Queen's Park Traffic Calming Plan

Background

Queen’s Park is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city and is home to many young families who value safe and reliable forms of transportation. The Queen’s Park Traffic Calming Review is intended to address observed short-cutting, speeding, and illegal maneuvers by motorists, and to improve the safety and comfort of the streets in the neighbourhood for all road users. The study area is bordered by Sixth Street and Queen’s Park on the west and east, and Sixth Avenue and Royal Avenue on the north and south.

What we heard

In mid-2017, residents had an opportunity to provide feedback on their personal experiences with regards to mobility in the neighbourhood. We received 140 responses from residents, which are summarized in a report available in the Documents section below.

Overall, 69% of survey respondents were generally supportive of traffic calming.

Walking - Many survey respondents felt that no changes are needed to improve walking or that issues relate to motorist behaviour that can be addressed through traffic calming.

Transit - Most respondents did not feel any transit improvements are needed, although some did indicate a desire to have improved or new service on streets around Queen’s Park.

Cycling - Respondents indicated that repairing the roads, improving conflict zones, and increasing the number of bike lanes would improve the cycling experience within Queen’s Park.

Driving – The major challenge with regards to driving relates to short-cutting traffic, traffic speeds, and illegal maneuvers. Specifically, traffic short-cutting down First and Second Streets to get to the Pattullo Bridge was identified as problematic.

Observed Conditions

City staff reviewed traffic data collected between 2015 and 2018. The following key issues were verified:

Traffic Volumes – Many streets in the neighbourhood carry between 1000 and 2000 vehicles per day. Although this is slightly higher than the desired volume for streets in low-density areas, it indicates a modest amount of short-cutting traffic. It should be recognized that the park itself is a City-wide destination and generates traffic within the neighbourhood.

Traffic Speeds – Many motorists exceed the speed limit on Queens Avenue and First Street (30 km/h limit during daylight next to parks), and on Second Street and Park Row (50 km/h limit).

Illegal Maneuvers – Numerous motorists have been observed turning left from southbound First Street to eastbound Royal Avenue during the afternoon peak periods, when that maneuver is prohibited.

Our consultant's summary report on the existing traffic conditions and recommended interventions can be found in the Documents section below.

Interventions

The planned traffic calming interventions, which include speed humps and tables, signage, and turn restrictions and closures reinforced with plastic delineators (for a trial period), can be seen on the map below. They are meant to be spot improvements that are easy and efficient to implement, with an aim to reduce motor vehicle speed and to discourage motorists from cutting through the neighbourhood to access the Pattullo Bridge. These interventions reflect the scale of the issues observed through traffic counts.

FAQ

Q: Why aren’t you installing more diversionary traffic calming to stop commuters from short-cutting through Queen’s Park?

A: Neighbourhood traffic calming is always a trade-off between eliminating short-cutting by non-residents and providing reasonable access for residents. Significant traffic diversion can lead to frustration for residents and emergency services, and can simply push the issue elsewhere. The City’s traffic data indicates that the amount of short-cutting is fairly modest relative to other areas of New Westminster, and the proposed interventions commensurate with the scale of the issue. We expect the full-time turn restriction at First Street and Royal Avenue, while inconvenient for some residents, will address much of the short-cutting issue. We will continue to monitor traffic after implementation to assess whether the plan is having the desired effect.

Q: Why not just increase enforcement to address non-compliance of turn restrictions?

A: Although enforcement could potentially improve compliance in the short term, the New Westminster Police have limited enforcement resources to deploy across the city and enforcement at the intersection of Royal Avenue and First Street is challenging due to space limitations. “Self-enforcing” measures, such as physical diverters and speed humps, are much more effective in the long term than limited enforcement. As we have in the past, Engineering staff will continue to work with NWPD to identify enforcement needs throughout the City, including Queen’s Park, particularly in areas that affect the safety of people walking and cycling.

Q: What are you doing to improve school safety around Herbert Spencer Elementary?

A: In the next few months, the pedestrian traffic signal at Second Street and Sixth Avenue will be replaced and a new crosswalk added on the west side of the intersection to help students cross Sixth Avenue. We will also continue to assess potential safety improvements at the school through the City’s ongoing pedestrian and school crossing improvement programs. However, traffic safety around all of our schools is also a responsibility of parents and others driving near those schools.

Q: How many speed humps will be installed in Queen’s Park?

A: We are still looking at the details of the plan, but there will likely be two per block on Queens Avenue and First Street. We expect the total number to be between 10 and 20.

Q: Will the speed humps on First Street be replaced with more effective ones?

A: Engineering staff will assess the existing speed humps and raised crosswalks on First Street to determine whether they meet current design standards, and will replace those that do not.

Next steps

  • Design of engineering measures in spring 2019;
  • Begin construction of some traffic calming measures in summer 2019.

Contact

If there are any technical questions please email transportation@newwestcity.ca or call the Engineering Department at 604-527-4592.

Documents

Queen's Park Traffic Calming Plan Phase 1 Summary Report

WATT Consulting Group - Review of Proposed Traffic Calming Devices