Briar Hill getting speed humps

Traffic-calming idea passed despite staff recommendations

It’s been a relatively smooth ride, but Briar Hill Avenue is about to get bumpier.

North York Community Council has approved the installation of two speed humps between Birdsall and Rosewell avenues, as well as a reduction of the speed limit to 30 kilometres per hour.

A city staff report recommended leaving the street as is because responses to a poll fell three per cent below the 50 percent plus-one of households required to respond.

As well, a 24-hour monitoring of the street didn’t find that drivers were speeding more than 10 km over the limit, which is the requirement set in the city’s traffic policy.

But Ward 16 councillor Karen Stintz says the community still supports traffic calming — of the 47 percent of households that responded to the city poll, 82 per cent were in favour of new speed humps.

The street already has four speed humps just to the west, between Avenue Road and Birdsall Avenue, which were installed in 2005.

“Staff felt that (speed bumps) weren’t necessary to continue but the community has a different opinion,” says Stintz.

The traffic calming request originally came in the form of a petition by a community member, which requires at least 25 percent local support before it can be considered by community council.

Although staff recommendations are overturned frequently when councillors feel the community supports a decision, there can be a downside, says Transportation Services’ manager of operational planning and policy Nazzareno Capano.

“There’s potential cost savings if you adhere to the policy and just do what it suggests you do,” he says.

Resident Teddy Zittell says that the speed humps will be a good reality check for drivers who see the street as the fast way to get from Bathurst Street to Avenue Road or Yonge Street.

“The cars just zoom along,” he says. “It’s sort of like a stunning rogues’ gallery of inconsiderate drivers.”

He says if drivers are obeying the speed limit, speed humps aren’t an inconvenience.

However, residents like Greg Brown and Harley Gurza aren’t so sure.

Gurza, who’s lived on the street for 17 years, says he worries about the damage caused to car bodies and suspensions.

But Capano says they’ve been designed with a maximum height of 75 millimetres so that they won’t harm even the lowest-lying cars.

“We’ve taken every precaution when it comes to that,” he says.

For Brown, he doesn’t want speed humps on the street, but says if they are going to be installed that they’re in the wrong spot.

The distance between Rosewell and Birdsall avenues is too short at 120 metres, he says, and both intersections have stop signs.

He says that it would make more sense to put speed humps in what he calls the drag stretch, between Rosewell and Duplex Avenue.

Brown says he’s concerned that speed humps are hard to see, loud when cars hit them too quickly, and simply divert traffic to other nearby streets that are still speed hump-free.

“I’d rather have police enforcement on the street,” he says.

About this article:

By: Caitlin Orr
Posted: Jun 27 2011 6:26 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto