Traffic Calming



The public and Council have frequently raised concerns regarding speeding and aggressive driving on residential streets in the Municipality, especially in high risk areas, such as near schools, parks and hospitals.

At the Regular Council Meeting on October 18, 2021, Council passed By-Law 75-2021 to adopt a Traffic Calming Policy for the Municipality of South Huron. The approved traffic calming policy will provide staff with a guideline and procedure for the initiation, investigation and implementation of traffic calming measures for roadways within the Municipality. The policy also ensures that there is a formal process for traffic calming requests that utilizes consistent criteria.

What is Traffic Calming?

Traffic calming is defined as the combination of mainly physical measures that alter driver behaviour to reduce the potential of negative effects of motor vehicle use and improve conditions for alternate modes of transportation. Traffic calming measures combined with engineering, educational and enforcement tools, can significantly improve the safety of neighbourhoods and related roads.

To address undesirable traffic conditions such as poor sight lines, speeding and excessive volume on local and collector roads, the specific objectives of traffic calming and this guide are to:

  • Increase the safety of neighbourhoods
  • Improve livability of neighbourhoods
  • Restore streets to their intended function
  • Maintain access routes for emergency services, public transit and maintenance services
  • Promote public participation and community support

What does not constitute Traffic Calming?

There are many misunderstandings regarding what constitutes “traffic calming”. If properly engineered traffic calming solutions are not utilized, traffic calming measures will not be effective.

The following are typically NOT traffic calming measures:

Unwarranted All Way Stops

Unwarranted all way stops do not act as effective traffic calming measures due to the following:

  • Traffic speed increases between stop signs.

  • Reduced compliance adhering to stop signs.

  • Increased rear-end collisions and driver frustration.

  • Requires enforcement from police.

Reduced Speed Zones

Artificially reduced speed zones are not conducive to traffic calming for the following reasons:

  • Reduced driver compliance to posted speeds.

  • Pedestrians often perceive roadways with reduced speeds to be safer, providing a false sense of safety.

  • Compliance with artificially reduced speeds is achievable through police enforcement and presence.

'Children at Play' Signs

Signage warning motorists of children at play are ineffective for providing traffic calming measures for the following reasons:

  • ‘Children at Play’ signs can provide residents with a false sense of security.

  • Children playing in the streets, while common, is dangerous and strictly prohibited under the Highway Traffic Act.

Speed Limit Signs

Speed limit signs do not act as traffic calming measures for the following reasons:

  • Posted speed limits for roadways are typically established based upon engineering criteria in relation to roadway characteristics.

  • Posted speed limits not matching characteristics of the roadway lead to motorist frustration and foster aggressive driving behaviours.

  • Posted speed limits should be consistent to maintain a level of credibility and compliance throughout the Municipality.

  • Speed limits are enforced through police presence, thus requiring additional police resources

Rumble Strips

Rumble strips are raised pavement sections that are closely spaced along a roadway in regular intervals allowing vehicles traveling over them to be alerted through both noise and vibration.  The purpose of rumble strips is to caution inattentive motorists of potential danger.

Rumble strips do not constitute as a traffic calming measure due to the following:

  • Rumble strips become less effective if overused.

  • They create additional noise for nearby residents.

  • Rumble strips require additional maintenance.

Speed Bumps

Speed bumps are vertical obstructions that typically measure between 75-100 mm in height and 3m in length and are often found in privately-owned parking lots as they are designed for a speed that is much lower than a typical posted speed limit along a public roadway.  Speed bumps are not to be mistaken for speed humps.  Speed bumps provide inadequate traffic calming for the following reasons:

  • Speed bumps are not designed for public roadways.

  • Traffic speeds between speed bumps generally increases.

  • Speed bumps require maintenance and additional staff resources.

  • Speed bumps lead to increased noise for nearby residents.

