Dufferin News Municipal Orangeville

Town of Orangeville Progresses on Traffic Calming Policy


It looks like Orangeville residents shouldn’t be expecting to see speed bumps included in any traffic calming measures implemented by the town.

On October 4, 2021, the Town of Orangeville held a public meeting regarding traffic calming. This follows the municipality engaging with the engineering firm CIMA+ to undertake a traffic calming study and to use the findings to develop a policy suitable for the town. A staff document specified that the town requested the services due to speeding and traffic safety concerns expressed by numerous delegations and resident groups. The stated goal of traffic calming is to reduce the adverse effects of motor use, alter driver behaviour, and improve conditions for other street users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Staff state they will be assisted by developing a town-wide policy that provides a straightforward procedure for assessing whether traffic calming at any given location is warranted. The policy is also expected to lay out instructions for selecting and implementing the most appropriate traffic calming measure.

Jamie Garcia, an associate partner, and senior project manager with CIMA+, led a presentation to council defining what traffic calming was, the different traffic calming measures appropriate for Orangeville, and a draft of the process to follow for proper implementation. Garcia said traffic calming is most effective when considered part of a broader, integrated approach to managing transportation-related dilemmas within neighbourhoods rather than to address speed-related traffic concerns at a street or block level and may not be the most appropriate solution for all issues. Garcia suggested that a better alternative to traffic calming is to have developers build new roads with speed reduction in mind.

“This is the best approach and thus the most cost effective because you don’t need to pay for that,” Garcia told Orangeville’s council. “The developer is going to pay.”

In his presentation, Garcia laid out suitable traffic calming measures for the town, which left out vertical deflection tools such as speed bumps. They were said to create liability concerns and problems for transit and emergency response vehicles. Vertical deflections have also been known to move traffic onto another street, therefore not solving the problem.

“It’s an extreme measure,” declared Garcia. “We heard clearly from OPP, emergency services, and the fire department that they don’t want to see vertical deflections as part of the traffic calming measure.”

One traffic calming measure emphasized was horizontal deflections, an intrusion of a curb onto the roadway. Horizontal deflections narrow the road, forcing the driver to slow down and limiting their ability to drive in a straight line. They also serve the purpose of reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians and preventing parking close to an intersection. Garcia also suggested roadway narrowing and pavement markings as appropriate traffic calming techniques for Orangeville, in addition to enforcement and education. 

“I think it’s great,” said Mayor Sandy Brown of the suggestion to put in horizontal deflections. “The idea of squeezing you into a lane automatically makes you slow down.” 

The implementation process for Orangeville’s proposed traffic calming policy was shown in Garcia’s presentation, which states locations will be ineligible for a minimum of five years after being assessed unless there have been significant changes to the traffic characteristics. If the process gets adopted, a location will be considered for traffic calming based on its grade, block length, and collision history. Furthermore, sites will only be considered for traffic studies if the posted speed is less than or equal to 40 km/hour, the traffic volume is over 750 vehicles per day, 85 percent of drivers are going over 50km/hour, and it is on an urban local or collector road.

“Costs of traffic calming measures depends not only on the type of measure, but also the location,” outlined Garcia, saying therefore the town must undergo the process every time they perform an analysis. “If funds are not available, the solution may be implemented in future years, pending budget approval, and not as an immediate response to the problem.”

After Garcia’s presentation, councillors and the public had the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed traffic calming policy. Some councillors said that the rule disqualifying a location from being reassessed for five years was too long a period. Concerns were also raised about the traffic calming measures being limited to streets with over 750 vehicles per day traffic.

“It would be a shame to me if we missed out on making meaningful change and we boxed ourselves in with numbers,” said Councillor Todd Taylor. 

Councillor Taylor communicated that he believed the implementation process needed more opportunities for council and public input. 

“I’m on the front lines, I’m dealing with residents who have concerns and lots of times, to be honest with you,” remarked Councillor Taylor, “they’re valid concerns.” 

Before allowing staff to respond, Mayor Brown said perception isn’t always reality and that responding to traffic complaints creates costs. 

“Ultimately, it comes down to whether council wants a policy that’s data driven, or a policy that is perhaps a little bit more subjective,” outlined Doug Jones, Orangeville’s General Manager of Infrastructure Services, who explained how data-driven processes allow for repeatable, defensible, consistent approaches when it comes to traffic calming.

The staff report states that the traffic calming study report and policy are anticipated to be completed by November 2021. Staff communicated that input from the public consultation process will be incorporated into the final traffic calming study report, where applicable. 

References – Town of Orangeville Progresses on Traffic Calming Policy

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