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Traffic Safety Issues and Mitigation Strategies in Mature Neighbourhood Overlays

As towns and cities throughout North America begin to show signs of aging, the number of
emerging mature neighbourhoods and communities within municipalities has burgeoned. The
rapid growth of these areas has created transportation safety problems of a magnitude and
nature that are hitherto unknown to governing bodies.

Mature neighbourhoods are defined as those communities developed in the historic past that
often consist of older and smaller dwellings built on properties with a sizable lot in quiet streets.
As the supply of large properties in towns continues to decrease and the costs of developable
land continues to increase, the demand and pressure to rebuild infills in mature neighbourhoods
is expected to rise. Developers, or existing owners, are now looking into purchasing or
converting existing properties and turning them into larger or multi-purpose residences that may
be incompatible with the existing built-form, and which would create different safety issues on
transportation.

Many municipalities such as the County of Strathcona and the City of Edmonton in Alberta are
currently conducting studies to formulate Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO) policies with a
view to lessen the threat of loss of character in these redevelopment areas, to protect green
spaces, and to balance needs with zoning regulations. While these initiatives to address the
land use impacts are necessary and commendable, the same corresponding attention have not
been paid to the impact on transportation that are often as challenging, given tight existing
conditions and constraints. To be successful, care must be taken to ensure that these infill
developments will not create a negative impact, a perceived or real hazard, or an unacceptable
increase in traffic on local roads.

This paper sets out to explore some of the more critical issues on transportation in mature
neighbourhoods. It examines the unique features within these communities such as the
blending of future houses with existing buildings; demographics of residents; traffic calming
measures and their implementation; curbside management; geometric conditions and
constraints; driveway accesses, setbacks, and parking; roadway dieting; conditions created by
senior living; high and low end condominiums, etc.; as they relate to transportation and traffic
safety. Strategies, policies and guideline solutions are suggested. The importance of public
engagement is highlighted. Case studies using Strathcona County as an example are cited. It is
recommended that more encompassing studies in the future should be carried out by research
bodies to formulate a best practice guideline document.

Author

Tong, B.

Session title

Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety

Organizers

Road Safety Standing Committee

Year

2018

Format

Paper

File