Traffic Calming

Traffic calming encourages livable streets by lowering traffic speeds and volumes

Traffic calming projects can range from inexpensive and flexible measures, to higher cost permanent installations like speed humps, diverters and road closures. Traffic calming seeks to adjust drivers’ behavior to better fit the context of the street, and data collection plays an important part to understand existing issues and potential solutions. Traffic calming can have a number of impacts, for example a project can slow vehicles down on one street, while shifting vehicles – and the problem - to another street. That’s why City staff approach traffic calming projects by considering the larger network beyond a single street or block.

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

  • Schools and Parks:  Traffic calming measures will be focused on local streets surrounding schools and parks. This may include new speed humps, and improved signage to heighten the visibility of school and park zones.
  • Speed Reader Boards: To increase  driver awareness and reduce speeds on busy roads, the City will be installing speed reader boards on several corridors throughout the city.
  • 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 among other locations city-wide. 

Traffic Calming Examples

  • Temporary Installations – inexpensive temporary installations can be deployed to test out a traffic calming improvement. This can include using concrete planters, plastic bollards, paint and/or other removable barriers to narrow the road and cue drivers to slow down
  • Speed Reader Boards – dynamic, flashing displays alert drivers of their speed relative to the posted speed limit, with the intent of slowing drivers down. Speed reader boards are suitable on busier thoroughfares –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
  • Curb extension – a horizontal extension of the curb into the roadway that reduces the pedestrian crossing distance and creates a narrower roadway. Curb extensions (also called curb bulges or bulb-outs) can be installed at intersections or mid-block.
  • Sidewalk Extension -  by extending the sidewalk across a local street intersection (as opposed to the sidewalk dropping off and picking up on either side of the intersection) this provides a strong visual cue to drivers of the pedestrians priority at the crossing
  • Median Diverter – an installation on the centre line that prevents through traffic and thus reduces vehicle volumes. Can be designed to be passable bypedestrians and cyclists
  • Directional or full closures – barriers can be placed across roadways to either fully prohibit all through traffic (full closure) or at least one direction of traffic (directional closure), to address short-cutting and/or high vehicle volumes

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 to the City. 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 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.

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 two-thirds 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.