Streets identified for further study years ago – at least one as far back at 2002 – still haven’t been looked at yet.

A cyclist rides through an intersection.


Click here for a map of the 73 studies waiting to be done, and the seven studies the city is currently working on.

If you have concerns about traffic safety on your street, there is good news – the City of Ottawa has a program that can study and implement permanent changes.

The bad news is it can take more than a decade for the study to start.

Data released to Metro show a backlog of 73 studies that the city has approved via its Area Traffic Management Program. These are studies waiting to be done – but for roads that have already been identified as having traffic issues, that could make them dangerous for pedestrians and/or cyclists.

The requests for some of these go back as far as 2002.

The program, managed by Heidi Cousineau, is able to complete between five and 10 studies a year, she said. But this year, there have already been five new requests approved.

She says the backlog rarely shrinks.

Cousineau points to a historical lack of budget resources as a reason for the backlog. But, since 2012, the program has received more consistent funding and been able to make progress, especially in “significantly reducing” a long list of already approved traffic-calming measures that the city inherited after amalgamation.

The program now has six proposed traffic-calming measures left over from studies done in the 1990s, with most other measures from 2012 onward.

But the list of studies is another matter, with some approved studies having to be axed. The city prioritizes which studies are most urgently needed, and only cuts them after speaking with the councillor and requestor, or if the study is deemed to no longer be needed, said Cousineau.

The guidelines that the program follows, which were approved in 2004, are also slowing down the process.

“We are proactively looking at if we can modernize the process and shorten the process in some cases so that we can complete more studies,” said Cousineau, adding that a review of the guidelines is planned for next year.

In the meantime, Cousineau is co-ordinating with the city’s temporary traffic-calming program to implement temporary measures on roads still waiting for review.

Another measure, which began last year, gives city councillors $40,000 each to spend on things like flexi-posts, painted speed markings and speed boards.

As a whole, however, councillors spent less than a fifth of that money in 2015.

Some said they didn’t have enough time to identify problem roads to spend on because the program began partway through the year.

On the other hand, Coun. Rick Chiarelli has previously said $40,000 “is almost nothing in the traffic calming world,” adding that more money is needed to make a real difference.

Before a road is placed on the waiting list for study under the Area Traffic Management Program, staff must already have confirmed that a serious collision on the road involving a “vulnerable street user” has occurred in the past three years, or several other criteria, like consistent speeding, significant through traffic and a higher than average collision rate.

– With files from Emma Jackson

Source: Metro News