York Urbanist

Integrated Streets


Click on the words above to get a powerpoint presentation.

Traffic calming techniques have been used throughout Vaughan including:

  • curb bump-outs
  • road humps
  • pavement changes
  • chicanes

But never have I seen a North American example of fully Integrated Streets.  Integrated Streets are those that allow pedestrians, cyclist, non-motorized and motorized vehicles to mix freely in a street absent of regulatory signage.  The pavement can be mixed, but usually consistent between all building faces. Perhaps the closest we have come is Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa, but that street does not allow motorized vehicles. Yonge Street and Front Street have variably been closed also to vehicular traffic. But it appears that there is a fear that mixing modes of transportation will be fatal. Indeed, the examples prove otherwise.IMG_00000022

INTEGRATED-STREET-CORNERIntegrated streets are limited to those that will experience volumes of pedestrians to warrant their use. The principle is that a paved street without lines and signs will allow all modes of transportation to work amongst one another.  Therefore, drivers are made more aware of their surroundings because of increased and sometimes random activities of pedestrian and cycling activities. An example in Switzerland found that traffic speeds lowered to about 10kph.

The presentation attached was posed to a select (and older generation) of residents in Kleinburg Ontario.  This village would be an excellent test of the benefits of Integrated Streets.  Already there are unique traffic calming mechanisms, not mandated by the municipality.  You see, Kleinburg is a wedding town.  Brides and Grooms, at the bidings of their photographers, will stop traffic and pose in the middle of the street.  This same principle of pedestrian controlled speeds of vehicular traffic is basic to Integrated Streets. And Kleinburg closes the street down for their Bindertwine Festival for one day in September.

The questions that resulted?

Q: What about deliveries to businesses? A: Deliveries should be scheduled for the early morning hours, but can be performed any time.

Q: Where do we park? A: Find a safe nook for the car. There would be no fewer places for vehicles but the delineation of spaces is undefined.

Q: How safe is this?  A: Traffic is travelling at the speed of a long driveway.  Do you feel safe in the driveway?

Q: Since there will be fewer cars traveling through, how will coffee shops survive? A: Pass-through traffic is not stopping to enter coffee shops.  The village centre will be a unique streetscape, integrating all of the commercial properties and the existing patrons will not have to compete with the flow through traffic.