Speed and Traffic Calming

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

New 40 km/hour speed zones around active parks 

The Highway Traffic Act allows municipalities to establish a higher or lower speed limit in certain areas, rather than rely on the current default traffic speed limit of 50km/hour. In December 2019, Council approved new 40 km/hour speed zones on roads fronting active parks where there's higher pedestrian traffic and children at play.

Beginning summer 2020, new 40 km/hour speed limit signs will be posted on roads fronting these parks:

  • Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park
  • Clearview Park
  • Deer Run Park
  • George Savage Park
  • Glen Allen Park
  • Holton Heights Park
  • Hopedale Park Windrush Park
  • Isaac Park
  • Jonathan Park
  • Nautical Park
  • Post Park
  • Seabrook Park
  • Sunningdale Park
  • Thornlea Park
  • Trafalgar Park
  • Windrush Park
  • Woodhaven Park
  • Wynten Park

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. 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 the following 20 locations in 2020. 

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

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. 

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

Pilot 40 km/hour speed limit project in West River and Heritage Way areas

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. 

Due to the current pandemic, speed surveys have been postponed until fall 2020. Staff will report back to Council with the study results in the first quarter of 2021.