September 16, 2001
The Corporation of the District of North Vancouver
Parks & Engineering Services
Attention: Al Maki
The following is early feedback regarding the speed hump installation on Riverside Drive.
I want to make it clear that I am in favour of measures that will reduce the speeding on Riverside Drive to reduce the danger to walkers and cyclists sharing the road.
I attended the public meeting on speed humps and filled out all the surveys in favour of some measures to control speeding. I did not support the earlier measure to lower the speed limit to 40 km/hr. A limit of 50 km/hr is fine, if drivers abide by that limit. Enforcement by the RCMP could have assisted more in achieving that objective.
The goal of any traffic calming measures should be to slow down the speeders, but not to unduly inhibit traffic or inconvenience residents. I do not believe all those objectives have been met with the recent hump installation. The traffic moves much slower in the hump zone but at what cost? Forcing vehicles to drive at half the posted speed cannot be the sole objective.
Maximum Speed over the Humps:
We were told at the second public meeting that the speed humps could be taken easily at 44 km/hr. Further, we were told that as cars approached at 50 km per hour it would not be comfortable to go over the humps at that speed, but it could be done.
I can tell you having been over the humps many times since the installation that 35 km/hr seems to be a maximum speed and 25 km/hr is more likely the speed people are currently going to drive to avoid bottoming out their cars. My wife finds that 20 km/hr is the proper speed for our Chrysler van. A speed of 44 km/hr is out of the question.
Have these speed humps been wrongly constructed or were we misinformed? The Engineering Department needs to immediately check to see if the installation was done according to specifications.
Cars going a constant velocity generally emit a lower level of traffic noise than those vehicles accelerating or decelerating. The most northerly hump is 50 feet from my property line. As cars approach this first hump coming down Riverside they brake hard, some squealing their tires. All cars make additional noise as they slow down to go over a hump that needs a 20-25 km maximum speed. Sometimes the cars may scrape the metal of their under-carriage as they hit the hump, causing more noise.
The worst is the northerly traffic going up Riverside, as once they get over the hump they ‘gun’ their engines and accelerate briskly as they know they are now past the last of the humps. This means that my family and my immediate neighbors are subjected to more than 1000 cars per day racing their engines to get back up to speed. As the houses in this stretch are significantly above the road level, the noise rises and seems to be magnified in the homes. The installation of the hump by our houses has tripled the road noise (in my estimation) and is enough reason for me to say: “cease and desist with this trial.”
In the public feedback process, prior to the hump installation, I suggested in writing to the Engineering Department that we should take advantage of the fact that there is a 125-meter wooded section of Riverside Drive with no houses, that is within the 450-meter hump installation zone. It made sense that the top hump should be located in the middle of the wooded section to mitigate effects of the acceleration and deceleration of the cars on residents. It seems that suggestion was not heeded as the hump is placed right beside the property line at 1050 Riverside. Why not put it where there are no houses for 125 meters? If I had known how bad the noise would be, I would have lobbied harder initially for this placement.
There is no streetlight where the northernmost hump is currently placed and is very hard to see at night. There is, however, a streetlight at a point about 50 meters south and that would help drivers locate the first hump in the dark of night. If keeping the humps really is a viable option, it may help with the noise to put it in the wooded section where there are no residents and where it could be more easily seen at night.
People are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their homes. Unfortunately, this is causing a nightmare as it is now noisy all day and into the wee hours of the night. The occasional noisy speeder was one thing, now we have increased noise from all cars as they get up to cruising speed again, scraping their under-carriage, squealing their tires, etc.
I am asking that if this hump trial is to be continued, that the northernmost hump be moved to the more appropriate location for the reasons stated above. Removing the hump altogether is preferable given both the engineering and noise issues.
I have canvassed the following neighbors concerned about the hump installation. They are also complaining about a significant increase in traffic noise and share the views I have expressed. These residents are:
Don and Dona Coates 1050 Riverside
Roshan and Badru Thobani 1090 Riverside
Michael and Monica McAlduff 1110 Riverside
These neighbors also stated that the humps do not seem to be engineered correctly as the speed one can navigate them is much lower than promised. The increased traffic noise is upsetting them and taking away the enjoyment of their homes. Some have said they want to send their own letters to the District, which will be faxed separately.
As you are aware, the proposal to install the humps was not universally applauded by all residents. Those who did not want to be inconvenienced were vocal in their objections to the humps. Since the installation, some drivers are vigorously honking their horns loudly every time they go over a hump. I presume this is to express their displeasure with the installation of the humps, or perhaps to torment those whose homes are unfortunately located by the humps.
This horn honking is happening all-day and even in the 2:00 am - 4 am time period, which is affecting our sleep. Friday night was horrible, as it seemed one idiot drove up and down honking repeatedly late at night. Saturday night was the same. I am appalled that our neighbors up the street would be so inconsiderate! I believe it also shows the depth of their anger.
On Saturday (September 15) I was talking to a woman who lives on the other side of the river on Seymour River Boulevard. She was exceedingly upset and irate about the noise coming from Riverside Drive. She was sitting in her car parked in front of my house, writing down the plate numbers of honking cars. She mentioned that the horn honking had also kept her family awake. I had to talk her out of following those honking cars home and having a confrontation with the drivers or going to their home at 2:00 am and honk her car horn to ‘get even.’ She also indicated that the increased car noise was very noticeable to her above the noise of the Seymour River! She will be communicating her concerns directly to the Engineering Department.
It is incumbent on the District to do something about this horn honking, either through public information to communicate to residents or through the enforcement of District noise bylaws. The latter option is not preferable as people are very angry with this issue, and are looking for a way to communicate their opinions.
You know, I can see their point. The humps are not as they were promised to be and seem to do more to anger drivers than achieve any measurable gain in safe driving on our street.
I do not support solutions to traffic problems that punish everyone, just because we seem unable (or unwilling) to control the unsafe acts of a few speeders. That is what seems to be happening with the hump installation because they are causing such a disruption to residents. We are all paying a heavy price of inconvenience because the RCMP do not have a regular speed surveillance program on Riverside Drive to discourage speeders.
Overall it seems that ‘the cure is worse than the disease.’
Ø The humps do not seem to be engineered to allow drivers to negotiate them at anything approaching the posted speed limit.
Ø The most northerly hump should be moved (or preferably removed altogether) as it is causing a significant and unacceptable increase in traffic noise at nearby residents’ houses.
Ø The horn honking and overall neighborhood anger needs to be addressed. This hump installation has caused our quiet street to be turned into a war zone.
I am writing this critical letter even though I was one who was strongly in favour that some traffic calming measures are taken on Riverside Drive. I can only imagine the letters and phone calls you are receiving from those who were opposed to the speed humps from the outset.
If the engineering issues on the humps cannot be quickly addressed, I think the District should remove all the humps and go back to the drawing board
I look forward to hearing from whoever is in charge of this Project.
604 929-8833 (evenings)