Hope for traffic calming

I came across this example of traffic calming in Port Hope. A residential collector street obviously suffers from excessive speeding traffic. And Port Hope certainly had an abundance of jacked-up pickup trucks and elderly cars with look-at-me “mufflers” (amplifiers?). I suspect cruisin’ the streets is a vehicular  passeggiata for the Hopeful.

This long thin traffic island, repeated every block, effectively narrows the available lane space and forces a certain percentage of vehicles to slow down a bit.

I was impressed by the intensive landscaping in the medians, which even included trees:

Trees were planted both in the island and on both sides of the street. They won’t quite form a joining arch over the top, as the trees are small toy trees that city works crews love so much.

I am hopefull [sorry] that someday we might see some similar traffic calming on Ottawa streets, provided it doesn’t inconvenience the cubicle dwellers on their rush hour commutes to greenland. We could start on Sherwood Drive. Until then, there is Hope.

4 thoughts on “Hope for traffic calming

  1. I understand your concern. But if the little islands work, drivers slow down. From a slower starting speed they should be more willing to share the road with an even slower bike, whereas at higher speeds the bike seems more of nuisance. Presumably the narrower lane will also discourage some of what is obviously speeding/noise making traffic from using the residential route at all. I happened on this street by accident, having missed the turn onto the main traffic street through the downtown. It forms a loop out around the bluffs and perimeter of the town, so I can see its attractiveness for drivers cruisin’ the evening away.
    I did not think to measure the lane width. It might well have been a sharable size, like 14′ wide. Maybe some reader going to Port Hope or having friends there can find out.
    Note also that Port Hope is on the great lakes bike route running from Windsor to the Quebec border, where all sorts of incremental cycling improvements are being put in to encourage safe cycling tourism; this may be part of making the town bike-friendly rather than a traffic measure that inadvertently makes cycling more dangerous.
    – Eric

  2. As a commuter cyclist who generally prefers the roads to the multi-use or segregated offerings, I find these so-called traffic ‘calming’ measures problematic.

    Consider, as an example, Kirkwood Avenue between Carling and Byron. The road seems to have enough width to accomodate two vehicle lanes in each direction. But it is artificially narrowed in various locations on either side by expanses of raised concrete which jut out into the roadway.

    I understand the issues: some private driveways enter the street, parking and bus pull-ins need to be considered, keeping speed down in what is essentially a residential area is also important. However, the solution makes it dangerous to cyclists. The artificially narrow points will force a rider in a safe position on the right to make a sudden merge into traffic. There is not enough room for a car (bus or truck) and cyclist to ride side-by-side on the narrowed roadway. This means as a cyclist, I have to ‘take the lane’ the whole way down the road, slowing all traffic down to my 30-35km/h. The alternative of merging and unmerging repeatedly is not feasible or safe.

    The result is that neither the driver nor the cyclist is particularly ‘calmed’ by this measure. Rather on the contrary I would say.

    Steve D

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