For many families in our community, the City’s Zoning Bylaw Review related to residential parking and driveway widths is a very important file.
Lost in the headlines of the Budget (it seems) over the past few weeks, is the City’s announced Workshops and Open Houses related to this city wide review.
For those following this file closely, I wanted to draw your attention to two specific workshops coming up next week.
These are very important meetings for residents to attend to voice your opinions as staff have recommended the restoration of the existing enforcement provisions of the Zoning Bylaw (I.e. the enforcement provisions we worked hard to pause earlier this year). This would mean a return to the previous system of enforcement. And for many, a return to an unworkable system. Please consider attending.
If you cannot attend in person, the City has also established a website for resident feedback at HaveYourSay.Guelph.ca.
On June 10, 2019, Council voted in favour of continuing the city-wide suspension of enforcement for some driveway width infractions on specific types of properties (providing that specific criteria is met).
The criteria set out is as follows:
That any driveway (residential) is no wider than five (5) metres;
That there is no negative impact on lot drainage;
That no hard surface shall be located closer than the 1.5 metres setback from a municipally owned or boundary tree and not incur loss or damage to the tree;
That the remaining front yard, excepting the driveway (residential) shall be landscaped and no parking is occurring within this landscaped open space;
That the boulevard portion of the driveway (residential) does not exceed 3.5 metres, and
That City-owned water shut-off valves shall not be located within any portion of the driveway that exceeds the Zoning Bylaw sections as listed above.
As a result, staff will be following up with open complaint files relating to driveways of semi-detached and on-street townhouses to confirm that the specific criteria set is met or that the property is now in compliance with the Zoning By-law.
In order to ensure customer service levels are maintained, staff will be staggering follow up correspondence and inspections by street over the coming weeks. Below is the process that will be followed by staff:
No more than 2 weeks before the follow up inspection, the property owner will be mailed correspondence outlining Council’s decision (including the criteria), and the process that will follow (inspection, opportunity to comply with the Zoning By-law or, if possible, the criteria set out to suspend enforcement).
After the inspection, follow up mail correspondence will be sent, advising the owner the following (whichever is applicable):
• that the property now complies with the Zoning By-law;
• the Zoning By-law requirements to comply; and
• if the property has the ability to meet the criteria set out by Council for suspension of enforcement and what the property owner can do to meet that criteria.
If compliance with the Zoning By-law or criteria set out by Council is required, a timeline of 90 days will be given. After 90 days, an Inspector will re-attend the property to confirm whether or not compliance with the Zoning By-law or the criteria set out by Council for suspension has been achieved. If compliance with the Zoning By-law or the suspension criteria has been achieved, follow up mail correspondence will be sent, advising the owner of the following (whichever is applicable):
• that they now comply with the Zoning By-law;
• that they meet the criteria set out by Council for suspension of enforcement and an explanation of what that means (and doesn’t mean). Essentially that they do not comply with the Zoning By-law, but that enforcement has been suspended.
If compliance with the Zoning By-law or the criteria set out by Council for suspension has been NOT been achieved, legal action may commence.
On Monday, June 10th council will decide whether or not to continue pausing enforcement (with conditions) of the Driveway Width Zoning Bylaw for semi-detached & townhomes in Guelph; all while the City completes a comprehensive review of the Bylaw over the next two years.
In advance of this meeting, I took the time this week to visit with friends Virginia & Paul Miller on Schroder Cres to discuss how their neighbourhood street has responded to the pause in enforcement since September 2018.
Below is an overview of the report and recommendations from staff. If you would like to commment (or delegate) on this issue to council please submit your comments to email@example.com.
Background Council received Report IDE-2018-129 on September 10, 2018 in response to a Motion that proposed the temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations relating to driveway widths to allow individual neighbourhoods to request a temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations which relate to driveway widths of semi-detached and on-street townhouses. The temporary suspension would take place while the City undertakes a comprehensive review of Zoning By-law (1995)-14864 (herein referred to as “the ZBL”). That report provided a problem statement; background and rationale for the current regulations; an assessment of the risks/benefits of the proposed Motion; an identification of alternatives, including an assessment of associated risks/benefits; other information requested by Council; and a staff recommendation. A Motion (see ATT-1) relating to an alternative to the staff recommendation was approved at the September 10, 2018 Council meeting. This motion directed staff to develop a process to allow individual neighbourhoods to request a temporary suspension of enforcement of specific zoning regulations which relate to driveway widths of semi-detached and on-street townhouses, while the City undertakes a comprehensive review of the ZBL. The draft framework is being presented in order to receive by Council and public feedback. Once all feedback is reviewed, staff will bring forward the final recommended procedure early in the third quarter for Council consideration.
