Does Belleville have a speeding problem?

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| Published , updated April 16, 2024

City staff and councillors receive many complaints from residents every year who believe there is a speeding problem.

Every year the City receives numerous complaints and/or concerns from residents regarding speeding, requesting additional stop signs to decrease speeds, and increasing traffic volumes.

Traffic Calming Policy

But does the City of Belleville have a problem with speeding?

When speeding concerns are raised about a certain area to the Transportation Committee, Transportation and Operations Services will install a Speed Spy device to take measurements over the course of a few days. These results are then brought before the Committee to determine what, if any next steps should be taken.

I analyzed 17 of these reports and found that:

On average, 85% of Belleville drivers drive 10 km/h or less over the speed limit.

Let’s take a closer look at the data that the City has collected:

Belleville speeding data

Traffic Calming Pilot Project

The majority of the vehicles travelling in 7 out 8 separate roadways identified by the public and assessed by the City are travelling at less than or equal to 10km above the posted speed limit, and 85% of drivers were driving at or below the speed limit on 6 of the 8 roadways.

Only on Yeomans St. are the majority of vehicles traveling up to 19 km/hr over the posted speed limit:

2021

StreetLocationAADTSpeed Limit85th Percentile SpeedMaximum Speed
Charles St.Bridge St. to Victoria Ave.62650km/hr40km/h59km/h
Foster Ave.Bridge St. to Victoria Ave.61850km/hr51km/hr78km/hr
Village Dr.College St. to Cascade Blvd.66640km/hr52km/hr73km/hr
Yeomans St.Catherine St. to Moira St.202740km/hr59km/hr111km/hr
Source

2023

StreetLocationAADTSpeed Limit85th Percentile SpeedMaximum Speed
Bradgate RoadBradgate Rd. to Elizabeth Cres.21450km/hr43km/hr68km/hr
Catherine StreetColeman to Sidney105550km/hr49km/hr89km/hr
Parrott DriveBridge St. to Victoria Ave33250km/hr50.5km/hr78km/hr
Dunnett Blvd.Palmer Road to Bridge St.65950km/hr48km/hr100km/hr
Source

SpeedSpy speed studies

The following reports were completed in 2021 after concerns were raised by residents in the areas:

StreetLocationAADTSpeed Limit (km/h)85th Percentile Speed (km/h)Maximum Speed (km/h)
Tracey Park DrWestbound1484404874
Tracey Park DrEastbound1431405077
1010 Harmony RdWestbound2668092128
1010 Harmony RdEastbound2868091149
Ashley StPost Office Southbound12835060136
Ashley StPost Office Northbound1357505883
Haig RdSouthbound1166506197
Avondale RdNorthbound31705058105
Herchimer AveBridge St E52704051

The data contained in this report suggests that 85% of vehicles travelling on all of these roadways are travelling at 12km/h above the posted speed limit or less and 5 out of 9 at 10km/h or less above the speed limit. A small percentage of vehicles travelling on Haig Road are in the enforceable range of 20km/h+ above the posted speed limit.

Note: maximum speeds could be that of an emergency vehicle

In June 2023, Staff advised Councillor Brown that the maximum speeds reported could be an emergency vehicle and the reasoning behind focusing on the 85 percentile is because it removes the outliers that using an average would include.

What is traffic calming?

Traffic calming is the deliberate slowing of traffic in residential areas via physical design and other measures to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

Belleville’s Traffic Calming Policy (2020) defines traffic calming and traffic calming methods and outlines that process that must be taken to identify, assess and approve traffic calming measures.

The goal of introducing traffic calming is to create safe and attractive roadways and promote active transportation and transit use in residential neighbourhoods.

The overall purpose of this policy is to provide an inclusive process that addresses local neighbourhood traffic issues in the City of Belleville.

The ideal resolution for traffic calming under this policy is to reduce high traffic speeds within residential neighbourhoods and thus improving safety for pedestrians and area residents.

Traffic calming, if used properly, will address identified operational traffic issues. However, it will also introduce some disadvantages to a residential neighbourhood that will impact area residents after the project is complete.

