A great event with lots of probing questions from participants! Thanks to David Ferguson, Superintendent of Traffic Engineering at the City of Hamilton for an overview of steps involved when investigating traffic-related requests, such as traffic calming measures. Turns out that the City would like to move away from the street by street, issue by issue approach to dealing with traffic calming requests, and instead invite neighbourhoods to form working groups that cover neighbourhoods–eh, Friendly Streets Cafes anyone? Because that’s what we are proposing. Dave says that the city is planning to work on the principles of Vision Zero (not sure why they don’t adopt this as policy).
Streets should be safe for all ages and abilities to walk and cycle. If you’ve ever wanted to request a traffic calming measure in your neighbourhood but are confused by the formal process for doing so, check this out:
Most traffic related information at the City is found under https://www.hamilton.ca/streets-transportation/driving-traffic. There are links listed on the left hand side of the page e.g. pedestrian crossovers, etc. for the public to refer to.David described “passive measures” for traffic calming which are primarily signage improvements and usually result in restricting specific movements. These include stop signs, turning restrictions, one-way streets, on-street parking/narrowing traffic lane widths, and require enforcement.
“Physical measures” include chokers/narrowing/bump-outs, which include: narrowing of a street, widening sidewalks (shortens crossing distance, forces traffic towards curb while reducing roadway width, offers
opportunities for aesthetic improvements and green infrastructure and can
reduce volumes and vehicle speeds.
Speed humps and raised crosswalks are physical measures that Dave says are the most effective device at reducing vehicle speeds.
Raised crosswalks can improve pedestrian locations. However, these measures impact emergency vehicles.
Other physical measures include road closures and diverters, which eliminate specific movements and are effective in reducing cut through traffic but can have negative impact to area residents and also on emergency and operations services.
Following the presentation by David, we hosted roundtable discussions and a street audit, that folks could chose from to participate in. These were:
-What are the various traffic calming designs and how do you prioritize them at the neighbourhood-level?
-Conducted a street audit to evaluate the safety and vibrancy of the intersection of James St. N. and Barton St. W.
-Designed a form or process for a Neighbourhood Traffic Management Plan.