stop sign

Signs don’t solve road design: Our letter to councillors

Can you think of a better way to calm motor traffic while keeping the bike ride flowing smoothly along? Perhaps alternating yield signs, and channelized road narrowings.

Mini round-abouts? Decorative planters in the intersection to divert straight-through traffic while maintaining permeability for walking and cycling? Landscaping at strategic locations to visually narrow the road? More expensive than stops signs, but also more effective.

On Wednesday July 5, Transportation Committee will meet to discuss two new stop signs in Orleans. These signs are taking up time on the agenda because installing them runs against staff advice, so council approval will be needed to install them. According to staff, unwarranted stop signs tend to be ignored, and create a false sense of security. Anyone who rides a bike certainly knows the pain of hitting stop sign after stop sign when you can see well ahead of time that nobody is around. And these are by no means the first…

This seems to be the new fad in traffic calming here in Ottawa, with several of the most recent Transportation Committee meetings approving stops signs that residents have asked their councillor for. David Reevely wrote about it, and there were even several other instances he didn’t mention. It’s a hard thing to say “no” to, afterall, particularly when children are involved. It’s also maybe a hard thing to explain to concerned residents that there are better options. And of course, it’s also hard to come up with the budget to implement a real solution, especially when installing a stop sign costs just $800.But we say it’s time to listen to the staff advice we’ve paid for, and work with staff to identify the solutions that will actually improve safety.

The next step will be for council to put sufficient budget into traffic calming to actually imlement those ideas. That will take longer, and it will cost more, but we belive that the results are worthwhile: people-friendly streets that truly put walking and biking first. Accomplish that, and maybe we’d even have fewer cars on the street to worry about, as well.

Here’s our letter to Transportation Committee: Bike Ottawa Letter to Transportation Committee on Stop Signs