Traffic calming methods are designed with only traffic in mind, not traffic and pedestrians

Examples of traffic calming measures

  • Speed humps – A raised area of a roadway, which deflects both the wheels and frame of a traversing vehicle. Vehicles traversing a properly designed speed hump at a reasonable speed can drive with relative ease across the hump. Not to be confused with speed bumps, which are sometimes installed on private roadways and in parking lots and can be very abrupt and jarring to motorists. Only properly designed speed humps are recognized within the Canadian Guide to Neighbourhood Traffic Calming.
  • Raised crosswalks – a marked pedestrian crosswalk at an intersection or midblock location that is constructed at a higher elevation than the adjacent roadway.
  • Raised intersections – an intersection, including crosswalks, that is constructed at a higher elevation than the adjacent roadway.
  • Rumble strips – raised buttons, bars or grooves closely spaced at regular intervals on the roadway that create both noise and vibration in moving vehicles.
  • Sidewalk extensions – A sidewalk is continued across a local street or intersection. For a “raised” sidewalk extension, it is continued at its original elevation, with the local roadway raised to the level of the sidewalk at the intersection. For an “unraised” sidewalk extension, the sidewalk is lowered to the level of the roadway.
  • Textured crosswalks – A crosswalk incorporating a textured and/or patterned surface which contrasts with the adjacent roadway.
  • Speed Cushions – speed cushions are narrower speed humps that are typically installed in the centre of each travel lane. These may be preferred by emergency vehicles as they can straddle the cushion due to the wider wheel track.
  • Chicanes – A series of curb extensions on alternating sides of a roadway, which narrow the roadway and require drivers to steer from one side of a roadway to the other to travel through the chicane. Typically, a series of at least three curb extensions is used.
  • Curb extensions – A horizontal intrusion of the curb into the roadway resulting in a narrower section of roadway.
  • Curb radius reduction – The reconstruction of an intersection corner using a smaller radius, usually in the 3.0 m to 5.0 m range.
  • On-street parking – The reduction of the roadway width available for vehicle movement by allowing motor vehicles to park adjacent and parallel to the curb.
  • Raised median island – An elevated median constructed on the centerline of a two-way roadway through an intersection, which prevents left turns and through movements to and from the intersection roadway.
  • Mini roundabout – A raised island located in the center of an intersection, which requires vehicles to travel through the intersection in a counter-clockwise direction around the island.
  • Lateral Shifts – half of a chicane, curb extensions or pavement markings or on street parking cause travel lanes to bend one way then back the other way.

Listed below are some of the advantages and disadvantages created or caused by traffic calming measures:

Advantages

  1. Reduced vehicle speeds
  2. Reduced traffic volumes
  3. Reduced number of cut through vehicles
  4. Improve neighbourhood safety, especially for pedestrians
  5. Reduced conflicts between roadway users
  6. Increase compliance with regulatory signs
    Disadvantages:

Disadvantages

  1. Potential increase in emergency vehicle response time
  2. Could make it more difficult to get into and out of your neighbourhood every day
  3. May result in expensive solutions (time and resources)
  4. May shift or divert traffic onto neighbouring roadways
  5. Increase maintenance time and costs
  6. May add visually unattractive warning signs to a residential area
  7. May splinter neighbourhood with strong ‘for and against’ traffic calming opinions

What are the criteria for traffic calming measures?

As per the Traffic Calming Policy, to guarantee that traffic calming measures are warranted and will offer the most effective solutions within the intended function of the roadway, a combination of this policy and engineering best practices must be used.

To be eligible, the roadway must meet initial criteria:

  • Is the road classified local and in the urban boundary as identified through the Official Plan?
  • Is the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) less than 1000?
  • Is the posted speed less than or equal to 50km/h?
  • Is the road assumed?
  • Is the road primarily residential?
  • Does the street provide an obvious cut-through for a major intersection/roadway?
  • Is the 85th percentile speed greater than 10km/h over the posted speed limit?
  • Have any previous efforts been made within the last 12 months?

85th Percentile Speed – The 85th percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85% of the drivers travel on a road segment.  Motorists traveling above the 85th percentile speed are considered to be exceeding the safe and reasonable speed for road and traffic conditions.  The 85th percentile speed should be taken from speed data collected during a 24-hour weekday period.  Typically the data are collected with commercially available roadside units which sort and present the results in text as well as graphical format.

US Department of Transportation

The speed data is typically collected using the SpeedSpy device:

2021 Traffic Calming Pilot Project timeline

In the Pilot Project, the City has spent $35,000 out of a budgeted $100,000 to find that only 1 of the 108 locations suggested by residents during the Pilot Project qualified for traffic calming. Residents of Village Dr, the qualified area, rejected traffic calming measures and requested a sidewalk installation instead since the street currently didn’t have one, so the City removed it from the program and opted to install a sidewalk instead.

In 2017, the Safer School Zones Act allowed automated speed enforcement systems to be used in CSZs to address ongoing issues with speeding in school zones and community safety zones.

During their July 27, 2020 meeting, Belleville City Council approved a Traffic Calming Pilot Project aimed at implementing city-wide traffic calming measures in 2021. $100,000 was allocated to the project in the 2021 Capital Budget.

