Traffic-calming bollards have sprung up across the city of Kingston, Ont., in an attempt to reduce vehicle speeds on residential streets.
Inspired by a similar program in Ottawa, Kingston began installing the flexible posts two years ago as part of a pilot project. So far, the initiative has been a success, slowing vehicle speeds by about 10 km/h, says Deanna Green, manager of the City of Kingston’s traffic division.
“We looked upon this as a really creative way to get speeds down,” says Green.
The most common complaint that the city’s traffic division receives is motorists speeding on residential streets. In order to determine which streets would receive traffic-calming bollards, the city completed speed and volume data tests on all of the streets in which people reported speeding motorists. Those residential streets that scored highest received the bollards.
These flexible posts have also been a cost-efficient way to reduce speeding, as bollards are less expensive than the conventional speed hump. A set of 10 bollards costs less than $4,000, while the cost of just one speed hump exceeds that amount.
Initially, some people expressed concern about the distance between the traffic-calming bollards, worrying that vehicles would not be able to pass through. When CKWS measured the distance between two traffic-calming bollards in Kingston, the width was about 12 feet. A vehicle typically needs around 11.5 feet to pass between two obstacles.
“Really, it’s that optical illusion where it looks a lot narrower than it is, and that’s what brings the speeds down,” says Green.
The city has made sure there is enough room for regular vehicles as well as transit and emergency vehicles to pass.
The city says it has enough money to assess 10 residential streets in a year and enough budget to install bollards on five streets per year. The city recommends people report speeding issues to its traffic division.