Traffic calming, speed limit policies revised

traffic calmingTo Development & Infrastructure Committee March 2

Staff have suggested revised policies for traffic calming reviews and speed limit reduction requests to speed up processing time.


Traffic Calming

On traffic calming, staff recommend eliminating the poll requirement that 50% of households on a street sign a letter agreeing to proceed with traffic calming measures. Since March 2013, staff has polled 35 streets, and only 12 met the poll requirements to move forward. Currently there are 64 outstanding traffic calming requests, and under current policies will take more than a year before these can be reviewed. Staff is concerned that this is not an acceptable level of customer service and process efficiencies need to be made.
The poll requires a significant amount of staff time, and residents have said traffic calming measures should be determined based on the technical warrant criteria, not poll response rates. Removal of the poll requirement will allow traffic calming requests to proceed significantly faster, and for the right reasons.

To be reviewed for traffic calming a road must be meet several pre-criteria tests, including sufficient length for traffic calming. To warrant traffic calming measures, additional criteria must be met including speeding, volume, significant cutthrough traffic and high numbers of pedestrians or cyclists.

The following Ward 2 streets have been surveyed to see if there is enough support to move ahead with traffic calming measures:

Seneca Ave.: 63% of residents responded  and 59% of those people supported traffic calming. Traffic counts will be undertaken in the spring to review if a 40km/hr speed limit is justified. This will ensure that the appropriate speed limit is in place prior to reviewing the traffic calming warrant.

Maple Crossing Blvd.: 26% of residents responded and 19% of those people supported traffic calming. This doesn’t meet the minimum of 50% of households responding, so traffic calming won’t be pursued and the road won’t be reviewed again for at least three years.


Speed Limit Reductions

On speed limit changes, staff have asked council to delegate to staff authority to reduce speed limits on qualifying roads. Otherwise, roads qualifying for a limit reduction would have to wait a year for the annual report to council for approval. Staff are also requesting that council remove the requirement that a roadway only be reviewed for speed reduction if the 85th percentile speed is 10km/h over or under the existing speed limit. Removing this requirement will ensure all traffic calming requests are consistently reviewed against the technical warrant criteria.
The proposed policy revisions are contained in a report that will be considered by the Development & Infrastructure Committee March 2, and Council March 23, 1pm, City Hall. You can read the report on the D&I agenda, Item 7.  To register as a delegation to speak to the item, visit: Register as a delegation


Road Watch Program

Residents can also use the road watch program to help reduce speeding on their streets.

The Halton Community Road Watch program run by Halton Regional Police Service encourages anonymous reporting of incidents by allowing residents and motorists to fill out a Citizen Report form when they observe dangerous and/or aggressive driving behaviour, such as speeding, talking on cell phones, etc.

Reports will be reviewed by a police officer and if deemed appropriate, a letter may be sent to the registered vehicle owner encouraging all who drive their vehicle to do so in a safe and responsible manner

The Citizen Report form and additional information about the program can be found here: Road Watch

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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Leave a Reply
  1. Hal Watt
    Hey Marianne, Traffic calming only works in Toronto, where there is visible, and random enforcement. To simply reduce the speed limit, and expect most drivers to comply, means that those who voted, or agreed, would usually do so. However, it’s those who didn’t agree, or are from outside the area, that can make things perilous. A sense of assurance, can lead to accidents, vehicle, cycle, or pedestrian. Usual vigilance is still the best defence.

  2. Hi, Marianne. I very much support Staff’s request to delegate authority for local roads, eliminate the polling requirements and use technical measures to determine whether traffic calming in neighbourhoods is warranted, and eliminating the 85th percentile rule. This will greatly enhance our ability to ensure neighbourhoods in the city are people-friendly.

    It also doesn’t make a lot of sense that “high numbers of pedestrians or cyclists” is a criteria for traffic calming, when that high volume and speed of car traffic prevent people from wanting to walk or ride their bicycle there in the first place. You cannot judge the need for a bridge by the number of people swimming across the river. And in many cases it’s not the 85% we’re worried about – it’s many of the other 15% that make the places we live less safe and cause people to fear everyday activities like walking their kids to school.

What's your take?

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