I was talking to someone the other day about a street where the local transport authority has data to show that the average vehicle speed is above their safe target for that particular street, so wants to put in some measures to slow the cars.
The automatic ‘tool’ for this job are “speed cushions” but there are so many other, more creative and social alternatives.
I thought I might crowdsource your favourites so I can share this with them, and maybe they can get support to do something new there too.
So, what are your favourite, and effective, street traffic calming interventions? (bonus for photos, of course)
You are right @Rob_Telraam, there are so many great examples of traffic calming measures all over the world. I can share one from Helsinki. A finnish city that was involved in the EU-project CIVITAS HANDSHAKE where also we from Mobiel 21 contributed to.
So in Helsinki they experimented with a summer street initiative. The idea behind the initiative is to create streets that encourage people to imagine what urban streets could be like if space is redistributed in a way that prioritises safety, quality and comfort for those who move by foot or by bike in the urban environment. 4 streets participated.
A very thorough and complete traffic calming approach can be found in Dutch and Flemish “woonerven” (literally “living courtyards” or “home zones”). Often, “woonerven” are smaller residential streets that were redesigned to give residents a sense of peace and quiet, while removing car traffic as much as possible without entirely banning it.
Here’s a typical example. As you see in the picture, there are several traffic calming measures within this single street: bollards, tiles instead of smooth asphalt, a raised road surface continuous with the sidewalks, and trees that act as obstacles.
It would be lovely to be at that stage in the journey here in the UK and in countries like the USA, but I think there are many steps we need to take before that.
However, I think the idea of the sign would work to emphasise the shared space as opposed to just a restriction on speed for vehicles.
I like those designs @sanne.vanderstraeten - I didn’t see them in the article, so thanks for sharing. I really like the idea of more varied street furniture that doesn’t just stop traffic (like @Ferrie 's box) but actually makes the street more beautiful and resilient. The latest, of course, is turning these bits of furniture into bioswales (to capture and treat surface water) which would be great too.
I’m hoping to get some of these installed here in my area of London as well. Have you come across a design that works on a steep hill?
Not many steep hills here in belgium. And I can’t directly think about an example I saw in my European projects…
But this might be a good inspiration source, a webinar from Mobycon on the principles on traffic calming with mostly Dutch examples but also the American perspective as it was an international collaboration:
I went for a little walk in the park during my lunch break today, and suddenly realized that the road cutting through the park has three different traffic calming measures I never really paid attention to before…
I took some quick pictures. They’re quite gloomy due to the winter weather here
First, the road features a raised crossing and traffic island that slows down traffic and allows pedestrians and cyclists to get from one side of the park to the other more safely.
Third, the road that crosses the park becomes more urban again and passes below a highway overpass. This area used to be one giant asphalt plain. A few months ago, dozens of bollards were installed to make the road seem narrower and to slow down traffic approaching the park road.
And, finally, when returning home, I met this little guy braving the rising temperature. Nothing to do with traffic calming, just fun to see a snowman in the wild. They’ve become quite rare in recent years
Thanks for the tour @MertenDeKinderen - who needs historic sights when we can have a bollard-and-traffic-calming tour
To be serious, it is useful and quire depressing how little of this clever experience is being used in the UK to achieve the same goals. The use of the bollards to slow traffic in particular is such a simple solution. I’ll definitely be using this in the plans I am putting forward locally