WHAT CAUSES TRAFFIC PROBLEMS?
Several factors contribute to traffic problems. The primary factor is too many cars trying to navigate on roadways with an insufficient number of lanes. This typically happens during what traffic engineers refer to as peak hours (more commonly known as rush hour). Traffic engineers usually split peak hours into two categories: AM Peak Hour (weekdays between 7:00am and 8:00am) and PM Peak Hour (weekdays between 5:00pm and 6:00pm). Traffic engineers also recognize that traffic during holidays and special events commonly cause congestion.
Another factor that contributes to traffic congestion is intersections that are not properly managed. This can be caused by signals that are not timed correctly or intersections that need a signal but don’t have one.
Other causes of traffic problems are roadways with improper speeds and lack of alternative transportation options.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO FIX TRAFFIC PROBLEMS?
There are several solutions to traffic problems that cities like Pearland typically use to help relieve congestion. These solutions vary in cost and time required to put them in place. Cheaper solutions include retiming existing traffic signals, adding new signals, and modifying existing streets to increase traffic flow. Pricier solutions include expanding and extending existing roadways and adding new roadways as alternative routes.
Pearland’s most congested intersection is Broadway (FM 518) at SH288. Several projects are in the works to add some relief to this area, including adding feeder roads to the south of Broadway and expanding Broadway from SH 288 to Cullen Boulevard.
The SH 288 toll lanes that are being built by Brazoria County Toll Road Authority and the Blueridge Transportation Group should relieve a lot of congestion on SH 288 during rush hours. The addition of the flyover lanes to connect SH 288 to the Beltway should also help.These projects are scheduled to be completed by early 2019.
The intersection at Discover Bay Drive and Business Center Drive is in need of a signal. Adding this signal should prevent a lot of the accidents in the area.
The traffic circle at Pearland Parkway and McHard Road was poorly designed and needs to be replaced. There is also a proposal to make Pearland Parkway a superstreet, which will increase speeds on that roadway. I oppose this proposal because of the danger it would present to the neighborhoods along that roadway.
Pearland does not staff a full time Traffic Engineer, which is unusual for a City of larger than 100,000 people. With a full-time Traffic Engineer on staff Pearland could more quickly and cheaply identify problems before they happen.
Pearland also needs to expand the Traffic Operations and Maintenance Staff and the capabilities of the Traffic Operations Center located on Hillhouse Road, along with increasing investment into new roadway projects that are identified in the major thoroughfare plan.