From: Bill Maurer []
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2001 12:50 PM
To: Ken Krueger; Richard Zerr; Donna Howes
Cc: Ron Payne; Phil Holland; Willy Schuurman; Jay Rowland;;;;;;;
Subject: Riverside Traffic Calming
Yes, please add my name to the "Traffic Calming Advisory" group.
I was surprised by the latest 800 block Speed Study cables that were at the bottom of Riverside Drive this morning. I would like to receive a brief notification to whenever any traffic calming or speed hump initiatives are taken on Riverside drive. Sorry for the tone this morning but every time I see changes down there it highlights a group of people that are pursuing a plan without informing the community.
Is traffic engineering aware that a large number of residents now drive on the extreme right of the humps because you can go over them faster that way? Was this the intent with their design when it was stated that you could cross them at 45kph? Very few people are crossing the humps at the white arrows. You have to slow down to 25kph to cross them there. They are not very visible at night so guests who often hit the first one at 50kph resulting in a violent jolt to their vehicle. What action are you now trying to justify by the latest speed study cables?
The community does not regard speed humps as an acceptable traffic calming device regardless of what the speed on the street is. Other forms of traffic calming should be used. Speed humps affect 100% of the community. It penalizes the majority for the actions of a few. It is unclear from your data on previous Speed Studies of what the "speed curve" is. I would be interested in seeing more than just the 85th percentile number. I'm also not seeing any numbers from other collector roads in the district which have a 50kph limit and no speed humps.
Why have you chosen Riverside Drive as a problem road? Are the traffic patterns, volumes, speeds substantially different than other 50kph collector roads in the district?
I'll try to clarify the reality of the situation:
Ray Burns, the chairman of the Seymour Valley Community association never informed the general community when he formed the association in 1997. There have never been any notices of an AGM or a general meeting distributed by the association to the general community. The executive is hand picked and most of them have been on the executive since 1997. At least 3 of them are so ill that they are no longer active on the association. Ray Burns is unable or unwilling to give me the dates of either the next association general meeting or the next AGM.
Ray Burns is in favor of speed humps. He lives at 847 Riverside drive between humps 1 and 2. Ray Burns has young children and has lived at the address for approximately 16 years. Like most parents of young children, he feels very protective of them. Ray only has 1 hump to cross when he leaves his home. Ray is very sensitive to speeding vehicles even though he lives in an area of the street which has always been busy. The road in front of his house connects the Seymour Parkway with 261 homes in the Seymour Valley.
Ray burns is also on the Traffic Calming Advisory Committee. The July 3 Report To Council project timeline shows a meeting at his house on Feb 27 with himself, "core" (aka speed hump favoring) residents, and Context Research.
Traffic Engineering likes speed humps as a solution to traffic calming. They are cheap to install and maintain and are far more cost effective than policing.
Context Research likes traffic calming projects because that's the business they're in.
The word "speed hump" was not used in mailed out documentation until the May 31 questionnaire was sent out. Up until then it was a "traffic calming" project. Once that was sent out no further notice was sent to residents. We weren't informed of whether the results of the questionnaire or the date of the council meeting at which it was presented. How can residents protest without either of these 2 pieces of information? Residents that  went to the meetings felt that engineering had its mind made up about what it was going to do at the first meeting. I could provide further information if required. I didn't go as I didn't believe that it would be possible for the district to install something that was so unpopular.
Donna Howes report to Council is flawed because it does not show the total number of houses canvassed. It assumes that the people that didn't return their questionnaire would vote in the same proportion as the ones that did. This may be valid if all residents were on an equal information footing. The Traffic Calming committee was successful in getting most people in favor of speed humps to return their questionnaire. This is verified by Phil's petition which shows a very similar absolute number of people in favor of speed humps as Donna's report.
Questionnaire 2 did not present a clear yes/no response. Instead there was 1) yes, 2) yes with mods, and 3) no. The no box was at the very bottom of the page. Why wasn't there a clear yes/no option in the survey? The speed humps were installed without modification from the design yet the "yes with mods" group was lumped in with the "yes" group in engineering's report to council. If there was still an ability to change the design shouldn't this have been done in a questionnaire prior to the final one?
Here are the real (conservative) numbers which I feel accurately show how the community feels. This approach assumes that people that don't vote want to retain the status quo. They do not want things to change.
There are 261 homes in the neighborhood.
Questionnaire 2 results:
Speed Hump Removal petition:
It is interesting to note that the 2 surveys do not conflict with each other. A small number of people have changed their mind but I am certain that if the district had canvassed a larger number of residents they would have gotten a similar result for Questionnaire 2 with 60+% of residents opposing speed humps.
So what went wrong?
As a result of all these errors, engineering presented a biased and inaccurate report to council, council subsequently voted for speed humps, and the speed humps were very quickly installed.
The process used on the Seymour Valley Community would successfully impose this type of change on most other communities on the north shore with poorly established community associations.
It is not a popular way to run government. It is imposing an incredibly unpopular traffic calming measure on over 261 residents driving over those humps an average of 1100 times a day. As a group we are experiencing 4400 speed humps per day. We want our community and our road back!
It makes me feel like I am continually under siege by both my local community association and district engineering. I intend to resolve the issue with the community association by getting involved and ensuring it takes a representative stance. I do not blame council because I feel they were given bad information.
Traffic engineering must become more responsible and representative in the way it does business. Council members are heavily influenced by your reports so you should make every effort to ensure that they are prepared accurately. You failed miserably with your report on the Riverside Drive Traffic Calming Project. The cost to hire someone to spend 8 hours to walk from home to home for two evenings is far less to the money and trauma which is being expended by both installing and subsequently removing speed humps from our street.
You imposed a similar trauma on our community between Aug 30, 1996 and Oct 8, 1997 when you reduced the speed limit to 40kph. The majority of residents are not in favor of any proposals which effectively lower the speed limit below 50kph. Why are you so heavily influenced by a small minority of residents in our community?
Bill Maurer