Speed and Traffic Calming

Pilot 40 km/hour speed limit project in West River area

Recent legislation in the Highway Traffic Act to allows municipalities to designate an area with a lower than 50 km/hour speed limit. The lower speed limit would apply to all roads within the designated area. Signs indicating the lower speed limit would be posted at the entrances and exits of the designated area only, as opposed to individual streets.

Earlier in 2019, Town Council directed staff to consult with the West River Residents Association in the development of a pilot project to test a 40 km/hour speed limit within the West River area. Beginning early October 2019, the existing posted 50 km/hour speed limits signs will be removed from all streets within the study area. Maximum 40 km/hour Area Begins signs will be posted at all entrances to the area and Maximum 40 km/hour Area Ends signs will be posted at all exists. 

Staff will monitor speeds within the study area before and during the pilot and report back to Council with the study results in the second quarter of 2020.

What is traffic calming?

Traffic calming is a measure available to the town that can be used to mitigate speeding in instances where higher speeds have been observed and conventional methods of speed deterrence, such as enforcement and education, have not been effective. Some examples of include radar speed display signs, speed cushions and roundabouts.

To initiate a traffic calming process a candidate location must satisfy either a Speed Warrant or Traffic Volume Warrant. The Speed Warrant is obtained following a 48-hour speed survey conducted either in the spring or fall. Streets showing operating speeds or traffic volumes in excess of the warrant threshold will subsequently be surveyed over a seven-day period to confirm the results. 

Speed Warrant requires 15 per cent of motorists to be driving at a speed greater than:

  • 10 km/h over for a posted speed of 40 km/h
  • 11 km/h over for a posted speed of 50 km/h
  • 12 km/h over for a posted speed of 60 km/h

If the Speed Warrant is met on a street classified as a local or minor collector street, the physical traffic calming will be initiated. If a street is classified as a major collector or minor arterial roadway, it will be placed on the list to receive a radar speed display sign (RSDS). 

A Traffic Volume Warrant requires the average daily traffic volumes on a roadway to be in excess of the typical maximum volume for the local and minor collector road classification.

  • 1,500 veh/day for a local street
  • 5,000 veh/day for a minor collector road

Radar speed display signs

  • Displays speed of vehicle to its driver via an electronic display
  • Provides driver with feedback regarding vehicle operating speed
  • Can be permanently or temporarily installed

Pavement markings

  • Can influence drivers to reduce speed by drawing attention to a specific area or information
  • Create optical effects that create the impression that the driver's speed is increasing
  • Could include different kinds of speed reduction pavement markings such as: converging chevrons, dragon's teeth, full-lane/peripheral transverse bars, and on-road sign pavement markings

Automated speed enforcement (ASE)

  • Fixed speed enforcement involves permanently installed radar cameras that photograph vehicles exceeding the speed limit
  • Mobile speed enforcement involves radar photography units that can be moved depending on the need for speed enforcement

Raised crosswalk

  • A marked pedestrian crosswalk at an intersection or mid-block location constructed at a higher elevation than the adjacent roadway.
  • Delineates the pedestrian and automobile space.

Raised intersection

  • An intersection constructed at a higher elevation than the adjacent approach roadways
  • Reduces vehicle speeds, better define crosswalk areas, and reduce pedestrian-vehicle conflict

Curb extension/Choker

  • Widening of curb into roadway, typically at intersections to reduce vehicle speeds.
  • Slows vehicles making turns and reduces crossing distance for pedestrians.
  • Provides opportunity for visual/landscape enhancement.

Roundabout/Mini Roundabout

  • A roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counter-clockwise around a centre island.
  • Aesthetically pleasing, while enhancing safety.
  • Already implemented in several locations in Oakville

Traffic circle

  • An island located at the centre of an intersection, which requires vehicles to travel through the intersection in a counter-clockwise direction around the island

Raised centre median

  • An elevated median constructed in the centre of the roadway.
  • Helps slow traffic without reducing capacity, while providing visual aesthetic.
  • Reduction in pedestrian-vehicle conflict.

Concrete speed cushion

  • The Town of Oakville has implemented this measure in most school zones in the town.
  • Features a centre 'knock-down' post allowing emergency vehicles to pass.
  • Slows passenger vehicles via a small speed hump on roadway.
  • Designed to accommodate wide wheel base of emergency vehicles (easy passage).
  • Use on local & collector roads.

