Inaccuracies in District Staff Reporting to Council 

Excerpts from:
The District of North Vancouver REPORT TO COUNCIL

July 3, 2001

AUTHOR: Donna Howes, P.Eng. - Assistant Manager, Transportation

SUBJECT: Riverside Drive Traffic Calming Project

RECOMMENDATION: That the detailed design for the speed humps on Riverside Drive as shown in Diagram 3 be completed and installed. 

Note: This recommendation is not within the scope of the task described in council's resolution. The minutes of the October 20, 1997 meeting state that the task is to "conduct a survey of the neighbourhood to determine the level of support for traffic calming on Riverside Drive and report the survey results back to Council." Actions such as exploring alternatives and deciding solutions should not have proceeded until Council agreed there was sufficient support for a full traffic calming study.

REASON FOR REPORT: Council passed a resolution that staff conduct a survey of the neighbourhood to determine the level of support for traffic calming. 

Note: District Staff were tasked with determining the level of support for traffic calming. The support requirement outlined in the District's Traffic Calming Policy was not reached in the survey conducted in March of 1998 so there wasn't sufficient support to proceed. Staff did not report this and while they could and should have conducted another survey, they did not. This was a direct contravention of DNV Corporate Policy and a violation of the basic principles that most cities use to establish the unbiased need for a traffic calming study.

As a result, Riverside Drive was included in the traffic calming program for 2000. 

Note: Based on DNV Corporate Policy, the survey requested by council must be sent to all households and businesses in the study. The survey is to verify if there is sufficient support in the study area for a traffic calming study. At least 50% of the surveys must be returned and a majority of the responses must support traffic calming for a study to proceed to budget consideration. This survey was not done before a consultant was appointed and the study started. A survey conducted after the study was started did not show sufficient support for the study to be continued. 

SUMMARY: Staff have completed a review of the traffic safety issues on Riverside Drive north of Grantham Drive. This report details this review which included additional data collection and technical analysis together with detailed community consultation. Speeding on Riverside Drive was confirmed to be an issue from the technical analysis. 

Note: This isn't correct. The technical analysis showed the worst case 85th percentile to be 14.5kph over the speed limit for Riverside. The policy states that the 85th percentile must be at least 16kph over the speed limit to meet the criterion for traffic calming. This criterion is the same for local and collector roads. The "Traffic Volume" criterion allows 1000 vehicles for local roads and 3000 vehicles for collector roads. The measured traffic volume was 2180 vehicles so we would have failed that criteria if we are a local road but Riverside is a collector road so we are under the criteria in the traffic calming policy. 

The majority of residents acknowledge that there are traffic safety concerns and problems with vehicles speeding. 

Note: This statement is not supported by the facts because at no time did the majority of residents ever attend a traffic calming meeting or respond to a district survey.

BACKGROUND: Over the past few years, local residents have expressed concern about speeding along Riverside Drive East, north of Grantham Drive. The history of this issue is summarised in Attachment 1.

Riverside Drive, north of Grantham, is a Local Road with an average width of 8m. 

Note: Based on the information in DNV Corporate Policy No. 11-8620-1 Riverside Drive is a minor collector road and therefore is subject to different traffic concerns. 

This issue has been reassessed with the recently adopted District Traffic Calming Policy, "Neighbourhood Traffic Calming Program and Procedures", August 1999.

Note: If this was done, why was the basic policy requirement to determine the support for a Traffic Calming Study ignored? Staff never had a survey, before or during the process, that obtained the required 51% return.

Traffic counts have been undertaken over a period of time and the results are shown.... These counts were assessed with the policy [reference deleted] and this confirmed that further study was required which included a community consultation process.

Note: This is incorrect. Staff used the classification for a local road. Based on the definitions in the Canadian Guide for Traffic calming, and the DNV Corporate Policy, Riverside Drive is a collector road. As a collector road it didn't meet the requirements for further study. One of the differences between a local road and a collector road is that there is a higher need to allow traffic to move in an unimpeded manner on a collector road.] 

The main measure for speed is the 85th Percentile Speed which is the speed at or below which 85 % of the drivers are travelling at. This speed is used to compare the levels or degree of speeding on different streets. The traffic count data shows that the 85th Percentile Speed varies from 64.5 km/h (just north of Grantham) to 61.4 km/h (near Swinburne). By comparison, this speed is high for a Local Road in the District. Recent speed studies have indicated that the typical range of speeds (85th percentile) that were recorded on other Local Roads in the District is 52 km/h to 60 km/h. 

Note: Staff failed to state that the minimum thresholds for funding in Section 4.1 of 1999 Traffic Calming Policy are that 50% or more of traffic is through traffic, 85th percentile operating speed is 16k/h over the posted speed limit, or that Traffic volume is greater than 3,000 vehicles per day. District data did not confirm that any of these criteria failed.

ANALYSIS: ..... The community consultation is documented in the report from Context Research.... Staff also met with a small Community Contact group throughout the process to provide input on the approach to consultation. Two work sessions with the community were held. ....In addition, two questionnaires were sent out to the neighbourhood to confirm feedback from the work sessions. 

Note: Throughout this process, the Consultant and District Staff never received a large enough response to accurately judge the desires and objectives of the overall neighbourhood. History has now shown that the conclusions and the recommendations limited input do not have the support of the Riverside Community.] 

The recommendation is to install four speed humps in the lower part of Riverside Drive. This is shown in Diagram 3. The majority of residents acknowledge that there are traffic safety concerns and problems with vehicles speeding. 

Note: Staff keep referring to a majority of residents. This is completely false! How can staff make claims like this when they never got a response from the majority of the residents?

Support for placing these speed humps is highest among residents in the middle and lower end of Riverside Drive (84% of respondents), where the speeding issue is the most prevalent and of the greatest concern. 

Note: While this is correct, the report to council omits a very important finding. That finding was that only a slight majority of a small sampling of the community supported the speed humps. If you review the Traffic Calming Policy a 51% or greater response is required to start a study. If you look at the traffic calming policies for other cities you'll see that most require the majority or even 66% of the residents in the impact area to support the installation of the traffic calming devices. DNV Policy has ignored this very important measure of community support for the project. We are now seeing the consequences.

Business Plan:

Note: This is blatantly incorrect. It is a well understood that the repeated deceleration and acceleration that is caused by speed humps will considerably increase fuel consumption and pollution.


  1. That the detailed design for the speed humps on Riverside Drive as shown in Diagram be completed and installed 


  1. Do not install speed humps.

Note: Council was given these options and on the basis of the information provided, opted to install the speed humps. If they knew that basic DNV Traffic calming Policies had not been followed, that they had been used incorrectly, or that the support of the overall community had not been confirmed, would they have made the same decision? We must now take this to council and ask them.