108 requests submitted by residents

The City of Belleville’s Engineering and Development Services department invited the public to provide input on traffic calming measures throughout the city to consider which streets staff should review to apply/add traffic calming to. Submissions were received until March 31, 2021.

19 roadways qualified for consideration of traffic calming under the Policy

These requests were reviewed and petitions were sent out requesting public feedback.

May 26, 2021 – 4 locations were selected for neighbourhood petitions

Transportation Committee gave feedback to EDS staff. As a result, Charles Street, Foster Avenue, Village Drive and Yeomans Street were considered for further review, with the framework for review established by the City’s Traffic Calming Policy, dated July 8, 2020.

September 16, 2021 – Village Drive petition meets the minimum approval

Petitions requesting whether or not they supported traffic calming on Village Drive. Forty percent (40%) were in favour of traffic calming, 1.25% of respondents were not in favour of traffic calming on the street. Meeting the minimum of 25% approval required for further review.

September 22, 2021 – Only Village Drive meets Traffic Calming requirements

Village Drive was the only street that met the requirements for Traffic Calming under the City’s Traffic Calming policy.

The following were the observed results from the Traffic Data collection:

StreetLocationAADTSpeed Limit85th Percentile SpeedMaximum Speed
Charles St.Bridge St. to Victoria Ave.62650km/hr40km/h59km/h
Foster Ave.Bridge St. to Victoria Ave.61850km/hr51km/hr78km/hr
Village Dr.College St. to Cascade Blvd.66640km/hr52km/hr73km/hr
Yeomans St.Catherine St. to Moira St.202740km/hr59km/hr111km/hr

November 24, 2021 – Village Drive petition meets the minimum approval

Petitions requesting whether or not they supported traffic calming on Village Drive. Forty percent (40%) were in favour of traffic calming, 1.25% of respondents were not in favour of traffic calming on the street. Meeting the minimum of 25% approval required for further review.

March 21, 2023 – Traffic calming options presented to residents in the Traffic Calming Presentation

Staff presented four design options with a recommended design of speed humps. Concerns regarding accessibility with Traffic Calming methods being installed on a street with no sidewalks was also raised. However, a roadway is not classed as an exterior path of travel (except at pedestrian crossings and curb cuts) and is not required to be AODA compliant.

18 residents signed the sign in sheet consisting of 10 residents living on Village Dr. There were 12 comments received as well. Village Drive Public Comment Sheet The comments were majority in favour of the installation of a sidewalk.

March 23, 2023

Public Information Centre finds Village Dr residents want a sidewalk, Transportation Committee ask staff to send petition on temporary speed bumps

Transportation Committee requests more current data on Motor Vehicle Collisions from Belleville Police Services Board (most recent they had was 2013)

April 27, 2023 – Traffic Calming Pilot Project Update

June 1, 2023:

Village Drive removed from the Traffic Calming Pilot Project, a sidewalk installation in 2024 Capital Budget is recommended

Proceeding with one of the other design alternatives (raised medians, curb extensions or chicanes), all result in a pedestrian/traffic conflict due to the methods narrowing the travel lane of the roadway and the pedestrians utilizing the travel lane.

The absence of a sidewalk along Village Drive has created a conflict for traffic calming methods that can be mitigated with the
installation of a sidewalk.

The following 4 roadways were assessed and also did not qualify for Traffic Calming:

StreetLocationAADTSpeed Limit85th Percentile SpeedMaximum Speed
Bradgate RoadBradgate Rd. to Elizabeth Cres.21450km/hr43km/hr68km/hr
Catherine StreetColeman to Sidney105550km/hr49km/hr89km/hr
Parrott DriveBridge St. to Victoria Ave33250km/hr50.5km/hr78km/hr
Dunnett Blvd.Palmer Road to Bridge St.65950km/hr48km/hr100km/hr
Traffic Calming Pilot Project Update June 1, 2023

Council approves speed humps to be installed on Yeomans Street

Staff say traffic data shows it is apparent that there is a speeding concern on Yeomans Street and propose to initiating a trial project consisting of installing speed humps along Yeomans Street and analyzing the outcome.

Council approves revising and changing Traffic Calming Policy

Staff recommended that due to the current evaluation criteria being too restrictive for the roadways and traffic, they should proceed with collecting more traffic data and amending the Traffic Calming Policy to meet the roadways within Belleville.

November 23, 2023 – Yeomans speed humps reduced the 85th percentile speed by ~10 km/h.

The City paid $27,446.15 + HST to purchase and install the speed humps on Yeomans Street on September 21, 2023 and removed on October 30, 2023. The speed humps are now owned by the City and are able to be redeployed and reused in future traffic calming efforts.

As a result of the success of the project, staff will revisit the Policy’s current evaluation criteria such that it better reflects traffic patterns in the City.

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