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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Attractive traffic calming

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Last night I came across a rather attractive traffic calmer. It uses bricks instead of the now-traditional speed bump. It creates the same effect that is used on highways to indicate that you’re veering off into the shoulder lane to creating that thud thud thud thud sound. It’s also permeable installation, allowing rain to be absorbed by the soil underneath the road, unlike the asphalt behemoths we commonly see on side streets.

This type of traffic calmer is the only kind I’ve ever seen in Toronto. Since it’s so rare, I’m challenging readers to identify its location (an intersection will suffice). We’ll reveal the location in the early afternoon.

ANSWER: Collier Street, just north of Bloor and east of Yonge and the Davenport/Church extension.



  1. I’m sure it’s a near-back alley aberration within the old City of Toronto: there are high standards for smooth roads within the amanglemated motoropolis just as there are high standards for doing “green” things.
    It was likely a unique pilot project: perhaps motorists vexed and maybe even residents due to noise. Rougher surfaces may have increased the PM10 from tires too.

  2. um, I really don’t think that’s a traffic calmer. there are lots of places in Toronto where the roads were originally paved with brick and then later covered with asphalt. in some locations, the bricks are visible [not sure why]. when they resurfaced parts of Kingston Road east of Fallingbrook, the brick layer was visible. in some places, like in the Beach, the bricks show up for a short section and then it returns to asphalt again.

    you could be right, by why would the city create just one of anything?

  3. That is really great. But are you sure it is intentionally a traffic calmer/speedbump? Sometimes you see old brick paving revealed where the asphalt has disintegrated. And the blacktop in that photo looks pretty old.

  4. attractive isn’t the word I’d use. It looks to me like someone tarmaced over brick which then wore off, like the parts of the city where disused streetcar or railway track pokes through because it was “easier” not to remove it.

  5. Where is this located Matt? It’s the prettiest “rumble-strip” I’ve ever seen. 🙂

  6. The drawback with these things is that the bricks tend to shift, buckle, and leave big gaps.

    They have these all up and down Hurontario St. (Highway 10) in Mississauga at the crosswalks. It seems to be somewhat effective at traffic calming…very loud when you drive over them. However, in some parts bricks are now missing, or sunken in so the bumps get huge. Some motorists swerve around them dangerously. Pretty annoying when I cycle over them too, especially when a motorist happens to be passing at the same time that I’m trying to avoid a nasty bump at the last second.

    Near the Mississauga bus terminal, they have white marks/grooves in the crosswalk asphalt. I like those ones better. Still smooth to cycle over, no problems with buckled pavement so far….and still a good visual and tactile clue to slow down.

  7. “This type of traffic calmer is the only kind I’ve ever seen in Toronto.”

    I’m not sure if you mean this the only brick traffic calmer you’ve seen in Toronto or if brick is the only type. Either way, while I don’t know where that shot is taken, King’s College Road at UofT is entirely paved in that same type of brick with brickwork along St. George street as well.

  8. come to montreal. you will see this all over the place.

    some roads are entirely paved like this.

    is this piece intentional? or a historical vestige?

  9. Sure looks like the remnants of an old brick-paved street poking through. Check the curb, you can still see the red-brick used along it extending further in each direction.

    We have more than a few examples of brick-paved traffic calming areas. There’s the aforementioned King’s College Rd (which works really well to create a beautiful street, as well as one you don’t even care to drive fast on (it’s nice to just bump along with such beautiful scenery, frankly) but there are other more conventional brick calmers on St. George (though they’re raised from the roadbed as well).

  10. I don’t see how this would calm traffic. Doesnt look snow plow friendly either.

  11. I say Scott St or Leader Lane in the St Lawrence ‘hood.

  12. the place: Collier Street, just north of Bloor and east of Yonge (and the Davenport/Church extension).

    Okay, I’m quite sure its a traffic calmer. There were four more placed on this small street. It looks like its meant to keep people off of the street and not to drive fast since its such a narrow street.

    It is clear, seeing the street as a whole, that its not just just fill in, and seen with the other calmers, it is also meant to be decorative.

    Vic made a good pint about shifting, but since this is not much of thru-street its not much of an issue. In allhonesty, a cyclist wouldn’t ride down it since it eventually is a dead-end about 100 meters away.

  13. Shifting isnt caused by traffic, it is caused by freeze thaw cycles (and I don’t mean bikes).

  14. There is a rumble strip off the 401 (I think) that makes the theme from “Jaws” when you drive over it

  15. this may work but if it’s on the residential street, the extra noise car tires would generate would not be particularly pleasant to those who live next to these ‘bumps,’ especially at night

  16. haha, Kevin, I was also thinking about those rumble strips! It’s on the westbound offramp from the 401 to 400