Ot­tawa pi­lot pro­gram adds new di­men­sion to slow­ing down traf­fic

PressReader - Tke Channel - Ot­tawa pi­lot pro­gram adds new di­men­sion to slow­ing down traf­fic
Mo­torists pumped their brakes on Fri­day af­ter­noon as they ap­proached two odd shapes on a straight­away be­hind the Elm­vale Acres Shop­ping Cen­tre, per­haps giv­ing cred­i­bil­ity to a city pi­lot pro­gram for 3D road mark­ings.The mark­ings look like two Star Trek Starfleet lo­gos pressed onto Othello Av­enue. They’re de­signed so that ap­proach­ing mo­torists think the mark­ings are speed bumps, slow­ing down traf­fic.Alta Vista Coun. Jean Cloutier said the ther­mal plas­tic mark­ings cost $3,500 to in­stall, cheaper than in­stalling real speed bumps.Coun­cil­lors are al­ways look­ing for ways to re­duce the speed of neigh­bour­hood traf­fic.“If it’s suc­cess­ful, it will be a tool in the tool box for coun­cil­lors to use,” Cloutier said Fri­day.Cloutier said the city opted for ther­mal plas­tic over stan­dard paint be­cause the ma­te­rial re­sists fad­ing and has a tex­ture.(The city, mean­while, is strug­gling to keep up with the bud­get re­quire­ments for re­plac­ing van­ish­ing paint.)One road safety ad­vo­cate thinks the city is “chick­en­ing out” by tak­ing a pass on more mean­ing­ful traf­fic-slow­ing mea­sures.Graham Larkin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Vi­sion Zero Canada, doesn’t think 3D road mark­ings have much ben­e­fit be­cause mo­torists will quickly catch on.“If the con­cern is hit­ting vul­ner­a­ble road uses, then what they should do is set ap­pro­pri­ate (speed) lim­its and use calm­ing mea­sures to bring it down to that limit if peo­ple aren’t nat­u­rally driv­ing that,” Larkin said.The Ot­tawa-based Larkin, who has lived in Alta Vista, called the new road mark­ings “pre­tend in­fra­struc­ture.”If the city is ea­ger to test new traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures, Larkin said, Othello Av­enue — where the speed limit is the 50-km/h would be a good lo­ca­tion. Ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic is steady, since it’s a neigh­bour­hood cut-through be­tween Smyth and Pleas­ant Park roads.Cloutier said he asked for the 3D mark­ings pi­lot pro­gram to be on the street when he learned the city was look­ing into traf­fic-calm­ing mea­sures.Real speed bumps aren’t al­ways the answer to speed prob­lems since they also im­pact city fi­nances, snow plow oper­a­tions and the qual­ity of life of res­i­dents be­cause of an­noy­ing con­struc­tion vi­bra­tions, Cloutier said.“In some places, they’re ap­pro­pri­ate, but not al­ways,” Cloutier said.Ac­cord­ing to Cloutier, the city looked at traf­fic data from sim­i­lar mark­ings used in London, Eng­land and saw pos­i­tive re­sults.The city will mon­i­tor data from be­fore and af­ter the mark­ings were in­stalled. The pi­lot pro­gram is sched­uled to last at least one year, but there is no set end date.“Only time will tell whether this is ef­fec­tive in traf­fic calm­ing,” Cloutier said.As for mo­torists learn­ing quickly that there aren’t real speed bumps on the road, Cloutier said the mark­ings still serve a pur­pose.“It will al­ways be a vis­ual re­minder to slow down,” he said.

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