Traffic Calming Is Not A Solution

Home Forums Ottawa Municipal Election 2018: Comment And Debate Traffic Calming Is Not A Solution

This topic contains 3 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by The Voter 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #756045 Reply

    sisco farraro

    When I was a high school student, a few sexy new terms were introduced to our curriculum. Some of you will remember them as “the new math” or “math A and math B”. What the ministry of education was really referring to was calculus and algebra.

    As the 2018 municipal election approaches our elected officials will fill their speeches with flashy terminology, terms created to hide problems they haven’t solved or haven’t begun to deal with. My favourite so far is “traffic calming”. I understand this term is meant to convey the slowdown of motorists in order to create a safer environment on our roadways.

    I’m sure that somewhere along your daily commute to and from work you encounter points where traffic moves slowly, and in some cases comes to a standstill. Do motorists look calm when they’re in sitting in their vehicles, not moving? No. Do they look frustrated? Yes. Has the introduction of the term traffic calming made them appear calmer? No.

    Why do our politicians feel they need to fool us? Because city of Ottawa politicians “continue” to allow developers to run amok in the city without any consideration for creating the necessary infrastructure to support their developments.

    Like the new math, let’s call traffic calming what it really is, “traffic congestion”. Will using higher grade material to fix potholes resolve this problem? No. Will repaving existing roads fix this problem? Perhaps marginally. What’s really needed is additional roads on which traffic can flow.

    City of Ottawa politicians need to adopt the following philosophy, “re-labelling a problem does not constitute a resolution”.

    #756105 Reply


    Isn’t calm a state of mind?

    How do I calm down my car?

    Let’s calm down those people who drive the cars. Traffic standstills are oft caused by fender-benders up ahead. Fender-benders are caused by tailgaters and unsafe lane changes. Tailgaters and lane changers are oft people who didn’t start their road trip soon enough to get where they were going on time.

    Solution – make telling time part of the driver’s exam and make math a part of the exam too. If one can tell the time and do the math then one might start their trip on time and stay calm while they are driving.

    Gotta go now, my car just honked its horn – must be time for its morning valium.


    #756190 Reply

    sisco farraro

    Chaz. You have just composed a response that I was planning to use on a subsequent post. When driving on high-speed roadways in the city I oftentimes see a driver traveling behind me gnashing his or her teeth in my rear-view mirror (and this is when after I’ve already moved into the right-hand lane). I’d like to be able to halt time and ask them why they’re traveling so closely (in many cases I can’t even see their head lights). I suspect the response would be “because I’m going to be late”, to which my response would be “and how is that my fault?”

    #756449 Reply

    The Voter

    My understanding of the term “traffic calming” is that it refers to measures taken to reduce speeds on secondary streets rather than on high-speed highways.

    It includes things such speed bumps, road-narrowing and limited access and dead-end roads. It’s often intended to control speeding in residential neighbourhoods and in school zones and is usually installed to respond to safety issues. Adding more roads doesn’t solve these problems even if there were space to do it.

    While it does appear on feeder roads to the Queensway such as Lyon and O’Connor, these streets and the ones that cross them are lined with people’s homes. The traffic calming measures are a way of compromising between the commuters’ desire to get to the highway quickly and the local families’ need to be able to leave their homes safely.

    Another place you encounter traffic calming is on local streets that are used by people cutting through a neighbourhood, often on streets that weren’t designed for that level of traffic. Since sidewalks are installed on streets based on the expected traffic for the area, a lot of neighbourhood streets don’t have them so locals, including children, are walking on the side of the roadway. If people discover that they can take a shortcut through the community, they may not respect the limitations of a local residential street. By installing traffic calming measures, you make it less attractive to take that shortcut but still let locals travel within their own area.

    The other place you will find traffic calming is in areas where children are walking to and from schools or community centres. An example is Broadview Avenue which is a relatively short street with four schools which include evening and weekend classes; a seniors residence and two nearby community centres. In a civilized society, one would think it would be a no-brainer that drivers would slow down and take precautions when they know that children are likely to be in the vicinity. Apparently, some people aren’t that evolved yet and they have to have external controls imposed to stop them from racing through these areas.


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