Speed humps

  • A raised area of a roadway, which causes the vertical upward movement of a traversing vehicle
  • Speed humps reduce vehicle speeds by making it uncomfortable to drive at high speeds

Speed kidney

  • An arrangement of three speed humps elongated with a curvelinear shape in the direction of travel
  • Vehicle drivers choosing to drive in a straight path will experience discomfort as two or four wheels traverse the different parts of the speed kidney
  • Limited applications in North America

Chicane

  • Two or more alternating curb extensions that narrow a two-lane road to a one-lane road for a short distance.
  • Requires drivers to slow down and drive around them in a serpentine pattern.
  • Used on local and minor roadways not designated for transit or emergency vehicles.

Lateral shift

  • A straight section redesigned using pavement markings or curb extensions to create a curvelinear alignment
  • Causes drivers to have to negotiate the alignment and increases awareness in attempt to reduce vehicle speeds

2017/2018 physical traffic calming projects

Three roadways qualified for physical traffic calming in 2017.

  • Great Lakes Boulevard
  • Pinegrove Road
  • Ridge Drive

Great Lakes Boulevard

The Town of Oakville Great Lakes Boulevard Traffic Calming Study is recommending physical traffic calming measure along Great Lakes Boulevard between Creek Path Avenue and Lakeshore Road West.

The recommended plan (pdf) includes measures to reduce the effective pavement width of the road and provide greater buffer between cycle lanes and driving and parking lanes. These measures include a series of centre-road medians, islands in the parking lanes and moving the bike lanes to beside the curb to keep cyclists away from traffic. In addition, a pedestrian crossover (PXO) at Buena Vista Court is recommended based on the Town's Pedestrian Safety Program (2017).

The recommended plan was identified through an assessment and evaluation of the alternatives considering technical criteria, and feedback received from the public and technical agencies. Physical traffic calming measures that were considered included: raised centre median, curb extensions, roundabout, and combination of these.

Speed surveys conducted by the town indicated that traffic speeds are higher than posted speed limits and the traffic calming threshold. Therefore, this study was undertaken to consider reduction fo traffic speeds, safety of pedestrian and cyclists and ease of access for emergency services.

Community input was vital to this study. The key points of consultation included:

  • A Notice of Commencement on March 8, 2018, to introduce the study and collect feedback from the online survey, was mailed to all property owners within the study area and posted on the Lakeshore Woods Community Facebook Group.
  • A Public Information Centre (PIC) on April 24, 2018, to present the study information, provide the community an opportunity to meet the project team, and share feedback.
  • A second online survey on May 5, 2018, published on the town's website and emailed to the study mailing list, to make available the PIC display materials to the public as well as all stakeholders, and to allow to comment and rank the alternative recommendations.

The project next steps will include staff report to Community Services Committee in late spring 2019. Pending Council approval, the detailed design and construction will be referred to the 2020 Capital Forecast.

Pinegrove Road

April 2, 2019 - Following public input, Council voted to remove all speed cushions along Pinegrove Road from Fourth Line to Warwick Avenue. The cushions are scheduled to be removed in June 2019.

Background

Traffic calming on Pinegrove Road was implemented in 2018, in accordance with the town's traffic calming process. An overview of the process that was followed to determine if traffic calming was warranted, the options that were evaluated, and the public feedback received before and after the speed cushions were installed is available in the March 25, 2019 report to the Community Services Committee. Review the staff report (item 3 on the agenda).

Why was traffic calming and the addition of speed cushions implemented on Pinegrove Road?

Pinegrove Road is a local road intended to carry local traffic. Traffic calming on Pinegrove Road was driven by ongoing concerns from residents regarding speeding and aggressive driving on their street. As well as speeding, the speed survey found that traffic volumes on Pinegrove Road were substantially higher than what is expected for a local road, suggesting that motorists from outside the area were using the street to quickly bypass the major roads intended for through traffic. Speed cushions help deter through traffic from local roads and divert it to the collector roads, keeping residential areas safe.

Why are there 13 speed cushions?

To be effective, speed cushions are placed between 80-120 metres apart. This spacing prevents vehicles from speeding between the cushions and defeating their purpose. Pinegrove Road is 1,350 metres long, resulting in 13 cushions.

Why are the speed cushions so high?

Speed cushions are built to the town’s specifications following the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Traffic Calming Guidelines. Other municipalities (i.e. City of Burlington, City of London) follow the same design.

Why don’t you just lower the speed limit?

