Watch and share: Nashen plans for Traffic calming in Cote Saint-Luc

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You’ve told me that you’re concerned about slowing down traffic on our streets. I work with our experts to find the right traffic calming measures: I got the ball rolling with painted lines to visually narrow the roadway as well as bollards to slow down cars, and bumped out sidewalks to make our streets safer to cross and for children at play. Humps are sometimes necessary too – especially on long residential stretches. I brought the idea of those middle-of-the-road crosswalk and “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk” signs to CSL – I plan to further expand these initiatives.

La question de la circulation est devenue primordiale et à cet effet, j’ai initié plusieurs mesures afin de rendre nos rues plus sécuritaires pour les piétons, les enfants et les conducteurs. J’ai joué un rôle prédominant en lançant des panneaux de signalisation pour avertir les automobilistes que des piétons traversent la rue.

More speed bumps? Not so fast

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 An interesting, thought-provoking letter by West-Ender Norm Sabin.

Montreal seems to have gone on a speed-bump blitz, with Walkley and Coronation Aves. being recent recipients.

Here’s what we know about speed bumps on residential streets: They slow emergency vehicles, can distract drivers from the road ahead, might increase emissions and are not free.

Given all the bad stuff, what are the benefits? Has there been a decrease in the number of accidents on residential streets? We need to make sure the pros outweigh the cons; otherwise, speed bumps create merely the illusion of safety, with real cost.

We need to fix our roads, not invest in big asphalt placebos.

Let the police deal with speeding. They know where the real danger is, and the tickets they issue protect the entire neighbourhood. They might even use photo radar here and there.

Speeding needs to be controlled, but cities need to do a careful risk-benefit analysis, street by street, before giving them the green light.

Norman Sabin, N.D.G.

Montreal to regulate traffic-calming measures

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Montreal to regulate traffic-calming measures. (Montreal Gazette, Oct. 21, 2011)

These measures by the City of Montreal will have no effect on the demerged municipalities, despite the confusing reference at the end of this article (link above).

While Cote Saint-Luc was reluctant for most of the last 25 years to implement speed bumps and humps only in the last few years have we begun to allow a few exceptions based upon traffic pattern analysis by city engineers.

Hampstead speed hump mania sparks debate

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Hampstead speed hump mania sparks debate

By Joel Goldenberg

The Suburban

August 24, 2011

 

Hampstead recently announced that 13 speed humps were being installed or modified throughout the town.

 

The new humps are near 26 Cressy Road, 34 Heath Road, 117 Finchley Road, 143 Finchley Road, 211 Netherwood Crescent, 5613 Queen Mary Road, 5622 Queen Mary Road and 32 Thurlow Road. Some of the new humps replace ones that have been removed near 5607 and 5615 Queen Mary and 5616 and 5626 Queen Mary. Other humps will be reconstructed, near 5649, 5654, 5669, 5670 and 5690 Queen Mary.

 

As one can tell from the above announcement, Hampstead is adding to what is already a very abundant number of speed humps on its territory, which have been installed to slow down traffic — especially during the summer — and usually in response to complaints from residents — especially those with small children. There are already nearly 10 humps within a few blocks-radius on Dufferin, and Queen Mary Road in Hampstead has many as well, every few feet.

 

The humps, over the years, have been replacing the more abrupt speed bumps, which have jolted both cars and motorists. But even with the humps, especially in Hampstead, if a motorist is not paying attention and going a little faster than he or she should, there could be an even greater jolt to both man (or woman) and machine.

 

Different municipalities have different methods of traffic calming. Côte St. Luc resisted speed bumps for decades, saying they were dangerous for emergency vehicles and cyclists. But after numerous complaints of speeders, Côte St. Luc has been installing speed humps and chokers (items such as flower pots) to slow down traffic. Montreal West has decided to install speed humps on two of its quieter streets, Brock and Ballantyne, as well as curb extensions on Westminster. This decision came about as the result of a consensus of a majority of area residents, who also complained of speeding on all three streets and the volume of motorists who use Brock and Ballantyne as an alternative to Westminster.

Côte des Neiges-NDG favours bollards, poles that have the effect of narrowing streets, and there are many of them on quieter streets. Motorists must slow down to avoid damaging their cars.

 

Opinions of the speed humps vary, with most not liking them but a few feeling they are a necessary evil.

 

At a recent council meeting, Côte St. Luc councillor Ruth Kovac stuck to Côte St. Luc’s traditional position on speed humps.

