes of roadway surface texture or color.
• Aesthetic improvements using landscape materials for enhanced streetscapes.

Goals and Objectives
The goals of traffic calming are to:
• Improve the quality of life within neighborhoods.
• Increase safety and convenience for pedestrians and bicyclists, as long as such changes do not interfere with  the safe operation of intended users of the roadways.
• Create attractive streetscapes.
• Reduce negative effects of automobile travel.
• Reduce the number and severity of automobile collisions.

Specific objectives of traffic calming include:
• Reduction in the speed of motor vehicle traffic on residential areas to below a 15 percent violation rate (VR).
• Reduction in the volume of traffic traveling through residential areas.
• Causing unnecessary cut-through traffic to instead use streets designated as collector or arterial streets.
• Promote other modes of travel (walking, cycling, mass transit).

Traffic Calming Procedure
City staff members have examined many different calming techniques. They recognize that Bloomington's neighborhoods are all unique and require a variety of traffic calming techniques to address differing traffic conditions. Regardless of the type of traffic calming device sought, a uniform procedure is set for requesting, evaluating, designing, authorizing, and building traffic control devices on Bloomington streets. That procedure is set forth below. 


Preliminary Review
Working as a committee, city staff members review each request or complaint to determine the appropriate response. Some complaints may not rise to a level warranting remedial action. In such cases the complaining party will be notified and advised that the issue may be resubmitted in one year for further consideration. Significant traffic issues may be resolved through increased enforcement efforts, traffic control improvements, traffic calming improvements, or a combination thereof. The person or group making the original request or complaint will be notified in writing of the action the City intends to take regarding the request. Requests for traffic calming improvements will proceed to the evaluation phase to determine if all qualifying criteria are met. Locations which clearly do not meet traffic calming criteria will be reviewed by staff for speed enforcement or other traffic engineering solutions.

Traffic Calming Criteria
Traffic calming criteria have been established by the City Administration and may be revised from time to time by City Administration.

Streets that (usually) do not qualify for calming
Physical traffic calming improvements will not be considered for any street if any of the following conditions exist:
• If the street is identified as a "collector" or "arterial" street on the BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL STREET AND HIGHWAY PLAN.
• If the average traffic volume is greater than 2,000 vehicles/day (ADT).
• If the average traffic volume is less than 900 vehicles/day (ADT).
• If the average violation rate (VR) of the statutory or posted speed limit is less than or equal to 25 percent.
• If the 85th Percentile speed for the study segment is less than 5 MPH over the posted or statutory speed limit.
• If building lots in the study area are not built out to at least 90 percent of available lots.

** Note: Any of the above defined conditions can be waived by a reviewing group of staff members, and waivers will be included in documentation.

Evaluation of Traffic Conditions
Traffic calming requests which pass preliminary review will proceed to the evaluation phase. If not already collected, relevant traffic data is collected during the evaluation phase. When the data reveals that traffic calming criteria have been met, the appropriate type of traffic calming technique is determined by City staff. If the criteria are not met, these locations may be reevaluated upon request one year following the date of the data collection upon which the most recent request or complaint was rejected for traffic calming.

The evaluation phase involves the collection of data including street classification, volume, speed, traffic crash history, and other relevant information. This information gets collected and evaluated by the Engineering Division of Public Works Department. Engineering recommends a specific traffic calming device, and a staff committee reviews the findings.

Diversion Analysis
If significant traffic diversion is anticipated, the staff prepares a diversion analysis. Based upon the diversion analysis, if staff committee determines that the proposed traffic calming improvements are expected to create equal or greater traffic problems on another residential street the traffic calming device(s) will not be installed. In instances in which significant diversion is not an issue, the proposed traffic calming design will be used as the basis for the traffic calming ballot.

Public Meeting
The City will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed traffic calming design for the area under study. Other residents and business owners in areas adjacent to the study area may also be specifically invited. However, voting on the proposal is limited.

Traffic Calming Vote
A super-majority of affected property owners is required for traffic calming installation to proceed.

Ballots only go to property owners whose lots are contiguous to the street segment(s) upon which traffic calming devices are proposed to be installed and property owners whose lots lie on an intersecting street and who would have to pass over the traffic calming devices to access their property. In order to assess support for the installation of the proposed traffic calming improvements, a mailed ballot system is used. 

Passage of a traffic calming initiative requires at least 70% of the returned traffic calming ballots be marked in support of the initiative. To be counted, mailed ballots must be returned within 14 days of the postmarked mailing date.

Device Construction
When a traffic calming initiative passes, the construction phase begins. Engineering staff in the Public Works Department will finalize the design approved by the eligible voters, and add the project to the list of existing traffic calming projects Construction of traffic calming improvements will ordinarily be done in the order they are approved, absent extenuating circumstances.

The number of traffic calming projects installed each year depends on the availability of City resources. Projects will be ranked in the spring of the year, and neighborhood associations will then be informed in writing by the City of their project's ranking and given an opportunity to comment. Based on these comments, a priority ranking list will be presented to the City Manager for final approval.

Device Maintenance and Replacement
Traffic calming devices such as speed humps and traffic circles, like any other part of the road require maintenance and eventual replacement. The City has been installing and maintaining traffic calming devices since 1998. Time has shown that some traffic calming devices are easier and more cost effective to install and maintain. Some types of traffic calming devices remain effective as a traffic calming tool while other types deteriorate, become an eye sore, and in general lose their ability to command respect and be an effective traffic calming device.

The City has determined the hot mix asphalt speed hump to be the most durable, low cost and low maintenance of the traffic calming devices installed since the beginning of the City’s traffic calming program. The humps last as long as the wearing surface of the street they are on and have been easily replaced when the streets are resurfaced. For this reason, the City of Bloomington reserves the right to replace other types of traffic calming devices with a speed hump when that device has completed its useful life or needs to be removed as a part of another project or for utility maintenance.

Changing to a different type of Traffic Calming Device shall require the following:

• A written recommendation for a change in device type from the City Engineer to a staff committee reviewing the situation. 
• Written notice to affected residents living within, at most, 350 feet of the calming device in question. Staff will consider written responses from residents prior to making a final decision.
• A recommended change from the staff committee.

Device Removal Process
Traffic calming improvements may be removed from a street segment through a successful neighborhood petition. To be successful, this process requires approval of at least 90% of property owners of lots whose owners were eligible to vote on the original traffic calming initiative. The removal process may not be started until the improvements have been in place for at least a one year (365 day) period.

Selective Traffic Enforcement Program
The availability, structure, and operation of the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will be governed by Bloomington Police Department Policy.