Speed bumps? Chicanes? Higher fines?
These are all options Halifax Regional Council is looking at to calm traffic in the city, especially in residential areas.
Councillors approved a traffic calming policy on Tuesday that will streamline the process and make it easier for residents to complain about speeding on their streets.
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“Those could include speed humps, raised crosswalks, which is interesting, and a reduction in the posted speed limits to 45 [kilometres per hour] all in an attempt to alter driver behaviours” said District 4 councillor Lorelei Nicoll, who has been trying for a traffic calming policy for several years.
“Everybody would always ask me ‘What was the number one complaint I get from residents?’ and it’s always been speeding … was always number one … and how do we address it.”
Several councillors voiced their concerns with the speeds that drivers travel at through neighbourhoods as well as the fact that often times, provincial courts won’t hold a ticket for 10-15 kilometres over the speed limit.
In most cases, speed limits in residential areas in HRM are 50 kilometres per hour, sometimes some councillors have suggested should be dropped.
Chicanes are another option that council has proposed as an approach to traffic calming.
A chicane, a road feature that features extra turns in a roadway, exists on Romans Avenue in Halifax and encourages drivers to slow down as they drive through the residential neighbourhood.
The chicane on Romans Avenue in Halifax is pictured here. Google Maps
The chicane on Romans Avenue in Halifax is pictured here.
Councillor Linda Mosher questioned their effectiveness, however, saying people don’t follow the extra turns, instead they drive through the middle of the bulges.
“They don’t go around the turn, and if they do they’re confused,” she said.
“They’re useless … I drove down the middle.”
Councillors also brought up streets like Larry Utek Boulevard, which are generally straight, with no bends in the road allowing drivers to travel along without having to adjust their speeds.
The aim is to make the changes to a few streets at first and examine whether it’s effective before moving forward with more.
Residents could possibly have to vote in favour of making the proposed changes to the streets in their neighbourhoods.
Staff will work with residents to come up with solutions, which the neighbourhood will then vote for. There is $50,000 in the capital budget that can go toward this project.