The City of Saskatoon is responsible for ensuring roadways serve the needs of all road users in a safe and efficient manner. Traffic calming presents an opportunity to improve safety for all road users by reducing the negative impacts of motor vehicles.
What is traffic calming?
Traffic calming is the use of physical measures to reduce the negative effects of motor vehicles use, alter driver behavior and improve conditions for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists. Traffic calming measures are a means to address traffic and safety issues such as speeding and shortcutting. Physical features such as speed humps, curb extensions and median islands are often the first traffic calming measures that come to mind. When traffic calming measures are applied with a policy framework, existing problems can be solved and the risks of creating new traffic problems reduced.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of the Traffic Calming Policy is to maintain the liveability of our neighbourhoods while ensuring the safe, efficient and economical movement of persons and goods on our streets.
The objective of the policy is to restore traffic calmed roads to their intended functionality and mitigate motorist behaviors to acceptable and appropriate levels of compliance within the system. Collectively, these factors determine how 'liveable' a street or community is. Some specific objectives include:
- Slower vehicle speeds;
- Fewer, less severe collisions;
- Increased safety for all road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists;
- Reduced reliance on police enforcement;
- Enhanced roadway environment and streetscape;
- Improved access to all modes of transportation; and
- Reduced 'cut-through' or non-local traffic for local streets.
Traffic calming is only applied to local and collector streets of residential neighbourhoods. Saskatoon's busier streets, the arterial streets, are not eligible for calming.
The traffic calming process is a four-phase process:
- Phase 1: Application and Data Collection
- Phase 2: Traffic Calming Plan
- Phase 3: Final Design and Approval
- Phase 4: Implementation and Evaluation
Although the primary focus of traffic calming is residential streets, traffic calming can be used on almost all types of streets. Once constructed, a minimum period of six months must pass before a study is conducted within the neighbourhood to measure vehicle speeds, volumes and cut-through vehicle numbers and solicit feedback from property owners on the effectiveness of the traffic calming plan and any observed changes.
Traffic Calming Removal
An adjustment period is necessary for drivers to adapt to the changes following the implementation of a traffic calming plan. Following the evaluation, the City may identify issues or safety concerns from the implementation of the measures or a negative impact that was created that cannot be corrected.
To initiate the review of traffic calming measures for removal, a resident or stakeholder must submit an Application for Existing Traffic Calming Device Review/Removal Form. Following the receipt of application, Administration will contact the applicant and discuss concerns or issues to obtain full details for further field review.
Neighbourhoods and residents can get involved by:
- Identifying traffic related issues;
- Responding to all surveys;
- Attending public meetings for traffic calming studies;
- Approving or rejecting the development of a traffic calming plan;
- Selecting preferred traffic calming concept(s) which address the identified issues from the options presented by staff; and
- Approving or rejecting the implementation of the preferred traffic calming plan.
Where can traffic calming be installed?
Traffic calming can be installed on residential local or collector streets with a posted speed limit of 50 km/h or less that meet the required criteria.
How effective is traffic calming?
For traffic calming to be effective, the traffic calming plan needs to be tailored to address the specific traffic issues that are occurring. Insight from the local residents on the issues of concern is key to develop an effective site-specific plan.
What types of traffic calming measures are used?
- Education (e.g. speed display boards, education campaigns)
- Horizontal Deflection (e.g. curb extensions, median islands, traffic circles)
- Vertical Deflections (e.g. raised crosswalk, speed hump)
- Access Restriction (e.g. diverter, directional closure, full closure)
Why are some measures installed temporarily with rubber curbing?
Horizontal deflection devices are implemented temporarily prior to permanent installation to allow for a monitoring period. If the measures are deemed to be effective at addressing the traffic concern, they will be installed permanently as funding allows. If the measures are found to be ineffective, they will be adjusted or removed.
Will the traffic calming measures affect City services?
Traffic calming measures can be designed to accommodate emergency services, transit, waste management, street sweeping and snow clearing vehicles to minimize impact of their operations.
Each community traffic calming plan will include input from Emergency Services, Transit and Roadways, Fleet and Support. Information will be shared with the community on estimated impacts of any proposed traffic plan for residents to be fully informed during decision-making processes.
Why can't stop signs be installed instead of traffic calming devices?
Stop signs are a form of traffic control used to assign the right-of-way at intersections; they are not intended to be used as speed control devices or to stop priority traffic over minor traffic. Installing unwarranted stop signs usually results in a higher occurrence of non-compliance of the stop signs which can lead to reduced safety.
What can I do to calm traffic in my neighbourhood?
- Obey the traffic laws and follow the rules of the road.
- Be courteous to other road users.
- Use an alternate mode of transportation to help reduce the amount of traffic in your neighbourhood.
- Ask your community association to publish information on traffic concerns in the newsletter.
- Host a community event to raise awareness about local traffic issues.
Vertical Traffic Calming Pilot Project
The City completed a pilot project to install temporary vertical traffic calming devices in neighbourhoods. This pilot was initiated at the direction of City Council and is in response to inquiries from residents to investigate new methods of reducing neighbourhood traffic speeds. The traffic calming device selected for the pilot project was a rubber speed hump which was installed at the following locations:
- Vic Boulevard between Assaly Street and Hunter Road;
- Nemeiben Road between Anglin Crescent and Emmeline Road;
- 29th Street West between McMillan Avenue and Avenue L North; and
- Stensrud Road between Muzyka Road / Greaves Crescent and Van Impe Crescent / Keedwall Street.
The results of the pilot project were presented in a report to City Council in early 2019. In a follow-up report to Standing Policy Committee in June 2019, speed humps were recommended for the Anderson Crescent back lane and Glasgow Street between Clarence Avenue and Broadway Avenue.
To address ongoing speeding issues at the pilot project locations, alternative traffic calming measures will be installed, as described in the October 2019 report to Standing Policy Committee.
Community Speed Display Board Program
The purpose of this program is to allow communities to purchase their own speed display board. The following process will be followed:
- Community Associations submit a written application to the City of Saskatoon to initiate the process.
- The City will provide the Community Association a cost estimate of the speed display board, along with an agreement to be signed by the Community Association. The agreement will set out the expectations on maintenance, repairs, vandalism, etc. of the board.
- The Community Association will provide payment to the City, as well as enter into the written agreement.
- The City of Saskatoon will acquire the speed display board.
- The speed display board is to be installed for one-year at one location. The speed display board will be removed during the winter season. The community can submit a written request to the City annually to relocate the speed display board to another location.
- Annually, the community can submit a written request to the City to have the speed display board relocated to another location.