Traffic Calming Measures considered in South Huron

In consideration of the Municipality’s objectives in implementing a Traffic Calming Policy, and recognizing a large extent of the Municipality’s road system includes urban, semi-urban and rural roads, the following traffic calming measures have been considered as viable options to implement:

Police Enforcement
Speeding is an infraction of the Highway Traffic Act enforceable by the OPP. It is often used with other traffic calming devices to regulate behaviour and is proven quite effective in reducing travel speeds
Community Safety Zones
Community Safety Zone signs inform drivers they are entering a zone that the community has designated as an area where the safety of its children/citizens is paramount. Traffic related offences committed within the zone are subject to increased fines (many set fines are doubled such as speeding and traffic signal related offences) through a special designation under the Highway Traffic Act Community Safety Zones may include roadways near schools, day care centers, playgrounds, parks, senior citizen residences and may also be used for collision-prone areas within a community.
Radar speed display signs
Radar speed display signs are portable or permanent radar activated signs that instantaneously display approaching speeds for individual vehicles. They can also be programmed to flash when motorists are exceeding the speed assigned within the sign. The signs can be solar powered to reduce environmental impact. These devices create a sense of being monitored to the driver and provide an instant notification that the speed limit is being exceeded (if such is the case).
Lane narrowing via pavement markings
This measure narrows the travel lanes to a minimum width of 3.0 meters through the use of pavement markings (center line and edge lines). Reduced lane widths provide a feeling of constraint and should cause drivers to reduce their travel speed. Any remaining road width would be designated as shoulder.
Curb extensions
Curb extensions are horizontal extensions of a curb into a road, resulting in a narrower road section. These may be used to provide high visibility of pedestrians, shorter walking distances to cross the road, and to slow motorists down.
Speed humps
Speed humps are defined as a raised area of the road, which deflects both the wheels and frame of a traversing vehicle. They may be paved as a permanent feature or temporary, removable rubber mounds for seasonal use. 
Speed tables
Speed tables are flat-topped asphalt or rubber mounds that cover the full width of the roadway. The ramps of the speed table are more gently sloped than speed humps and thus speed tables are less jarring than a standard speed hump and can allow larger vehicles (emergency vehicles, trucks, and snowplows) to cross with reduced disruption. As such, speed tables are typically not removed seasonally.
Centre medians
A centre median is a raised island installed in the centre of a road to reduce the overall width of the travelled lanes. They help slow traffic without affecting the capacity of the road. Raised median islands can be combined with curb extensions and/or textured crosswalks to further improve pedestrian safety. This measure may be considered on both local and collector roads.
Temporary centre median
Similar to the centre median, the temporary centre median is installed in the centre of a road using flexible delineator posts to create reduced travelled lane widths. They help slow traffic without affecting the capacity of the road and are removable for winter snow clearing operations.
Traffic circles
A “traffic circle” is not the same as a modern day “roundabout”. They are much smaller and serve a different purpose for the intersection, which is simply to reduce speed rather than to control high traffic volumes through an intersection. Circular island about 3m to 6m in diameter, is placed at intersections of residential streets, around which traffic circulates in a counterclockwise direction.

Submitting a Traffic Calming Request

 Submit a Traffic Calming Request here

Residents with traffic related concerns are instructed to complete a Traffic Calming Request Form to investigate traffic calming on their road or within their neighborhood. Upon completion, staff will then conduct a brief preliminary assessment to determine if the requested road meets the initial screening criteria.

Traffic Calming Staff Review Considerations

The following process will be used when proceeding with a request for traffic calming measures within the Municipality of South Huron. An established and formal process for investigating roads provides consistency and equality in the determination of need and suitability of traffic calming measures.

Step 1: Initiate Traffic Calming Request

A completed Appendix A: Traffic Calming Request Form is received and staff will complete an initial review to determine eligibility for consideration. Following the initial review, Municipal staff will inform residents as to whether or not their location meets the initial screening criteria. 


Step 2: Data Collection

If the requested location meets the initial screening criteria, data collection and analysis will commence. The collection of traffic data, as deemed necessary by Municipal staff, will serve to provide a better understanding of the current traffic conditions and to prioritize locations for the investigation of traffic calming. Staff will conduct the necessary traffic studies (or outsource such studies) to quantify and qualify the submitted traffic concerns.

Step 3: Data Assessment

The data assessment is a screening process focused on the various attributes of a road in order to quantify its potential need for traffic calming. Only road sections that achieve the minimum required points as specified in Appendix B will be reviewed further in the next steps of the process.

Based on the points received for a request location and the existing conditions / parameters of the area, an appropriate type of traffic calming measure will be selected by staff and communicated to the affected residents by way of a written notice and request for proponents to complete a survey / petition.

Should a location fail to meet the requirements, the resident(s) will be notified in writing and the investigation for traffic calming measures will discontinue. 

