This page contains information about the ways that roads and streets can be made safer for residents and reduce the noise of cars travelling at speed.
24/12/2013 10:33 a.m.
We get many requests for "slow streets" each year from residents who want traffic to slow down on their streets and who are concerned about the safety risks and the noise of fast cars.
How to request a "slow street"
A petition requesting traffic calming is the preferred way to start the process. The petition should be signed by all the residents of the street in question and include their name, signature and whether or not they support the proposal.
The petition should then be sent to us. It is recorded and the request is added to our list for consideration when budgets are set for the coming year.
Priority is determined by safety issues, the number of people wanting the work done and the number of years the funding is available.
Once a street has been selected, a report is prepared to consider what is the most suitable traffic calming measure. Consideration is given to crashes, measured speed, the road's function, cyclist and pedestrian use.
Consultation follows with the residents regarding the type and location of the recommended measures.
After the consultation has been completed, the works are scheduled and completed during that financial year.
Traffic calming methods
To reduce speed on a street we can do a number of things:
Islands that project out from each side street, making it narrower and creating a zig-zag effect that slows cars down.
Chicanes are suitable for residential streets and some smaller roads but not thoroughfares or main roads.
A narrow mound of seal across a road that causes cars to judder as they drive over.
Most cars will slow down for these and they are suitable for residential streets but not thoroughfares or main roads.
These are like speed humps but the mound of the seal is wider, meaning cars take longer to pass over it. They are suitable for residential streets but not thoroughfares or main roads.
Placing these in the middle of a road narrows the lanes and causes traffic to slow. These are suitable in a number of situations.
Flush median strips
Painted areas of road, usually painted in white with diagonal stripes. These also narrow the road, causing traffic to slow and are suitable for thoroughfares or main roads.
No exit streets
Closing off the exit at one end to prevent people from using it as a fast thoroughfares or main bypass street.
This is suitable for some smaller roads.
Downsides of traffic calming
Slower streets do increase the time it takes for emergency services to get to call-outs.
There may be engineering difficulties to create a slow street that also allows others vehicles to use it. eg buses, furniture removal vehicles, trucks and emergency vehicles.
Slowing one street can mean fast or dangerous drivers transfer their anti-social driving to other streets.
When we put in a slow street we are very conscious of this and monitor other streets to identify and deal with any negative flow-on effects.
Some works will clash with existing driveways and services.