Thursday, April 13, 2017

Proposed changes on the use of temporary roadside signs going to Council

Updating the list of banned roads, eliminating temporary signs in playground zones and establishing a maximum height for roadside signs are among the recommendations The City will present to Council in the coming weeks.

The Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw revisions are based on stakeholder engagement, and feedback received from citizens through the Temporary Signs Review Survey. Online and in-person feedback was collected throughout October 2016 of how Calgarians view temporary signs near our roadways, how these signs influence their actions and how they impact Calgary’s streetscape.

The survey results centered on three key themes for improvement:
  • Safety
  • Standards/best practices
  • Customer service
Based on these themes, a number of bylaw revisions are now being recommended including:
  • Establishing maximum sign heights above the ground 
  • Prohibiting signs in playground zones
  • Requiring minimum distances between signs by same owner/business/election candidate
The City will also look to update the list of prohibited roads, and create a map for easy reference. Prohibited roads may include all roads with a speed limit over 60 km/h, lower speed limit roads with high vehicle volumes, and roads where there is no safe vehicle “pull-off” places for those placing the signs.

Andrew Bissett, Leader of Strategic Planning at Roads, said most of the current rules around placement will be maintained, and will continue to support the responsible use of temporary signs. However, there are sections of the bylaw that need to be updated to better reflect the growth of the city and the increased focus on the public and pedestrian realms.

The City gets on average over 4,000 311 Service Requests a year about temporary signs. “Citizens care about these signs, and The City wanted to ensure the bylaw balances the desire to promote community programs or advertise business on public property, with the concerns of the wider community which include safety, mobility, and sign proliferation,” says Bissett.

Bissett said while a number of survey respondents asked for an all-out ban on temporary signs on Calgary streets, The City is prohibited by law from doing that. “The bylaw must align with court decisions that the placing of temporary signs on municipal property may be regulated and controlled but not totally prohibited.”

Next Steps:

On April 19, the recommended changes to the Temporary Signs on Highways Bylaw will go to the Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Transportation and Transit. Members of the public will have the opportunity to weigh-in on these proposed changes at Committee.

If accepted by the Committee, The City will present the bylaw changes to Council for approval on May 8.

For more information about this bylaw and how you can get involved or participate in Committee meeting, visit

UPDATE: April 19, 2017 - This item has been tabled and moved to the Standing Policy Committee (SPC) on Transportation and Transit on May 17.

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