What is traffic calming?

    Traffic calming involves the use of measures that aim to alter driver behaviour and improve safety for all road users.

    I have a speeding concern along a local road in my neighbourhood. How will the proposed policy changes address this?

    The proposed changes to the traffic calming policy are aimed at addressing vehicle speeding concerns in more neighbourhoods across Kingston. Under the proposed policy, City Councillors can select a local road for the implementation of traffic calming measures annually. This will enable the implementation of up to 12 Type I (minor-adjustment) traffic calming measures each year in neighbourhoods across Kingston.

    The new Traffic Calming Guidelines also consider a wider range of traffic calming tools available for use, including community-based initiatives that residents could implement with support from the City. A City-issued lawn sign that encourages motorists to slow down is one example of a community-based initiative.

    I have a speeding concern along a main arterial road. How will the proposed changes address this?

    The existing and updated traffic calming policy do not apply to arterial roadways. Arterial roadways, like Gardiners Road or Sir John A. Boulevard, are designed and built for higher volumes of vehicles, which often also lends itself to travelling at higher speeds. Speeding issues along arterial roadways require consistent enforcement, and are typically best addressed through longer-term capital planning, such as through the City’s Active Transportation Master Plan.

    When the City receives a neighbourhood transportation issue, what happens? How will traffic calming be considered?

    When a neighbourhood transportation issue is raised, such as speeding, the City first reviews available traffic data, solutions previously implemented, existing policy, and planned capital work. Based on this initial review, the primary issue is documented, and may be monitored or scheduled for further assessment. 

    If the primary issue is determined to be a speeding or traffic volume issue, traffic calming may be considered in the following ways:

    • Your local City Councillor may select the roadway for a traffic calming implementation as part of the proposed annual process.
    • Transportation issues received and reviewed by the City may be considered as part of long-term neighbourhood and capital project planning.
    • Concerns that fall within neighbourhood areas that are participating in the City’s Safe Routes to School program will be captured for further review as part of this implementation.
    • Community-based initiatives will be available to interested residents to address ongoing neighbourhood transportation concerns.

    I would like to see traffic calming in my neighbourhood, but I don’t want speed humps. Are there any alternatives?

    Yes, there are. The draft Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines contain 26 other types of traffic calming measures.

    An all-way stop would help slow down vehicles in my neighbourhood. Why doesn’t the policy consider the use of stop signs?

    Stop signs are intended for intersection control and are not a recommended tool to address speeding concerns. Placing stop signs at locations that do not meet the recommended criteria can lead to lower compliance and other issues with driver behaviour.

    The posted speed in my area is too high. Can the City reduce the speed limit instead?

    Changing a speed limit that does not consider roadway design or function may result in enforcement challenges, increases in traffic hazards, and typically has minimal impact on driver behaviour.  Many motorists will continue to drive at speeds they feel are reasonable and comfortable unless continual enforcement is present. The visual and physical cues that a driver uses to determine the appropriate speed should be consistent with the posted speed limit.

    How does Automated Speed Enforcement fit with the proposed changes to the Traffic Calming Policy and Guidelines?

    City staff are monitoring the implementation of Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) that began in a few municipalities in Ontario last year. An Information Report to Council is scheduled to be brought forward later this year that provides an overview of ASE, the approach to ASE that has been developed for Ontario municipalities, a summary of any available information on the programs that are being implemented in Ontario, their associated costs, and the resources that would be needed to implement ASE in Kingston.