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The City of Sarnia must make improvements to address concerns such as speeding, excessive traffic volumes and traffic safety in certain areas. Traffic calming can be an effective measure to limit speed and traffic volumes in designated areas.  This contributes to a safer road system.

What is Traffic Calming?

Traffic calming is the implementation of measures to reduce speeds and traffic volumes on local and collector roads to improve the safety for all modes of transportation. The goal is to restore roads to their original intended purpose of providing access to local residential properties not to act as cut through routes or high speed roads. It improves the liveability of neighbourhoods and improves the condition for other modes of transportation. There are several traffic calming measures, each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The following is a list of traffic calming measures. More detail on these measures can be found in the City of Sarnia Traffic Calming Guidelines (PDF is available below).

Curb Extension
Curb radius reduction
Directional closure
Full closure
Intersection channelization
Intersection channelization
On-street parking
Raised crosswalk
Raised intersection
Raised median island
Sidewalk extension
Speed hump
Textured crosswalk

Streets that qualify for Traffic Calming

Traffic calming will only be considered on local and collector streets in residential neighbourhoods. Local roads carry up to 1,500 vehicles per day and are intended to provide access to residential properties. Collector roads carry up to 5,000 vehicles per day and help traffic move through a local neighbourhood.

Traffic Calming Requests

Traffic calming will typically be driven by residents contacting the City to express concerns about traffic safety in their neighbourhood. Residents should submit a request in writing to the Engineering Department identifying their concerns and requesting that traffic calming be investigated for their neighbourhood. Requests can be sent to

Traffic Calming Guide for City of Sarnia

The City of Sarnia Traffic Calming Guidelines (see PDF file below) provides an overview traffic calming and guidelines, traffic calming measures, the traffic calming process and traffic calming requests.

Flexible bollards

Flexible bollards are a cost-effective traffic calming measure. These upright installations are a visible indication for vehicles and encourage a slower approach to navigate them by creating a narrower space for traffic to pass through. They are designed to flex upon impact to prevent damage to cars and slowing down emergency vehicles. 

Bollards are removed prior to winter months to allow for winter road maintenance activities. 

Studies across municipalities in Ontario indicate that flexible bollards are an effective measure to reduce speeds.

Road diets

Road diets are a cost-effective traffic calming measure, that enhance safety for all road users, and in some instances add additional active-transportation infrastructure. Road diets can often be achieved without extensive road reconstruction, often involving a reduction or reprioritization of lanes without road resurfacing.  

Road diets also help discourage non-local traffic from using local roads as through ways by limiting vehicle speeds and reducing the number of lanes. 

Road diets can include:

  • Reduction in number or width of automobile lanes
  • Addition of green space in boulevards
  • Flexible bollards
  • Wider sidewalks and/or shared multi-use paths
  • Physical barrier separation for vehicles and cyclists
  • Decreased crossing distance at intersection crosswalks and PXOs
  • Addition of active transportation infrastructure such as bicycle lanes
  • Addition of on-street parking

What is NOT Traffic Calming?

A common request from residents when speeding or high traffic volumes are encountered is for all way stop controlled intersections, lower speed limits, and children at play signage. There are many studies that have determined that these measures have little to no impact on addressing the original concerns and may even make the situation worse:

Unwarranted All Way Stop – Creates higher traffic speeds between stop signs. Studies have determined the speed is only reduced for 100m on either side of the intersection.
– Results in poor compliance with stop signs due to driver frustration.
– Should generally only be used when the standard provincial warrant criteria are met.
40 km/hr Speed Zone – People travel at a speed they feel comfortable based on the environment which they are driving, regardless of the posted speed limit.
– Changing speed limit signs usually has limited impacts.
– Collisions, when they occur, can be more significant due to the differences in speed between vehicles.
Children at Play Sign – Many signs in residential areas, which are installed to warn people of normal conditions, fail to improve safety.
– Warning signs can be effective tools if used sparingly and only to warn motorists of uncommon hazards that are not apparent.
– Children at Play signs can give parents a false sense of security since motorists often disregard these signs.
– Children playing in the streets, while common place, is dangerous and prohibited in the Highway Traffic Act.
– Since children live on nearly every residential block, Children at Play signs would need to be placed on every road.