Left-turn traffic calming, also known as centerline hardening, is a road safety countermeasure intended to reduce the risk of left-turn collisions at signalized intersections. Large intersections can provide an opportunity for drivers to take a wide left turn, which can be completed comfortably at higher operating speeds. This can result in dangerous conditions for pedestrians sharing the intersection.
The intent of left-turn traffic calming is to reduce the turning radius of vehicles by tightening up the path of which a vehicle needs to navigate to make a left turn.
Left-turn traffic calming has been implemented in other jurisdictions, including Toronto and New York City, with promising results for increasing road safety. Pedestrian collisions and intersection collisions have both been identified as emphasis areas within HRM’s Strategic Road Safety Framework.
Left-turn traffic calming was installed as a pilot project at five intersections in the Fall of 2022:
- South Park Street and Spring Garden Road
- Lacewood Drive and Dunbrack Street
- Lacewood Drive and Parkland Drive
- Joseph Howe Drive and Dutch Village Road
- Main Street and Major Street
Temporary rubber speed bumps were installed as an extension of the centerline in a manner to encourage left-turning drivers to make a slower turn by driving around the speed bumps, and to approach the crosswalk at a more perpendicular angle instead of cutting across the intersection diagonally. Larger vehicles such as buses and trucks can track over the speed bumps, as required to navigate the intersection.
The pilot project was removed prior to the winter season to facilitate snow clearing. Future infrastructure to calm left turns will be considered based on the findings from this pilot project.
Tips to Navigate an Intersection with Left-Turn Traffic Calming
Left-turn traffic calming is installed at intersections to encourage a slower left turn, with a tighter turning radius.
- Drivers should approach the left-turn traffic calmed intersection as usual and wait until the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians and there is a gap in oncoming traffic before initiating the left turn.
- When it is safe, proceed with the left turn, driving around the speed bumps installed on the road. Reduce your speed as the turning radius will be tightened. It is expected that larger vehicles such as trucks and buses will likely track over the bumps while completing their left turn.
- As always, you must be attentive to your surroundings, and ensure to leave adequate space for larger vehicles such as trucks, buses, and emergency vehicles to perform a turn.