“I don’t agree with the humps or bumps,” Kovac told The Suburban. “I find them dangerous, and they tend to interfere with ambulances, especially if you’re a patient riding in an ambulance. Accidents happen with them, whether they can prevent you from seeing it or you can miss it if you turn around to look somewhere else. They do damage to vehicles and to yourself inside the car.”

 

Côte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather supports the use of speed humps, but sparingly.

 

“I wouldn’t use humps except where we drastically need it.” he said.

 

But sparingly can not be the word used when it comes to humps in Hampstead. The Suburban asked west end residents what they think of speed humps, both in Hampstead and in general.

 

“I think they slow down cars, definitely,” said a Hampstead resident who did not want to be identified. “I think that it would be better if there was police who would enforce the speed limit. It’s important to slow down traffic, but nobody really likes speed humps.”

 

Another Hampstead resident and motorist says he specifically avoids the streets with speed humps, considering the devices to be a major irritant but, at the same time, necessary when some drivers are using excessive speeds.

 

Côte St. Luc resident Aviva Zucker, interviewed at Hampstead Park, said the humps are “obnoxious” but necessary on streets with small children.

“I don’t like them because I don’t like anything that slows me down in the middle of the road,” she said. “In an area where there’s kids, it’s very possible you won’t see them on the street and forcing people to slow down is necessary. But I’m a driver, and as a driver, they’re obnoxious.”

 

Zucker said one of the humps on Queen Mary does not have a proper warning. “So sometimes I don’t notice it 100 percent, and I’m right before it [by the time I see it],” she added.

 

Council regulars Phil and Rosalie Gordon, also interviewed at Hampstead Park, believe the town is excessive when it comes to speed humps. Phil Gordon pointed to the many speed humps on Dufferin as an example.

 

“People who are first responders have complained that the fire engines can’t get through, and the first responders can’t get through,” Phil Gordon said. “They clearly are very important people when needed. To have them impeded in doing their work as best they can is not appropriate. It also injures their equipment.”

 

Rosalie Gordon said there are other methods to calm traffic. “You see them all over Montreal,” she says. “They’re not aesthetically pleasing, but they do the trick.”

 

West end residents were also interviewed at Cavendish Mall.

 

Hampstead resident Dr. Morris Schweitzer said there are too many speed humps in the town.

 

“Try driving down Queen Mary Road every block you’ve got the stupid speed humps,” he said. “You don’t need that many. There’s a corner — Queen Mary and Holly — where everyone comes whizzing around. That’s where you need them, not the stupid speed humps up the street. They’re totally ridiculous, I’d get rid of them.”

 

“I hate [speed humps],” said Côte St. Luc resident Robert Gurman. “They ruin your car.”

 

But NDG resident Nick Myrianthis likes the bollards in his borough.

 

“It slows down the traffic, and I have no problem with them.”

Can’t prioritize all CSL traffic complaints at same time

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Can’t prioritize all CSL traffic complaints at same time: Nashen

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, July 13, 2011

Côte St. Luc councillor Glenn Nashen recently provided some insight as to the receiving end of complaints and appeals residents have regarding traffic conditions on their streets.

Nashen, in charge of the public safety dossier on council, addressed Councillor Sam Goldbloom’s recent special meeting for District 1 residents living in the area known as north of Hampstead.

Nashen pointed out to the residents of streets like Tommy Douglas and David Lewis that they, like other residents, have problems like speeders, graffiti, garbage and others.

“We’ve all, councillors and city staff, received calls from residents with very urgent, pressing problems on their street,” Nashen said. “They are urgent, many of them; and they are pressing, certainly if you live there; and they do require attention because we’re all taxpayers, including those of us who are elected — we want action.

“But bear in mind, there are 146 streets and 30,000 residents, and we can’t prioritize everything at the same time. We do try very hard to keep our property taxes within a very reasonable margin and if you do look year after year, when the tax rates are set in the demerged municipalities, Côte St. Luc tends to have one of the lowest rates of tax increases of any municipality, and we do so without cutting back on various things the city is supposed to provide.”

Nashen added that while residents call for traffic calming measures on their particular streets, they have to realize residents of 145 other streets want the same.

“It all costs money. We have to do what we can do, reasonably so, and all within a budget that really doesn’t penalize yourselves and everyone else at the end of the year when we realize… we’ve gone over our budget.”

Nashen said he also does not like when some residents call to say “someone’s going to be killed” because of traffic on their particular street.

“It’s alarmist, and it’s easy to be alarmist, but we have experts here. They’ll place specialized sensors across the road and analyze the traffic… to really determine if there’s something alarming, if there’s a slight problem or perhaps the resident technically doesn’t understand what’s happening. But as a young parent, if I’m watching my kids on the street and I see one or two cars speed by, I’m going to be alarmist as well. We have to look at risk factors and what we can afford.”

