To help slow the spread of COVID-19 and support Public Health officials, the Town of Oakville has joined the Province of Ontario and Halton Region in declaring a State of Emergency. Facilities and parks remain closed. Only essential services are being delivered.
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. At the October 22 Council meeting, Council approved a second pilot project within the Heritage Way area.
The existing posted 50 km/hour speed limits signs will be removed from all streets within these two study areas. 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 study areas before and during the pilot and report back to Council with the study results in the second quarter of 2020.
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:
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.
Three roadways qualified for physical traffic calming in 2017.
To address resident concerns of speeding on Great Lakes Boulevard, the town will install permanent radar speed display signs between Fox Run Circle and Summerset Court, and a pedestrian crossover just north of Buena Vista Court in fall 2019.
Following community feedback, the town will not be proceeding with physical traffic calming measures along Great Lakes Boulevard.
The recommended plan (pdf) included 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. After a review of the preliminary design, the majority of respondents were not in favour of the proposed plan. The plan will be kept on file for future consideration
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.