Procedure To help create a level of consistency for residents and to utilize an existing administrative model, the procedure is survey based and modelled after “Traffic Services On-street Parking Reviews – Convenience Request Policy”. The Procedure to Request Temporary Suspension of Enforcement of Driveway Regulations (herein referred to as procedure) is being designed to implement a traceable, consistent process to allow affected neighbourhoods to request and potentially receive a temporary suspension of enforcement. The September 10, 2018 Motion (See ATT-1) directed staff to develop a procedure that would only apply to the following sections of By-law (1995)-14864 (herein referred to eligible sections): • 220.127.116.11.3 A Driveway (Residential) in an R.2 Zone shall have a maximum driveway width of 3.5 metres;
• 18.104.22.168.4 Despite Section 22.214.171.124.3, a surfaced walk within 1.5 metres of the nearest foundation wall is permitted providing that it is not Used for parking; • 126.96.36.199.5 The Driveway (Residential) width in an R.3B Zone shall not exceed the Garage width of the unit, as measured from the outside walls of the Garage or no more than 50% of the Front Yard, whichever is less, to a minimum of 3 metres wide. The Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space;
• The first sentence of Table 5.2.2, Row 15 (The Front Yard of any Lot, excepting the Driveway (Residential), shall be landscaped and no parking shall be permitted within this Landscaped Open Space. Despite the definition of the Landscaped Open Space, for Buildings that do not have a shared Driveway (Residential) access, a minimum area of 0.6 metres between the driveway and nearest Lot Line must be maintained as landscaped space in the form of grass, flowers, trees, shrubbery, natural vegetation and indigenous species and may include a surfaced walk in accordance with Section 188.8.131.52.4.); and • 184.108.40.206 Maximum Driveway (Residential) Width of R.3B Zone On-Street Townhouses shall comply with 220.127.116.11.5.
Eligibility The approved Motion (see ATT-1) offered guidance to staff on the performance standards of which types of properties would be eligible for a temporary suspension. Temporary suspension of enforcement would only apply to properties with a semi-detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that comply with the ZBL or are non-complying but can meet the following performance standards and are not currently in legal action: • The Driveway (Residential) is no wider than 5 metres; • The Driveway (Residential) does not have a negative impact on lot drainage; • No hard surface is located closer than a 1.5m setback from a municipally owned or boundary tree and there is no loss or damage to the tree; • The remaining Front Yard, excepting the Driveway (Residential) is landscaped and no parking is occurring within that landscaped Open Space; • The boulevard portion of the Driveway (Residential) does not exceed 3.5 meters; and • The City-owned water shut off valve(s) is not located within any portion of the driveway that exceeds the ZBL sections as listed above.
An owner of a semi-detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that can meet the above performance standards may apply in writing on behalf of the “neighbourhood” (see later discussion on survey area) to request a temporary suspension of enforcement. In addition, a standard form will be made available online and will also be sent to eligible properties with an open enforcement file (providing that legal action has not commenced).
Review by City Staff Upon receipt of a request, staff will review the request to ensure that the eligibility criteria can be met and that a previous survey request had not been already reviewed in relation to a prior survey. A survey request will only be considered once in relation to a survey area. If the eligibility criteria can be met and a previous survey had not been previously completed, a survey will be sent by staff to the property owner(s) of the survey area, and the Ward Councillors will be notified.
Survey Staff are proposing the use of a typical mail out survey to the affected area. The mail out would include a letter explaining the survey and a form that could be filled, signed and returned to City Hall and would be sent to the registered owner of the property (as per MPAC records). These mail outs would also include information on how to complete an online version of the survey (similar to those used for on-street parking reviews). In order to provide an opportunity to respond, owners of the affected area will be provided with fifteen business days (3 weeks) from the time of the mail out to complete and return survey. One response per property will be accepted. Ward Councillors will be notified at the time a survey mail out is conducted.
Results Once the survey ends, Staff will advise the requestor of the survey, the affected residents, and Ward Councillors of the survey results. In order for a temporary suspension to occur, more than 50% of the surveyed area will be required to respond in favour of a temporary suspension. If more than 50% of the property owners respond in favour of a temporary suspension, the temporary suspension will automatically come into effect. The temporary suspension of enforcement would only apply to the eligible sections and only to surveyed properties with a semi- detached dwelling or on-street townhouse that meet the minimum performance standards. Given the transparency of the procedure and that the decision will be based on majority rule, there will be no appeal process or opportunity to conduct a second survey. Additionally, the temporary suspension of enforcement would only be in place until such time as the new ZBL has been passed and is in full force and effect, at which time owners of affected properties will be notified that the suspension is over.
Conclusion The Request for Temporary Suspension of Driveway Enforcement Procedure meets the intent of the Motion by allowing a transparent and consistent process for affected residents to apply for, and potentially receive, a temporary suspension of enforcement until a new ZBL has been passed and is in full force and effect.
On Friday Jan 25th, City staff released a supplemental memo specific to council’s deliberations on Red Light Cameras (RLC). This memo (see below) provides answers to many of council’s questions posed during the January Committee of the Whole meeting.
This is excellent support from our traffic professionals and reiterates staff’s earlier position that the existing data on the effectiveness of RLC’s is mixed (at best) and in many cases positive reports cannot be substantiated. Further, it’s important to note that with RLC’s the driver of the vehicle is not necessarily the one receiving the ticket. Rather, the registered vehicle owner is. Often times resulting in unintended consequences for car owners who allow others to drive their car.
Based on these reasons, I believe this file is best left in staff’s hands until a time when the data and technology warrants it. Otherwise, as seen below, council runs the risk of reprioritizing staff’s work plan away from traffic and collision mitigation measures that are actually proven to be working.
Council votes on this file Monday, Jan 28th.
DEPARTMENT SUBJECT January 24, 2019 Mayor & Council Kealy Dedman, General Manager/City Engineer IDE, Engineering and Transportation Services Response to Questions Regarding Red Light Camera Program Report from Committee of the Whole meeting January 14, 2019
The Red Light Camera Program Review report was put before Committee of the Whole on Monday, January 14, 2019 as report IDE-2019-13. The report provided information on the process and potential for the City of Guelph to implement a Red Light Camera program. This memo responds to questions from members of IDE Committee of the Whole and includes an alternative recommendation for Council consideration to provide clarity to Staff.
1) The City of Toronto and the Region of Waterloo cite a 60% reduction in turning movement collisions caused by disobeying the traffic control. Does the City of Guelph have statistics for turning movement collisions at traffic signals, where the traffic signal has been disobeyed (i.e. a red light running violation)?
There were 1,358 turning movement collisions in the City over the five-year period between 2013-2017. Of these 1,358 collisions a total of 53 (4%) were caused by a driver disobeying the traffic control. The majority of turning movement collisions occur at midblock locations, where a driver failed to yield right-of-way.
2) Please provide further information on the ‘halo effect’, which has been mentioned by other municipalities who operate red light cameras systems.
The City of London is still in the process of collecting data for a future Council report and therefore has no comments at this time on the ‘halo effect’. The City of Hamilton is noticing a Citywide decrease in collisions related to a number of traffic safety measures, but no specific numbers are statistics are available at this time.
3) Other municipalities, such as the City of Toronto, cite a reduction in the total amount of serious injuries that were a result of a collision. Can staff further breakdown the collision analysis in terms of fatal collisions, serious injury, injury and property damage only (PDO), where a traffic signal has been disobeyed?
At this time, staff are unable to complete a collision analysis with this level of detail.
4) The City of London talks about an initial increase in rear end collisions, which you’ve identified, but after a while that number started to reduce because of drivers becoming accustom to seeing the red light cameras and being much more cautious going into intersections. Are staff able to get statistics on this from the City of London or anywhere else to verify?
Staff was not able to find any concrete information or statistics through either independent search or directly from other municipalities to verify this statement.
5) Although there are statistics on the potential benefits and drawbacks of a red light camera system in the report, there are no statistics on the programs and initiatives that staff are currently working on or would like to implement. Do we have these statistics from our programs here in Guelph or is staff able to get these from other municipalities?
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) provided the following statistics regarding right angle collision mitigation measures: – 48% reduction with installation of larger signal heads (all 30cm lenses). This practice was started in the City of Guelph in 2012. – 42% reduction with installation of additional signal head (often on the far left of intersections). This practice was also started in the City of Guelph in 2012. – 25-38% reduction with the coordination of signals. (Staff are updating the signal coordination plans for Gordon Street, Edinburgh Road and Woodlawn Road as part of the 2019 Workplan).