Nashen also pointed out that speeding was acknowledged as a real problem in north of Hampstead, judging by the many traffic calming measures in the area.

The councillor added that he used to believe that speed humps and bumps were dangerous and a nuisance. “But so many people are asking for them, we really can’t avoid them any more – in a coordinated, logistical fashion, we’re determining the best places to install them.”

CSL not unanimous on speed humps

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CSL not unanimous on speed humps

By Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban, April 20, 2011

Most of Côte St. Luc council voted to purchase $657,000 worth of traffic calming devices for various local streets to control speeders.

But Councillor Ruth Kovac voted against purchase, as the devices include several speed humps. In the past, the city was traditionally against speed bumps or the less bumpy humps, but the city has been installing humps in the last several years.

“I don’t agree with the humps or bumps,” Kovac told The Suburban after the April council meeting. “I find them dangerous, and they tend to interfere with ambulances, especially if you’re a patient riding in an ambulance. Accidents happen with them, whether they can prevent you from seeing it or you can miss it if you turn around to look somewhere else. They do damage to vehicles and to yourself inside the car.

“I think there’s better methods for traffic calming.”

Asked to reply, Mayor Anthony Housefather said there have been speed humps ever since he has been mayor, and even during the Côte St.HampWest merger era.

“The humps should be used sparingly, but there’s some occasions where you have no alternative but to use humps,” the mayor added. “I agree, I wouldn’t use humps except where we drastically need it. For example, there was a situation on David Lewis where we needed humps. Pinedale is another location.

“We also use chokers (items that narrow the width of a street) as much as we can, and other devices, but humps are needed in some places, in my view.”

Kovac countered that speed cushions are “just as effective, and much less intrusive and dangerous.”

Housefather said Kovac has a right to her opinion.

“We agree in principle to use the humps sparingly, we just disagree on the ‘never,’” the mayor said.

 

In my opinion:  First, it should be noted that the Suburban got the figures wrong.  The total amount of the purchase will be $15,000.  The amount they attributed was related to another agenda item.

While Councillor Kovac is correct in saying that the City was traditionally against humps and bumps when we re-established the City after the mergers we inherited a few humps and bumps (mostly on Randall) and in recent years there have been more and more requests due to excessive speeds that have been confirmed on several streets.

As Chair of the Public Safety and Transportation committees, and as a long-time volunteer with CSL EMS and as an Urgences Santé ambulance technician, I too was traditionally against this form of traffic calming.  The demands became too great and a new look was necessary.  Reluctantly, I have agreed to humps (wider and less abrupt than bumps) on a case by case basis.

We have begun by testing the location with the speed cushions that Councillor Kovac referred to but these must be installed and uninstalled every year.  Other devices for traffic calming include street line markings, bollards, road constriction at corners, raised crosswalks, street signs and lower speed limits.  Much of this can be seen on Einstein Ave which has achieved the desired effect of slowing down traffic making it safer for residents.

Goin’ Slow on Einstein

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During my visit with residents on Einstein Ave last fall the plea was pretty much unanimous:  “Slow down traffic on our block”.  

I brought this issue to our Traffic Committee, which I chair.  The road width, length, traffic patterns, speed and other factors were studied.  The conclusion was that the road is wider than most residential streets in our city, speeding is indeed a factor and new measures were needed to make this a safer street.  

I softened my long-standing policy against speed bumps (narrow, abrupt bumps across the road resulting in a thud) because of the reduction in emergency vehicle response times and agreed to experiment with speed humps (wider, gradual risers across the road that have less impact upon the driver with no noise when speed is reasonably adjusted).  

One of two traffic calming speed humps across Einstein Avenue

On a visit to Thornhill, Ontario, last year I noticed an interesting street line marking that intrigued me at first glance.  What I found remarkable was that cars were slowing down as a result of the perception of a reduction in the width of the street.  I decided we must try this in Cote Saint-Luc and the results were immediately evident.  Car speeds have come down considerably and with this successful outcome we may implement this technique on our most problematic streets.  

Street line markings and bollards narrow the width of Einstein Avenue resulting in slower traffic patterns

Pedestrian safety at crosswalks is extremely important to me, as well.  On my recommendation we have substantially improved the line markings and increased visibility of the crosswalks, together with highly reflective signage and middle-of the-road markers.  We have substantially increased the safety of pedestrians in our crosswalks.  

