Extreme guerrilla traffic calming

I was talking with one of my fellow bus riders this morning when she told me about a neighbor’s do-it-yourself traffic calming shenanigans. This one’s a little more extreme than other’s you might have heard about.

Mr Grumpy Neighbor got so sick of people speeding down the street past this house that he bought a truckload of gravel and had it dumped in front of his house. The street is now a ruined mess, and the bus rider told me she’s now forced to walk her bike up and down her street.

I had an uncle (now departed) with property that was taken by the city for a road. Every couple of years he took an end loader and tore up the pavement, which the city would repair several months later and send the bill to my uncle.

Do you know of anybody who destroys streets to protest either traffic or eminent domain?


  1. There are non-guerrilla ways. If you live on a cut-through residential street with frequent speeding, bring it up at your neighborhood meeting that one solution is to request the city block one end of the street to traffic, with a pass-through only for bikes and peds. This may become easier once level of service impacts don’t need to be considered anymore. Eliminating auto cut-through opportunities improves mode share, and you can reclaim your street.

    If your neighbors agree, pester the city incessantly. If the city refuses to budge, then propose frequent “block parties” at your neighbored meeting. Since you are not actually having a real block party, you only need to close one end of the street with barricades (with a hole for bikes), not both ends, so residence can still get out and in through the other end The permit cost in SJ is $115, so if you have say 30 households on you street, that is <$8 for a whole weekend per household for a safe street….not too bad. Some neighbors won't want to chip in of course. Buy you own "Not a through street" sign and stick it on a tree on other end of the street. Make sure to put a bike sign underneath it, so cyclists know they can get through. After a while, you can reduce your "block parties" to a maintenance level as the cut through drivers get used to going a different way.


  2. I was a Ranger at Burning Man and was asked in investigate a woman who was digging up the gravel road in front of her site. Turned out she “hated cars” and was trying to make it impassible. I told her that I hated cars too but that we needed to keep the road passible for emergency vehicles and the like. She agreed to fill the hole.

    A few hours later I heard on the walkie talkie that she was doing it again and another Ranger who was not as sympathetic was dealing with it. She ended up getting thrown out.

  3. Don’t agree with the gravel. Sometimes the city will position one of their radar signs on the road. Does slow people down for half a block but usually placed where you would ride a bike 🙁

  4. I suppose if you own a car you can park it on the street thereby creating a narrow point that traffic would have to slow down to pass through.

  5. If the street has a crosswalk, you can buy your own self-righting crosswalk sign for <$400 on-line than goes in the middle of the cross-walk. Get the fixed base, not portable. Install to code and be super careful when installing it. Use cones, barrier signs, and a friend, like the pros.

    If you live on the corner of a four way intersection, ask your neighbors about a painted intersection, which tends to slow traffic. Portland has many beautiful examples. Google image "portland intersection painting". A step by step guide book can be found here… http://cityrepair.org/. Needs to be approved by the city of course.

    Sorry these are not so Guerrilla.

  6. @Bike-Scoot – The self-righting crosswalk sign looks especially poignant after a few motorists have hit it at high speed.

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