Unfortunately, people speed and studies and past experiences show that lowering the speed limit alone does not have considerable impact on the operating speeds of road users. 

Why not put up stop signs?

A stop sign is not a speed control device; it is a traffic control measure to assign the right-of-way at intersections. Intersections at Pinegrove/Warminster and Pinegrove/Maplehurst were reviewed to see if all-way stop signs were required. Neither of them met the all-way stop warrant criteria.

What are the yellow markers beside the speed cushions? They keep disappearing or getting broken.

The yellow bollards are markers to help guide emergency vehicles around the speed cushions in an emergency. They are flexible and easily bend out of the way of the emergency vehicle. We’ve noticed that some have been removed or vandalised and we will be replacing them in the coming weeks. We are working with the Halton Regional Police to monitor this situation.

What were the steps taken?

In 2016 – Following concerns from residents, a speed survey was conducted on Pinegrove Road. Average operating speeds were found to be 59 km/hour in the westbound direction and 62 km/hour in the eastbound. Based on the 62 km/hour speed results, physical traffic calming was warranted.

MAY 2017 – A traffic calming survey was distributed to residents of Pinegrove Road asking them if they supported physical traffic calming on their street. The majority of respondents living on Pinegrove Road voted in favour of traffic calming.

NOVEMBER 2017 – An invitation to a public information meeting was sent to residents. Two traffic calming designs were presented at the meeting: speed cushions and chicanes (curb extensions that periodically narrow a two-lane road to a one-lane road). Speed cushions were selected as the preferred option. Residents were notified of the decision to proceed with the speed cushion design.

OCTOBER 2018 – Notice was sent to residents about the start of construction of the speed cushions.

What if I live in the area and don’t like the speed cushions?

Consistent with TAC guidelines, the town’s traffic calming process includes a post-implementation review and possible modification or removal of the traffic calming measures.

The town continues to welcome input from area residents. As the speed cushions were installed at the request of the residents living on Pinegrove Road, the town surveyed residents in early 2019 to gather their feedback on the layout.  Following resident’s input, motion was made at the Community Services Committee meeting on March 25, 2019 to remove all speed cushions from Pinegrove Road. Committee recommendations will be presented to Council on April 2 for final decision.

Ridge Drive

Residents of Ridge Drive also voted in favour of speed cushions, as the most preferred physical traffic calming measure. Three sets of speed cushions were implemented from Sixth Line to Kent Avenue in the fall of 2018. Review the current speed cushion layout on Ridge Drive.

Traffic calming in school zones on major collector and minor arterial roadways

In May 2018, the town initiated a study on potential traffic calming options for school zones on major collector and minor arterial roadways. In total, the project will treat 20 school sites located across the town.

  • St. Luke’s Catholic Elementary School (CES) – Kingsway Drive
  • James W. Hill Public School (PS) – Kingsway Drive
  • Our Lady of Peace CES – River Glen Boulevard
  • Ecole Forest Trail PS – Pine Glen Road
  • Emily Carr PS – Pine Glen Road
  • Westoak PS - Fourth Line
  • St. Joan of Arc CES – Westoak Trails Boulevard
  • Captain R. Wilson PS – Grand Oak Trail
  • St. Mary’s CES – Colonel William Parkway
  • Palermo PS – Valleyridge Drive
  • Abbey Lane PS – Old Abbey Lane
  • St. Matthew’s CES – Nottinghill Gate
  • Heritage Glen PS – Heritage Way
  • St. Bernadette CES – Heritage Way
  • St. Gregory the Great CES – Sixteen Mile Drive
  • Oodenawi PS – George Savage Avenue/Sixteen Mile Drive
  • Munn’s PS – Sixth Line
  • Pilgrim Wood PS – Pilgrims Way
  • W.H. Morden PS – Rebecca Street
  • St. Dominic’s CES – Rebecca Street

The study identifies short-term and long-term measures for these sites. The recommended short-term measure is to implement fixed (permanent) radar speed display signs (RSDS) at all 20 locations in 2020.

The project is also developing long-term physical traffic calming recommendations specific to each school location. Additional public consultation and outreach will be conducted prior to finalizing the recommendations. 

More information

Detailed information about the recent Traffic Calming Process Update and Speed Limit Review can be found on the June 17, 2019, Community Services Committee agenda.

Questions?

If you have any questions regarding the traffic calming program, or wish to initiate a request please contact ServiceOakville at 905-845-6601 or by email at service@oakville.ca