Transportation & Traffic
The Public Works Department is a community partner in planning, operating and maintaining New Braunfels’ transportation network. Our goal is to provide a safe and efficient transportation system that supports livable neighborhoods and economic development in partnership with the community.
The Engineering Division is responsible for planning new transportation infrastructure improvements, designing and timing the traffic signal system, designing traffic signs and pavement markings, and responding to traffic requests and concerns. This Division also performs as a liaison between the City and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and other local agencies.
Transportation & Traffic Advisory Board
The Transportation & Traffic Advisory Board is a seven-member board appointed by the city council to serve in an advisory capacity to the city council on matters relating to transportation and traffic issues. These issues include: vehicles for hire; emergency warning systems and evacuation routes and procedures; stop signs, school zones, no parking zones and other traffic control devices; street and bridge improvements; tuber exits; and any other transportation related matters referred by city council.
The Transportation & Traffic Advisory Board typically meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month in the City Council Chambers.
Submitting a Request
Requests for new signs, traffic signals, or other traffic controls require a careful engineering evaluation of existing conditions that justifies installation is appropriate. Some of the most common requests include stop signs, no parking signs, and speed limit signs.
Please note that speed humps are “nonstandard” traffic controls and are evaluated based on the Speed Hump Policy. More information on speed humps and how to submit a speed hump request is provided in the Neighborhood Traffic Management section.
Any citizen or neighborhood association may submit traffic requests and concerns for review by the Engineering Division and, if necessary, the Transportation & Traffic Advisory Board and City Council. Requests may be submitted by phone, email or mail below. The request should include contact information, intersection or street location, concern or specific request, and date/time of day of issue.
- Phone: (830) 221-4020
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: City Engineer, 424 S. Castell Ave, New Braunfels, TX, 78130
Traffic requests are evaluated in accordance with the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Texas MUTCD) as specified by state law, local ordinance, and engineering practice. The evaluation and approval of a request is dependent on the type of request, meeting Texas MUTCD requirements, and City Engineer recommendation. Some requests require the collection of traffic data, review of crash history and Police Department input. Regulatory requests (i.e. stop signs, no parking signs, speed limit changes) require a city ordinance and are processed through the Transportation & Traffic Advisory Board and City Council.
It is our goal to keep citizens informed through the traffic request process and allow for community input. Please contact us for an update on a request.
Neighborhood Traffic Management
Speeding in neighborhoods is the most common traffic concern in most cities including the City of New Braunfels. The Pubic Works and Police Departments receive speeding concerns almost daily with citizens often requesting stop signs, lower speed limits, speed humps or other traffic measures. In most cases, simply installing a traffic measure does not solve a speeding problem (real or perceived) and may actually decrease traffic safety. The City takes speeding concerns seriously and approaches addressing the concern in three steps: Education, Enforcement and Engineering.
Step 1 – Education:
The first step in the program is to determine if speeding is a problem. The Police Department will set out a radar data collector to collect travel speeds over a specified timeframe. Most drivers are unaware of the collector and the collector provides accurate average speeds, maximum speeds and the time when speeding is an issue. The traffic data will provide justification for Enforcement and Engineering.
Part of the education step should also include neighborhood participation. It is recommended that the neighborhood association raise awareness of speeding or other traffic concerns through neighborhood meetings or newsletter. A hand-held radar gun is also available for use by residents with engineering staff to get a better understanding of speeds on the roadside and outside a vehicle.
Step 2 – Enforcement:
With traffic data verifying the speeding problem, the Police Department can monitor traffic during the specific times and issue tickets to speeding violators. They may also place a Speed Awareness Trailer that is equipped with a radar unit that tracks and displays motorist speeds.
Step 3 – Engineering:
When Education and Enforcement steps have been completed, the Engineering Division will evaluate the location to determine what traffic measures, if any, should be installed to effectively reduce speeds. Stop signs and reducing the speed limit are normally not effective in reducing speeds on residential streets. Vehicle speeds are primarily dependent on the design of the street and roadside activity such as parking or pedestrians. Vehicle speeds may be effectively reduced by traffic calming measures that provides a physical or marked diversion of the travel way. The City’s primary traffic calming measure is the speed hump; however, other traffic calming measures such as narrowing lanes or lane shifts may be considered.
Speed humps will be evaluated in accordance with the Speed Hump Policy when an investigation form has been submitted. The process is similar to the traffic request process with presentation to the Transportation & Traffic Advisory Committee and approval by City Council.
Parking by Permit
New Braunfels established the Parking by Permit Program in 2005, whereby vehicles bearing a valid parking permit may be parked within a designated parking permit area. It is the intent to provide a greater opportunity for residents to establish parking restrictions within their neighborhoods, ensure adequate issuance of parking permits, and to promote a cooperative effort among neighbors in dealing with issues related to neighborhood parking.
A designated parking by permit area is established by City Council in accordance with City of New Braunfels Code of Ordinances Section 126-354. Requests are reviewed and processed by the Engineering Division. A neighborhood desiring to create or modify a designated permit area may submit the following application to the Engineering Division.
