Friday, April 29, 2016

New traffic calming device invented right here at The City of Calgary

Creating safe streets for Calgarians to walk, bike and drive on is a top priority at The City of Calgary. The traffic calming program is meant to address existing and measurable traffic problems in a community. Community traffic studies are conducted to determine what traffic management measures can be taken to encourage safe driving by slowing down the speed of motorists.

Senior Traffic Safety Engineer
 Tony Churchill
All too often though, Senior Traffic Safety Engineer, Tony Churchill was getting requests for traffic calming in communities across the city that he was unable to fulfill for a variety of reasons including cost.

“There are a lot of traffic calming measures such as curb extensions, small roundabouts and median islands that become quite cost-prohibitive due to pavement work, drainage issues and underground utilities,” Churchill said.

So, Tony decided to come up with a solution. He looked at the geometry of many common traffic calming measures and developed an oval shaped, low profile concrete unit that could be placed in a variety of ways to create the same results of other, more expensive, traffic calming measures.

These new traffic calming curbs are a cost-effective method that can be used to quickly address traffic calming issues.

“The goal of the traffic calming curbs is to change the geometry of the road in a way that feels safer and also results in fewer collisions resulting in injury or fatality for all of Calgary’s road users,” Churchill said.

Traffic Calming Curbs being installed on
Child Avenue N.E. in Bridgeland.
The curbs will be used to provide temporary traffic calming measures in communities where permanent solutions have not been budgeted for. They have been designed to withstand exposure to the elements and snow and ice control materials like salt and gravel and weigh over 1,700 pounds to prevent them from moving. They are also made out of yellow cement to make them easier to see and more visually appealing.

The traffic calming curbs are currently being piloted for effectiveness. For now, The City will begin using them on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit where issues have already been identified and traffic calming is required but cannot be immediately installed due to budget or other construction constraints. Once the pilot for the curbs has been completed and standards for their use have been determined there may be more opportunity for citizens to request them in their communities.

For more information on The City’s traffic calming program visit


  1. Good start. Now go and look at MacLeod Trail and 4th street intersection, idk if that's the right street name, but it's the one coming past the Stampede Grounds, where there is that RIDICULOUS LRT crossing, where there is room for only one or two cars on the other side of the track, cars are squeezed between the track and the traffic lights, and god help you if a train comes up out of the tunnel.

    Sitting there in the left hand lane waiting to turn left onto Macleod, when 2 cars on my left side, who are in a lane directed to turn left, just headed straight across Macleod Trail and towards downtown. It was as if there was no arrow direction at all. Only because I was watching them did I not turn left into them.

    Calgary has some REALLY BAD intersections, this is one of them. People now seem to completely ignore any semblance of obeying traffic laws. They do what they can get away with.

  2. How visible will the temporary curbs be in winter after a snowfall? My concern would be cars hitting them and damaging their wheels/suspension. Would it be better if the curbs had flexible bollards attached to alert drivers to their presence when covered in snow?

    1. This would be a good idea. Similar to ones in affect downtown along 8th ave etc.

  3. I don't understand what was wrong with that intersection. I've been through there many times, pretty much every day in fact. And I've never had an issue with traffic.

  4. Better increase camera surveillance or greater police presence where these are installed or sure as hell they will be stolen in the middle of the night. So, less costly? Hardly . . .

    1. The Traffic Calming Curbs are quite heavy (1,710 pounds each) and are put into place using a crane. We do not have reason to believe Traffic Calming Curbs require increased security measures.