Biehn Drive Traffic Calming Review

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Traffic calming is the use of a variety of traffic management techniques to reduce the overall impacts of traffic on neighbourhood streets, communities and other public facilities such as parks and schools. Traffic calming is considered in areas where speeding, through-traffic, collisions and overall general traffic and pedestrian safety are of concern and cannot be addressed through other measures. Based on numerous complaints, our review of the traffic issues on Biehn Drive and comparing the results to other roadways on our traffic calming priority listing, Biehn Drive was approved by Council to be considered for traffic calming.

Below is a map of the study area which includes directly fronting addresses and other properties that may be indirectly impacted.


Image of the Biehn Drive study area

  • Before traffic calming measures are considered, a review will be conducted which includes extensive public engagement, including a Public Information Centre (PIC) and the consideration of different traffic calming alternatives. These alternatives are assessed based on social, economic and environmental impacts.
  • Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section in the bottom of this page for more information about the traffic calming process and the different types of traffic calming measures.
  • For more information about the Biehn Drive traffic conditions including existing traffic controls, traffic speed and volumes, and collision history, please refer to the documents section.
  • For examples of traffic calming measures on other roadways in Kitchener, please refer to the documents section.

Traffic calming is the use of a variety of traffic management techniques to reduce the overall impacts of traffic on neighbourhood streets, communities and other public facilities such as parks and schools. Traffic calming is considered in areas where speeding, through-traffic, collisions and overall general traffic and pedestrian safety are of concern and cannot be addressed through other measures. Based on numerous complaints, our review of the traffic issues on Biehn Drive and comparing the results to other roadways on our traffic calming priority listing, Biehn Drive was approved by Council to be considered for traffic calming.

Below is a map of the study area which includes directly fronting addresses and other properties that may be indirectly impacted.


Image of the Biehn Drive study area

  • Before traffic calming measures are considered, a review will be conducted which includes extensive public engagement, including a Public Information Centre (PIC) and the consideration of different traffic calming alternatives. These alternatives are assessed based on social, economic and environmental impacts.
  • Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section in the bottom of this page for more information about the traffic calming process and the different types of traffic calming measures.
  • For more information about the Biehn Drive traffic conditions including existing traffic controls, traffic speed and volumes, and collision history, please refer to the documents section.
  • For examples of traffic calming measures on other roadways in Kitchener, please refer to the documents section.

Traffic Calming Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is traffic calming?

Traffic calming is referred to measures that reduce traffic speeds and/or cut through traffic. Traffic calming measures are designed to reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, help alter driver behaviour and improve conditions for all street users notably vulnerable street users like pedestrians and cyclists.

2. What are the different approaches to traffic calming?

Traffic calming approaches are divided into three categories of passive, moderate and restrictive approaches.

Passive traffic calming measures generally do not affect the physical geometry of a roadway but can help increase awareness. Some examples include signage, textured pavement and roadway painting. Passive traffic calming approaches are low in cost but studies show that they typically result in less compliance.

An image of four examples of passive traffic calming measures.

Moderate traffic calming measures include horizontal and vertical measures which cause a vertical or horizontal deflection of the vehicle. Studies show that moderate traffic calming measures reduce through traffic volume and speed. Some horizontal traffic calming measure examples include chicanes, median islands, curb extensions, traffic circles and pedestrian refuge islands. Examples of vertical traffic calming measures include raised crosswalks, speed cushions and speed humps.

Speed bumps are found in locations such as parking lots are not installed on city streets. The city uses speed humps which are less abrupt and are designed to calm traffic to speeds between 30-40 km/h.

An image of six examples of moderate traffic calming measures.

Restrictive traffic calming is effective in eliminating through traffic volume by limiting/making changes to access a roadway. Some examples include partial road closure, full road closure, diverters and one-way roadways. Restrictive traffic calming approaches have medium to high installation cost and are not typically considered on major collector roadways or roadways that are identified as emergency response routes or transit routes.

An image of four examples of restrictive traffic calming measures

3. Why is Biehn Drive being considered for traffic calming?

  • Ranked 8th on The City's warranted traffic calming priority list with 54 points;
  • Designated as a Major Collector roadway with a posted speed limit of 50 km/h;
  • Recorded 85th percentile speed (at which drivers travel at or below): 53-59 km/h;
  • Recorded AADT (average annual daily traffic): 4,670 vehicles;
  • Identified concerns include speeding and traffic volumes, which can be addressed through the traffic calming review.

4. What is the required level of residents’ support for a traffic calming plan to be initiated and implemented?

Initiation Support 

Impacted residents must demonstrate 25% support to initiate the traffic calming study. At this stage, we are surveying residents to vote on whether or not they would like to see the review initiated. Your feedback is an important first step. Please take our five-minute survey to let us know what you think.

Implementation Support

There will be a second survey near the end of the traffic calming review to determine if there is support to implement the preferred plan developed by staff and residents. This final survey requires that 50% of residents respond, with 60% in support of the preferred plan before work can proceed.

5. What factors will be considered for selecting traffic calming measures?

Resident feedback, current traffic conditions such as speed, volume and collision history, potential impacts on other adjacent roadways, possible inconvenience to residents, potential impacts on emergency services and public transit, potential impacts on maintenance operations (snow removal), construction cost and maintenance cost are some of the factors considered when selecting the traffic calming measures.

6. Can an all-way stop control be used as a traffic calming measure?

It depends on traffic volumes for each of the intersecting streets. All-way stop controls are meant to safely alternate the right-of-way to opposing traffic flows. Based on the Ontario Traffic Manual, in order for an all-way stop control to be warranted, a significant amount of traffic must exist on both streets. If there is little traffic on the side street, drivers who regularly use the major streets will start anticipating that they will not have to yield to anyone and may disobey the stop signs. Unwarranted all-way stop controls are more often disobeyed by drivers and as a result pedestrian safety can be compromised.

7. Can more police enforcement be used as a traffic calming measure?

Many residents across the Region request police enforcement as a mean of traffic calming. City of Kitchener (and other Waterloo Region municipalities) work with Waterloo Regional Police Services (WRPS) in order to help identify areas with persistent traffic concerns. We flag priority streets to the WRPS for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) on a quarterly basis. WRPS will attempt to provide these areas with added enforcement over each quarter of the year.

8. What are the next steps?

At this stage, we are surveying residents who are affected by the traffic calming review to vote whether or not they would like to see the review initiated. City staff will review and summarize the resident feedback and the current traffic conditions. Based on the results, a design concept will be developed and will be presented to the residents in a Public Information Centre (PIC) in fall 2021. The design will also be circulated to affected agencies such as operations, garbage collection, emergency services and transit. Based on the feedback a preferred plan will be presented to residents. Residents will be surveyed to vote on the preferred traffic calming plan to determine if there is support to implement. The results of the traffic calming review including voting results will be presented to Council. If approved by Council, the design will be implemented in summer 2022. A follow up review will be conducted at-least 1 year after implementation to measure effectiveness and neighbourhood satisfaction.

An image of the process map for a City of Kitchener traffic calming review.

9. How can I contribute to this project?

To contribute to this project, please take our five-minute survey to let us know what you think. You can also post your questions and comments in the questions and comments tab above.

If you have any other questions regarding traffic calming, please feel free to enter them in the Questions bar below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

To request for the paper copy of the survey, please contact Steve Ryder at 519-741-2200 ext 7152 or by email Steven.Ryder@kitchener.ca

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Page last updated: 08 December 2021, 11:18