Once a designated permit has been established, residents may obtain parking permits through the City Secretary’s Office.
General Information and Frequently Asked Questions
Traffic Control Devices
A traffic control device is a sign, signal or pavement marking used to regulate, warn or guide traffic placed by the authority of a public agency having jurisdiction. To be effective, a traffic control device should meet five basic requirements:
- Fulfill a need;
- Command attention;
- Convey a clear, simple meaning;
- Command respect from road users; and
- Give adequate time for proper response.
The legal and engineering requirements for traffic control devices are specified in the Texas Transportation Code, Texas Administrative Code, City of New Braunfels Code of Ordinances and the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Texas MUTCD). The Texas MUTCD provides established criteria for signs, traffic signals and pavement markings. The decision to use a device should be made on the basis of either an engineering study or the application of engineering judgment.
A stop sign is an effective traffic control device when used at the proper place under appropriate conditions. A stop sign is used at an intersection to assist drivers and pedestrians in determining who has the right-of-way. Multiway stop signs are used at intersections when traffic volumes on all approaches are approximately equal and at intersections where safety is a concern.
Multiway stops are not to be used for speed control or to arbitrarily interrupt traffic. When multiway stop signs are installed at locations where they are not warranted, there is a high incidence of motorists disregarding the traffic control devices. Well-developed, nationally accepted guidelines outlined in the Texas MUTCD consider the amount of traffic at an intersection, the length of time traffic must wait to enter an intersection, and the safety of an intersection to determine if a multiway stop installation is warranted.
The purpose of a traffic signal is to provide safe and efficient movements for all roadway users through an intersection. Traffic signals assign the right-of-way to the various traffic movements and have profound influence on traffic flow. The City of New Braunfels currently maintains and operates over 40 traffic signals on city and state roadways within the city limits. TxDOT maintains and operates the traffic signals on the IH 35 and Loop 337 access roads.
It is the City’s responsibility to evaluate requests for new traffic signals on city and state roadways within the city limits. Any citizen can request a traffic signal as a standard traffic request. The investigation for a new traffic signal requires an extensive engineering study in accordance with the Texas MUTCD. The investigation of the need for a traffic signal shall include an analysis of factors related to the existing operation and safety at the study location and the potential to improve these conditions, and the applicable factors contained in the following traffic signal warrants:
- Eight-Hour Vehicular Volume Warrant
- Four-Hour Vehicular Volume Warrant
- Peak Hour Warrant
- Pedestrian Volume Warrant
- School Crossing Warrant
- Coordinated Signal System Warrant
- Crash Experience Warrant
- Roadway Network Warrant
- Intersection Near a Railroad Grade Crossing
It is important to note that the satisfaction of a traffic signal warrant or warrants shall not in itself require the installation of a traffic control signal.
Traffic signals require a large capital investment and can take a significant time to evaluate, fund, design and construct.
Children at Play Signs
National standards, Texas law and the City of New Braunfels do not recognize the "Children at Play" signs for these reasons: Warning signs are designed and intended to advise motorists of an unusual or unexpected physical roadway condition ahead. Signs such as this give the wrong message to both children and parents, fostering a false sense of security. There is no evidence to show that these signs help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents or lower travel speeds.
Federal standards do not support these signs because the signs are suggesting that it is acceptable behavior for children to play in the streets. It is the driver's responsibility to adjust speed for conditions, and to act reasonable and prudent when encountering conditions that occur in all residential areas.
Speed limits on Texas roads, including City of New Braunfels streets, are generally set by statute (TEX. TRANSP. CODE § 545.352). The statute includes the following speed limits:
- Street in Urban District – 30 miles per hour
- Alley in Urban District – 15 miles per hour
The speed limit on most city streets is 30 miles per hour unless designated by ordinance and posted. A city may lower the state-mandated speed limit by performing an engineering and traffic investigation and determining that the state-mandated speed limit is unreasonable or unsafe for that road. The only instance in which a city may lower a speed limit without a traffic study, to as low as 25 miles per hour, is if the road is in an urban district, is less than four lanes, and is not a state highway.
Requests to reduce or increase speed limits are evaluated in accordance with State law and the Texas MUTCD. Speed limits on city streets are set by the 85th percentile method, which represents the speed the majority of drivers will be traveling at or below. Other factors that may be considered when establishing or reevaluating speed limits are the following:
- Road characteristics, shoulder condition, grade, alignment, and sight distance;
- Roadside development and environment;
- Parking practices and pedestrian activity; and
- Reported crash experience for at least a 12-month period.
There are many opinions on the effect of lowering speed limits; however, research and local experience show that there is no guarantee that a speed limit will have any effect on driving behavior. Motorists tend to drive at speeds they feel comfortable with regardless of speed limit signs. Enforcement and street design are most effective in reducing speeds.
Please remember that observing speed limits means more than driving faster or slower than the posted speed. It means driving to conditions. When it is raining or foggy, when ice is on the road, when traffic is heavy, when road construction is ahead, when pedestrians or bicyclists are near the road, adjust your speed accordingly.