6) Is there a possibility to purchase one red light camera, but sign multiple intersections, without a red light camera, warning of ‘Red Light Camera’s May be Used’?
No, it was decided by the RLC working group that the program is to be transparent. In fact, all the participating municipalities actually highlight the RLC locations on their website.In light of the limited potential of any deterrent effect, as well as the potential negative impact on the integrity of the city’s ‘real’ red light camera program, staff do not recommend the installation of ‘mock’ red-light camera sites.
7) The report shows a tremendous emphasis on damage to property, but the threat to humans or animals is not as significant. Could staff please comment on this and provide the potential benefits for both pedestrians and cyclists on the installation of a red light camera system.
Statistics indicate a Red Light Camera program has proven to reduce right angle collisions by 25%. This includes right angle collisions with pedestrians and cyclists at signalized locations.
8) Could you please provide further data analysis on the right angle versus rear end collisions, because it is my understanding that we are being asked to weigh each.
While the majority of collisions occurring in the City of Guelph are rear end (3,060 over the past 5 years), a right angle collision (1,215 over the past 5 years) is considered to be more severe.
9) It is understood that one of the drawbacks of a red light camera system is an increase in rear end collisions. Through Councilor Downer, it was stated that over time those rear end collisions tend to drop off as people drive more cautiously and slowly through intersections. Could you please corroborate this information?
Staff was not able to find any concrete information or statistics, through independent search or from other municipalities, to verify this statement.
10) The math in the financials part of the report is wrong; staff need to come back to Council with correct number on cost and revenue. The way it is currently displayed in the report, the program is not presented as being revenue neutral.
The numbers in the report are correct. For a RLC program to be fully funded through the fine revenue collected for RLC violations, an average of approximately 0.56 violations per camera per day (assuming four locations total) would be required. Since the number of red light violations is difficult to predict, especi ally in the early years of operation, the program needs to be viewed as a safety initiative as revenues are not a certainty. Based on four red light cameras being installed, the minimum cost to pay for the system would be an annual operating cost of $213,000 (based on an approximate of $52,000 per camera), plus communication costs.
With a maximum of $260 (from the $325 ticket, $60 is a victim surcharge retained by the Province and $5 is assigned for court costs) being returned to the municipality (an agreement must be reach with the Courts department first), all operating costs from the program could be funded with an average of 0.56 violations per day, if the maximum fine was returned to the City. Other municipalities have indicated in some cases the fine is reduced.
11) Please look at the City of Hamilton’s model that has all extra revenue pooled into a traffic safety fund for road safety initiatives.
The City of Hamilton has an agreement with the local court system that the ticket revenue ($260 from each offence) is returned to the municipality and placed into a set account/fund. Should the City of Guelph approve the Red Light Camera program, staff will report back with further information on this process.
12) Could you please explain the difference, and costs, in either entering the agreement with the other municipalities or going out to find our own vendor and running the program without entering the mentioned agreements?
Exact costs on ‘sole sourcing’ the red light camera are not available at this time.
Should the City of Guelph wish to proceed with the red light camera program without entering into the agreement shared with the other eight municipalities, the following items would need to be considered. – The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) would need to approve Guelph to run a red light camera program independently. – Significant increase in staff time to operate the program independently, as opposed to being part of a large group of municipalities
Based on the above and in discussion with other municipalities, it is recommended that the City of Guelph join the other participating municipalities in contracting for a red light camera system.
13) Should Council approve the red light camera program for the City of Guelph, what will be lost in both staffs Workplan and the budget, to ensure the programs implementation?
Much of the Traffic Division staff Workplan involves working on time sensitive projects, such as development related traffic reviews, traffic control plans and construction reviews, assisting the Adult School Crossing Guard program and inspections of ongoing capital programs. It is anticipated that staff’s ability to complete service request reviews (i.e. neighbourhood speeding, on-street parking concerns etc.) would be impacted the most with turnaround time be extended from approximately 4-6 weeks to 8-10 weeks.
Kealy Dedman, P.Eng. MPA General Manager/City Engineer Engineering and Transportation Services Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Location: City Hall, 1 Carden Street T 519.822.1260 x 2248 F 519.822.6194 E firstname.lastname@example.org C Scott Stewart, DCAO, IDE Tara Baker, GM/City Treasurer, Finance Jeff DeRuyter, Chief of Police, City of Guelph