Speed Tables In Bridgwater Forest
I’ve spent the last 18 years working to make our streets, sidewalks and pathways safer, by initiating many many different projects to improve our active transportation network (education, signs, mapping, events, infrastructure, studies, etc.) See: Lukes & Active Transportation. One particular project was the piloting of speed tables. Following the election in 2014, I initiated a pilot project with the Public Works department to install speed tables to calm traffic in residential neighbourhoods. Speed tables are different than speed ‘humps’. Speed tables are flatter – longer – and work well for transit and emergency vehicles to travel over. They change the built environment to calm traffic. They are far more effective in traffic than signage, flashing lights, or enforcement because they change the physical aspects of the street. They are much more economical as they don’t require bulb changes, police staffing, etc.
We are piloting speed tables on the following streets in the Waverley West (and parts of the former St Norbert) ward:
- Dalhousie Drive
- Killkenny Drive
- Silverstone Ave
- Lee Blvd
- Bridgeland Drive North and South
- Aldgate Dr
- – and other streets are being studied in the ward as potential candidates for speed tables.
REGARDING the Bridgeland Drive North and South Speed Tables:
- Bridgeland Drive North and South are used as ‘cut through streets’ to access Pembina Highway. This ‘cut through’ behaviour will change when Bison Drive is opened and connects through to Kenaston, but until then (4-5 yrs) many vehicles will continue using Bridgeland Drive North and South to access Pembina Highway.
- My office has been receiving weekly calls on speeding vehicles since I was elected – in all seasons – spring, summer, winter and fall. So I set out to pilot speed tables.
- Summer 2016, the first speed table was installed on Bridgeland Drive North near Beachham Crescent as part of the pilot project. See: Bridgwater Forest Speed Tables
- Fall 2018, four additional tables were to be added. Two were installed, and subsequently had to be removed because they did not adhere to the road due to cold weather conditions at the end of the construction season.
Summer 2019, four additional speed tables were installed as part of the pilot project. The engineers in Public Works designed the height and location of the speed tables. They are professional transportation engineers. The engineers drew up ‘specs’ as to how high, how wide, how long, and where they speed tables would be installed. The speed tables were installed and –
- For whatever reason, the work crew did not follow the specifications related to height – and they were installed higher than they should have been.
- For whatever reason, accessibility issues were not considered when selecting the location of the speed tables. The speed tables were installed on the road connecting the pathways but – the tables then caused poor accessibility for cyclists, strollers and wheelchairs that were using the pathways and connecting across the road and speed tables to the pathway on the other side of the road.
I am not a transportation engineer and do not come up with the technicalities of where, how high, wide, etc. related to the installation of traffic calming devices. I am not a supervisor of work crews (installed by City staff) – as supervisors are hired to oversee staff. I am not an accessibility expert and therefore rely on engineers to advise on accessibility details. Clearly there are some challenges in the Public Works department. There are challenges in many departments in the City (311, Property Planning and Development, Legal, Water and Waste). I attribute many of these challenges to current leadership under the strong mayor model – the model that governs our City and the one I’ve been advocating to have a comprehensive update. The governance model has not been updated in 20 years. Will the hiring of a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) result in positive administrative changes? Maybe – or maybe not – as the CAO operates under the direction of the Mayor and the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee. I will update more on that topic in the coming week.
- The Public Works department has assured me, they WILL be re-installing the speed tables on Bridgeland Drive North and South in the coming weeks, after more analysis. I am very very supportive of having speed tables installed, at the correct height and the correct locations and will continue working towards proper installation.
- The speed table pilot project is a learning tool being used to assist department staff on the impacts, and details related to speed table installation. Regrettably, it is also highlighting the financial cost of poor internal communications and supervision. Please be assured I am addressing this issue with the Mayor and the interim CAO.
I welcome any feedback you may have.