Traffic Calming

Traffic calming creates livable streets by lowering the volume and speed of traffic

Traffic calming measures seek to adjust drivers’ behavior to better fit the context of the street. Traffic calming may range from inexpensive and flexible measures like planters and paint markings, to higher cost permanent installations like speed humps, diverters and road closures. 

Traffic calming can have a number of impacts -  a project can slow vehicles down on one street or shift vehicles to another street. City staff approach traffic calming projects by considering the larger network beyond a single street or block and collect traffic data to understand existing issues and potential solutions. 

The first phase of the City’s traffic calming program will focus on:

  • Schools and Parks: Traffic calming measures may include new speed humps, improved signage to heighten the visibility of school and park zones and school crosswalk enhancements. The City continues to work with interested schools to expand the School Streets program to create safer school zones and encourage active transportation.
  • Speed Reader Boards: The City is installing speed reader boards on several corridors around Victoria to increase driver awareness and reduce speeds on busy roads, 
  • Resident Requests: Every year, the City receives multiple requests for neighbourhood traffic calming. Each request is reviewed to see if traffic calming is the best solution, and then requests are prioritized with other locations city-wide. 

Traffic Calming Examples

  • Temporary Installations temporary concrete planters, plastic bollards, paint and/or other removable barriers that help narrow the road and cue drivers to slow down can be used to trial traffic calming improvements. 
  • Speed Reader Boards – dynamic, flashing displays alert drivers of their speed to help slow traffic. Speed reader boards are suitable on busier thoroughfares like arterial or collector streets
  • Speed Humps – raised sections of roadway that can only be driven over comfortably at lower speeds, typically installed in pairs or a longer sequence. Best suited for local streets, not arterial or collector streets, as speed humps slow emergency response and or transit service that use these routes.
  • Pop-Up Pedestrian Islands – (PUPIs or road puppies) low-cost, concrete yellow slabs that slow down vehicles and/or heighten driver awareness around crosswalks. They are being trialed city-wide as centre median islands or as curb extensions that visibly narrow the road. PUPIs are the same height as a standard full-height curb and can be quickly installed, adjusted or removed as needed.
  • Curb extension – horizontal extensions of the curb into the roadway that reduce pedestrian crossing distance and create a narrower roadway. Curb extensions (also called curb bulges or bulb-outs) can be installed at intersections or mid-block.
  • Sidewalk Extension – sidewalk extensions across a local street intersection (as opposed to the sidewalk dropping off and picking up on either side of the intersection) provide strong visual cues to drivers that pedestrians are crossing
  • Median Diverter – an installation on the centre line that prevents through traffic and reduces vehicle volumes and can be designed to be passable by pedestrians and cyclists
  • Directional closures or full closures – barriers that can be placed across roadways to address short-cutting and/or high vehicle volumes. Closures can fully prohibit all through traffic (full closure) or one direction of traffic (directional closure),

 

Traffic Calming Requests – Step by Step

Residents see every day what’s happening on their street and are encouraged to submit traffic calming requests or concerns. Once received, staff review and input requests to the traffic calming registry, evaluating locations through a lens of transportation, land use, and safety criteria. 

The City receive dozens of traffic calming requests each year and each one is tracked and prioritized by staff in the traffic calming registry. If you have not heard back about a request you can follow-up with the City by email or call 250-361-0300.

The following steps describe how staff determine if traffic calming is right for your local street:

Step 1) Residents submit a traffic calming concern or request

  • Residents submit their traffic calming request to eng@victoria.ca describing the location, observed traffic problem(s), time of day it occurs, and any other key information. Staff will follow-up with residents to discuss and gather further information as needed.

Step 2) Review the street

  • The street characteristics will be reviewed (land use, road width, parking, transit, crosswalks, available traffic data etc), and planned construction or infrastructure projects. This will help to assess whether the location is best suited for a traffic calming measure or another solution.

Step 3) Data Collection

  • If eligible for traffic calming, the street will added to the queue for traffic data collection to confirm existing conditions. Vehicle volumes and speeds are collected through hose counters and/or radar studies, however manual intersection counts or observations can also be used.
  •  Due to high volume of traffic calming requests, data collection can take up to 3 months or more. You can follow-up with the City by email or call 250-361-0300 to learn about the status of the data collection results for your street.

Step 4) Prioritization

  • Once traffic data is collected, locations are scored and prioritized according to 85th percentile vehicle speeds, daily vehicle volumes, directional bias etc. Scoring also includes criteria such as land use, vehicle types, and collision data.
  • Streets are then ranked and prioritized within a project list for the traffic calming program

Step 5) Implementation

  • For streets at the top of the list each year, letters will be sent out to residents describing the traffic problem, a proposed concept, and the opportunity to indicate support or opposition.  If a household does not respond, the City will assume acceptance of the proposal.
  • If the majority of residents are in support, the next step will be to move the project into detailed design, identify funding, and finally, schedule and install the improvement .

Contact us:

Contact eng@victoria.ca or 250-361-0300 to submit your traffic calming request or to acquire more information on Victoria’s traffic calming program.