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Woolwich adopts procedure for assessing public’s traffic concerns

Woolwich hopes a formal procedure, and small annual budget to start, will help it deal with a backlog of traffic complaints, primarily speeding issues in residential areas.

The process approved this week by township council sets out criteria for judging if there is in fact a problem on any given street. If so, the process describes a list of potential remedies, from signs and pavement markings to more intrusive measures such as speed humps and lane reductions.

Educating drivers is also a key component, says Woolwich’s director of engineering and planning, Dan Kennaley.

“Traffic engineers often refer to the three ‘E’s when discussing traffic calming measures: engineering, education and enforcement. The most effective traffic calming plans entail all three components. Engineering measures alone will not produce satisfactory results,” reads a report discussed Tuesday night.

To raise awareness, the township plans to add additional signage at the entranceways to each of the settlement areas with wording something along the lines of “Drive like your children live here.”

Kennaley said his department receives “numerous complaints” each year about traffic safety concerns. With the addition of an engineering staff member last year, he now has more resources to deal with the backlog. The new traffic-calming procedure will help with that.

The primary intent of traffic calming is to reduce vehicle speeds, deter non-residential traffic from local neighbourhoods and reduce the incidence of collisions.

Under the policy, complaints will be screened to see if they warrant further consideration. For a roadway to meet the test, five criteria are considered: the road must have a minimum annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 500; the posted speed limit can’t be greater than 60km/h; only township roads are applicable; the area should be primarily residential in nature; and the street in question must be a minimum 150 metres in length.

If a road qualifies, further action could fall in to two stages. Stage 1 involves lane narrowing, painted lines, “slow down” signs, the use of the township’s radar speed trailer, and targeted police enforcement. Stage 2 would see the use of speed humps, raised crosswalks or extended curbs to narrow the roadway.

The latter is more expensive and introduces new concerns. Such measures are likely to be used only if other actions don’t solve a safety problem, said Kennaley.

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