Step 4: Neighbourhood Petition/Survey

Should it be determined that the road / study area meets the minimum points criteria, staff will advise residents in the neighbourhood that would be affected by the new traffic calming measure advising of the potential new roadway works. Subsequent to a review with the neighbourhood by way of notification or Public Open House, the neighbourhood proponents will be requested to submit a written confirmation of their opinion by way of completing a survey / petition that Municipal staff will provide to each proponent along with the notice. 

In order for the process to continue, a minimum of 25% of total surveys delivered must be returned to the Municipality. Of this 25%, 60% acceptance for the implementation of traffic calming is required. 

If this support rate is not met, the process will cease and a notification of failure to meet the neighbourhood support levels will be sent to the residents on the mailing list.

Step 5: Design Considerations and Community Feedback

The data collected combined with site visits, historical information, future maintenance and construction plans, as well as resident feedback will be taken into consideration to determine potential traffic calming measures.

Staff will provide the preferred design to the relevant agencies (e.g. fire emergency services, transit services, etc.) prior to circulating the notice to the residents.

Using summarized comments from the submitted petition and information about the road and surrounding area, staff will define the area limits for neighbourhood consultation. 

Step 6: Finalize and Implement the Traffic Calming Plan

Using technical data, community feedback, and in keeping with the goals, objectives and principles set out in this Policy, staff will finalize the preferred traffic calming design to be put forward as the preferred Traffic Calming Measure.

A report recommending the implementation of the preferred traffic calming measure will be submitted to Council. The recommendation may be accompanied by an amending By-law for the inclusion of traffic calming measures, if applicable (e.g. defining a new Community Safety Zone as required under the Highway Traffic Act, etc.). The staff report will also outline estimated costs and anticipated timing for implementing the traffic control measure.

Upon approval of Council, resident notification, and sufficient funding, traffic calming measures would be implemented. When immediate funding is not available, budget allocation will be considered during the following annual budget process and prioritized accordingly. 

Step 7: Feedback Monitoring & Evaluation
Municipal staff will seek feedback and monitor the road to determine the effectiveness of the utilized measures and their impact on the surrounding road network. This may include 26 subsequent traffic data collection including new traffic volume and speed no sooner than 3 months after the traffic control measure has been installed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was a Traffic Calming Policy adopted?

The public and Council have frequently raised concerns regarding speeding and aggressive driving on residential streets in the Municipality, especially in high risk areas, such as near schools, parks and hospitals.

The approved Traffic Calming Policy provides staff with a guidance document and procedure for the initiation, investigation and implementation of traffic calming measures within the Municipality. The policy also ensures that there is a formal process for traffic calming requests that utilizes consistent criteria.

Will there be community involvement in traffic calming requests?
Restoring neighbourhood streets to their intended function and improving overall livability are primary objectives of traffic calming. In order to achieve this goal, community involvement and support is paramount. Throughout the process, residents are encouraged to participate in the development of a traffic calming plan suitable to the neighbourhood and the concerns within it.
What happens if a traffic calming request doesn't meet the requirements during the review?

Should a location fail to meet the requirements, the resident(s) will be notified in writing and the investigation for traffic calming measures will discontinue. However, staff may (depending on the circumstances of the data assessment, such as excessive speeds being noted) continue to address the concerns of the residents by means of the front-line mitigating measures including:

  • Request of targeted police enforcement
  • Community entrance signs such as “Drive slowly…think of us”
  • Installation of temporary radar speed display signs
Once a traffic calming measure is installed, is it permanent?

Traffic calming devices may be removed, at the request of residents provided that more than the level of support exists to remove as was measured for installation (i.e. minimum 25% returned surveys, with over 60% of respondents agreeing to the removal). The survey will be delivered to the same residents as was initially done to gauge support for traffic calming. 

Traffic calming measures must be installed for at least a 3 month trial before consideration is given to remove them. 

If traffic calming devices are removed, the subject street must wait at least 2 years before requesting a new Traffic Calming Measure; at this point the approval process will start over. 

If a request to remove a single traffic calming device, within an overall Traffic Calming Measure, is received, all traffic calming devices will be considered for removal. Depending on circumstances, it could be possible to remove a single device constructed as part of an overall plan, however, in most cases all devices work together to be effective and to ensure that traffic is not diverted where it should not be.

The Municipality reserves the right to remove traffic calming measures if it determines that they are ineffective or unsafe, or if they have created a negative impact that cannot be corrected. The Municipality will mail out a notification and advertise in local newspapers informing of its decision to remove traffic calming measures.


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