More visible crosswalks, like this one on Mackle and Einstein, will be the new norm near parks, playgrounds, schools and busy intersections in Cote Saint-Luc

Einstein resident Steven Glazer had this to say: “Thanks very much for the interest in Einstein. The street is a lot better and safer now, thanks to you and your efforts. Everyone is pleased.  Hopefully these paved asphalt speed humps will remain as they are for 12 months a year”.  

Dr. Hyman Schipper said, “My wife and I would like to express our gratitude to you and the City of Cote Saint-Luc for erecting the speed barriers on Einstein Ave. where we live. This has dramatically curtailed speeding on our street rendering it far safer for pedestrians, especially children who enjoy playing ball in their driveways”.

I’ve heard similar positive comments from other residents on the block.   The Einstein speeding problem seems to be fixed with these traffic calming measures and will serve as a model for other problematic areas in the city.

New traffic-calming coming to Einstein

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Einstein Ave residents will soon notice new traffic calming measures on their street between Mackle Rd. and Kildare Rd. in an effort to make the street quieter, traffic slower and safer for all.  Einstein has one of the most problematic traffic flows in the city and has therefore been prioritized to receive these measures, some of which are being explored for the first time.

Specifically, here is the action we are taking:

• We are installing two permanent asphalt speed humps on Einstein Ave. near the start and end of the block. Speed humps are an effective traffic-calming measure.  Also, speed humps can remain in place all year—even in winter—unlike bollards or flower pots, which have to be removed every winter.

• We are installing four bollards near the middle of the block.

• We are painting two solid white lines to reduce the visual width of the street, to slow traffic and to provide a safer corridor for cyclists, a technique I first spotted in Thornhill, Ontario.

The city installed speed cushions near the middle of this block last year. We tested the speed of cars before and after we installed the traffic-calming measures. Our study showed that the average speed of vehicles indeed decreased. Therefore, we are confident that a permanent asphalt speed-hump will continue to help calm traffic on the street.

No parking spaces will be lost due to the humps as motorists are permitted to park their vehicles above a speed hump.

Finally, like other municipalities on the island of Montreal, the City of Côte Saint-Luc is reducing the speed limit on most streets to 40 km/h later this summer. The exceptions are the arterial roads, which include Cavendish Blvd., Côte Saint-Luc Rd., Fleet Rd., Kildare Rd., Guelph Rd., and Mackle Rd.

As chair of the City’s Public Safety and Traffic committee I work closely with our traffic engineer, Charles Senekal, as well as our Public Safety Director, Jordy Reichson, Public Security Chief, Michel Martel, Police Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and a number of other professionals and volunteers to serve our residents as best as possible.  Our mission is to create a traffic-calmed and pedstrian-friendly environment.

***

 

Chers résidants de l’avenue Einstein,

Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que la Ville de Côte Saint-Luc installera deux dos d’âne allongés permanents en asphalte sur l’avenue Einstein entre les chemins Mackle et Kildare, afin d’améliorer la tranquillité, de ralentir la circulation et de rendre la rue plus sécuritaire pour tous.

Précisément, voici les gestes que nous posons :

• Nous installons deux dos d’âne allongés permanents en asphalte sur le l’avenue Einstein, près de l’entrée et de la fin du pâté de maisons. Le dos d’âne allongé est une mesure efficace d’apaisement de la circulation. Aussi les dos d’âne allongés ont le bénéfice de demeurer en place à l’année longue — même en hiver — contrairement aux bollards et aux pots de fleurs qu’il faut enlever pour l’hiver.

• Nous installons quatre bollards près du milieu du pâté de maisons.

• Nous allons peindre deux lignes blanches continues afin de réduire visuellement la largeur de la rue.

Vous vous souviendrez peut-être qu’en 2009 la ville avait installé des bollards et des pots de fleurs, à la demande des résidants qui étaient préoccupés par les véhicules roulant à une vitesse excessive. Nous avons vérifié la vitesse des voitures avant et après l’installation de ces mesures temporaires d’apaisement de la circulation, et notre étude a démontré que la vitesse moyenne des véhicules avait effectivement diminué. C’est pourquoi nous pouvons espérer que le dos d’âne allongé permanent aidera à réduire davantage la vitesse sur votre rue.

Aucune place de stationnement ne sera perdue pour autant, puisqu’il est permis de stationner un véhicule sur un dos d’âne allongé.

Si vous avez des questions, veuillez téléphoner à notre ingénieur de la circulation, Charles Senekal, au 514-485-6800, poste 1502, ou envoyez-lui un message courriel à csenekal@cotesaintluc.org.