Traffic calming policy

Traffic calming is the use of physical solutions to reduce traffic speeds and/or cut-through traffic. The city supports traffic calming as a means to reduce speeds to improve safety and quality of the community. 

On this page

  1. Initiating a request
  2. Review warrants
  3. Council decision
  4. Traffic calming study
  5. Council decision
  6. Implementation and monitoring
  7. Submit a request for traffic calming study
  8. Active traffic calming studies
  9. Display a Slow Down Please lawn sign

1. Initiating a request A graphic outlining the traffic study process

If you are concerned about the traffic safety on your road or any city road we encourage you to submit a traffic calming request form. A neighbourhood association, your ward councillor, your school board or a business association can initiate the request too.

The form to begin the traffic calming request is below. We encourage you to read over the details of the entire traffic calming process first so you are knowledgeable of the process from start to finish. 

2. Review warrants

The review warrant process is when city staff complete a two part screening investigation to determine if a traffic calming study is warranted once the request is initiated.

Learn more about how the two part screening process is measured

Criteria Measurement
Phase one
Operating speed - 85 percentile Recorded > than 10 km/hr over posted limit

Motorized traffic volumes:

Local street

Two lane collector street


Counted > 900 vehicles per day

Counted > 2,000 vehicles per day

Phase two if  phase one minimums are met
Cycling / pedestrian traffic volumes Counted or observed
Collision history Recorded
Emergency response use Input
Transit use Input
Road grade - maximum eight percent Calculated
Proximity to schools and school crosswalks Observed

There are three possible outcomes of the warrant process:

  1. Phase one measurements can be met and the traffic calming process continues to phase two.
  2. Phase two measurements are met and the process moves on to the traffic calming process.
  3. Measurements listed above are not met in either phase one or two and the traffic study ends.

3. Council decision to proceed to traffic calming study

Once all the measurements from the review warrant have been met, staff collect this information and present it to council. Council will then make a decision if the traffic calming study will proceed or not.

Whomever initiated the request will be notified when the decision is going to council via email that they provided on the traffic calming request form.

At times there may be more than one traffic calming study under consideration and locations will be studied in order of proximity to pedestrian, cycling and transit infrastructure as well as schools, parks and community centres. 

4. Traffic calming study

The traffic calming study will consider a variety of traffic calming methods to address identified traffic issues, this includes active and passive traffic calming measures. It is also important that city staff consult with the community that will be impacted by traffic calming measures as part of this process.

Final preferred traffic calming plans will be based on city policies and sound traffic engineering practices and principles. These include, but are not limited to the Highway Traffic Act, traffic engineering principles and various other legislation.

A street with a speed bump to slow down traffic

Active traffic calming

Vertical measures include traffic calming measures which cause a vertical deflection of the vehicle such as a speed bump.




A street with a median in the middle to slow down traffic

Horizontal measures include traffic calming measures which cause a horizontal deflection of the vehicle such as a median refuge island.





Street with a bright yellow sign warning that school crossing is ahead

Passive traffic calming

Passive traffic calming measures include traffic calming measures that generally do not physically affect the path of a travelling vehicle such as traffic calming signs. 



5. Council decision

Information that has been collected through steps one to three will be presented to council by staff, including reports on phase one and two screening investigations. Council will be deciding to approve the preferred traffic calming plan for the area.

6. Implementation and monitoring

The goal is to implement a traffic calming study within 12 months of council approval, depending on the season and timing of approval. Monitoring consists of traffic speed and volume on the road, and collisions.

It is important to remember that while engineering principles and traffic calming methods have the best intentions, some drivers are going to choose to speed no matter what efforts we implement. 

7.Submit a request for a traffic calming study

If you are ready to submit a traffic calming request please click on the link below:

Traffic calming request form 

8. Active traffic calming studies

See the active studies for Dunvegan Drive, Margaret Avenue and Woolwich Street on EngageWaterloo

For more information, please view our Transportation Master Plan

Display a Slow Down Please lawn sign

Keeping our neighbourhoods safe is a shared responsibility which is why CAA and the City of Waterloo have partnered on this project. When well-placed, these signs aim to make roads safer for all members of the community. 

Lawn signs are available for pick-up at Waterloo Services Centre (265 Lexington Court) and RIM Park (2001 University Avenue East, Waterloo). Review the criteria below for sign assembly, installation and placement. 

Sign Assembly & Installation:

  1. Take the accompanying metal U frame and slip this wire through the plastic bag sign (note: the plastic bag consists of 2 layers welded together). 
  2. Push the frame/bag sign set into the lawn. Use foot pressure on the wire frame to secure it into the ground, rather than pushing down on the top of the sign.  

Signs should be placed visible to oncoming traffic and according to rules set out in the Sign Bylaw:

  • on your private residential property
  • one sign per property
  • not obstructing driveways, intersections, sidewalks or walkways
  • not obstructing a driver’s, cyclist’s or pedestrian’s line of vision
  • sign installation time is recommended from April – October
  • replace damaged signs

Please dispose of sign materials safely after use. Both the bag and metal are recyclable in The Region of Waterloo blue box program and must be separated.

The sign once installed is your property and your responsibility.