Town proposing new road safety measures

Wed, 04 May 2016

Public supports lower speed limits and other traffic calming methods

Town Council approved a proposal on May 2, 2016 to lower speed limits on select town roads and introduce an expanded traffic calming program. The plan comes after extensive research and public consultation on ways to curb speeding and support a safer environment in residential areas.
 
“Making sure our roads are safe for both vehicles and pedestrians is always a priority,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Traffic calming will continue to be an important way in which we enhance the quality of our neighbourhoods and continue on our road to creating a more livable Oakville.”
 
In a report presented to Council, town staff recommended lowering the speed limit to 40 kilometres per hour on roadways alongside all schools, including secondary and private schools, as well as seniors’ centres, community centres, arenas, and libraries. 
 
Last year, the town undertook a traffic calming and speed limit review, which included a survey of residents, after the Ministry of Transportation Ontario asked municipalities to consider lowering the default speed limit on municipal roads. Currently, all roads within Oakville have a default speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour unless posted otherwise, as set out by the Highway Traffic Act. Roadways posted at lower limits – i.e. 40 kilometres per hour – have been limited to roads primarily within elementary school zones.
 
“Results from our extensive research and review indicate that lowering the speed limit town wide is not necessary. A more practical and effective solution is to expand the use of 40 kilometre per hour speed zones to other areas that have high pedestrian traffic,” said Dan Cozzi, director, Engineering and Construction department. 
 
Council directed staff to report back to the Budget Committee on timing and costs to implement the lower speeds as well as expand the traffic calming program to include Radar Speed Display Signs (RSDS). RSDS are the signs that indicate your speed as you approach them. Staff is proposing to install 12 RSDS units in areas that have been identified as having consistent speeding issues. According to a 2014 and 2015 pilot project the signs are effective in decreasing speeds by up to seven kilometres per hour. 
 
RSDS were chosen by survey respondents, as one of the most preferred options of traffic calming measures, along with raised crosswalks and passive traffic calming techniques such as line markings and signage.
 
The town is also developing a Pedestrian Safety Program to establish where and what type of pedestrian crossings are needed throughout town. 
 
For more information, review the April 25, 2016, Community Services Committee meeting staff report.