Fire departments raise concerns as Waterloo city council approves 29 speed humps to calm traffic
WATERLOO -- Waterloo council unanimously approved several traffic calming measures Monday, including the addition of 29 speed humps, but some emergency responders are raising concerns the speedbumps could slow their response time.
“It is really the number one issue that came up during the election and it's continued to be the number one issue people contact me about,” said Ward Five councillor Jen Vasic.
The traffic calming measures also include new signs, sections of raised pavement, one raised intersection and pavement markings.
According to Vasic, three streets in need of traffic measures were identified by residents including:
Dunvegan Drive between Lexington Road and Sandowne Drive
Margaret Avenue between Lincoln Road and Bridgeport Road East
Woolwich between University Ave. East and Bridal Trail
The project is estimated to cost more than $330,000. The goal is to reduce speed on residential streets to 40 km/h.
But fire departments in Kitchener and Waterloo are concerned the measures could slow them down.
Kitchener Fire said the concerns could be more acute on Woolwich Street, as well as at the access to Kiwanis park and the Falconridge Drive area.
According to Waterloo Fire Chief Richard Hepditch, they support road safety but it is a case of risk management
“On the one hand, traffic calming is necessary because of those risks, because people aren't following the road and we have emergency response,” said Heptich.
Hepditch said speed humps slow down emergency vehicles by anywhere from three to five seconds.
But it's a challenge they are set to face with the use of technology and training.
“Staff are required to very quickly select the shortest route to get to any type of emergency. We achieve that through training, familiarization, studying maps," Hepditch said.
Waterloo Fire will continue to work closely with city staff to have the most up-to-date information on any changing infrastructure.
Construction on the traffic calming measures is set to begin in the fall of this year, with completion slated for spring or summer of 2022.