Temporary concrete curbs for roads to slow speeders in select Calgary neighbourhoods

The City of Calgary is rolling out a new program to get drivers to slow down in certain neighbourhoods and hopefully reduce the number of crashes.

New curbs are 10 times cheaper than permanent road installations, says city engineer

The city's new pilot program will install these temporary concrete blocks to slow traffic in known problem areas. (City of Calgary)

The City of Calgary is rolling out a new program to get drivers to slow down in certain neighbourhoods, and hopefully reduce the number of crashes.

Rather than permanently narrow roads, the city plans to create temporary curb extensions, road medians and small roundabouts using movable, oval-shaped bright yellow concrete units.

This pilot program will allow the city to calm traffic in areas where previously there was no budget for it, said Tony Churchill, a senior traffic safety engineer with the city. 

"We can put something out there that has the same functionality, without all the added costs," he said.

Permanent installations can cost up to 10 times more because they often force city workers to cut out asphalt, change drainage patterns, install catch basins and storm water connections and can affect underground utilities, he explained. 

The curbs have been designed to withstand snow, ice, and salt, and weigh more than 770 kilograms.

Less of an eyesore, says city

Churchill says they are less of an eyesore, require less maintenance, and pose no rollover threat to cars upon impact.

Curbs are already visible on Child Avenue N.E. in Bridgeland, with plans to install more in known problem areas.

Currently, the city will only use them in areas with a 50 km/h speed limit. 

Depending on how they hold up through the winter season, the city may extend the pilot program to other communities, Churchill said.

"The great thing about these curbs is we can just move them to another location where we have concerns from citizens through our traffic calming program."

With files from Jenny Howe