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Traffic Control

A well-managed and coordinated traffic control system reduces fuel use, travel time, traffic congestion, accidents and pollution. This page contains information on Barrie’s traffic control measures.

By applying traffic control measures, Traffic Services staff contribute to the safe movement of pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and motorists throughout Barrie.

Speed Limits

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA) sets a default municipal speed limit of 50 km/h on roadways within cities, towns, villages or built-up areas. The HTA grants the City authority to set speed limits; under this legislation, set speed limits range from 40–80 km/h in 10 km/h intervals.

City policy mandates a 40 km/h speed limit in front of elementary schools and for roadways whose geometric design cannot support a 50 km/h or higher limit. On major roads where elementary schools are present, a "40 km/h when flashing" speed limit may be considered. Speed limits on major roads are influenced by many factors, including:

• Roadway design• Collision history
• Roadway classification• Pedestrian activity
• Vehicle operating speeds• Driveway spacing
• Adjacent development• Location of signalized intersections

Traffic Calming

The objective of traffic calming—the installation of physical measures to alter negative motorist driving behavior—is to achieve uniform driving patterns at reduced speeds on roads where lower speeds enhance safety and livability in neighbourhoods. Traffic-calmed streets are intended to improve residents’ quality of life and increase safety for active transportation users.

Effective traffic calming measures include radar speed advisory boards, road diets, temporary speed cushions, bollard islands, and bollard chicanes. Please refer to the  Traffic Calming Policy to learn about the City’s overall approach to traffic calming.

In 2018 staff implemented alternative temporary traffic calming measures throughout Barrie by installing collapsible bollards to create temporary median islands. 

In July 2019, the City implemented a pilot project: a metal cutout of a police officer with a traffic radar gun was placed at the side of the road on select streets in the hopes of getting the attention of drivers to slow down. The pilot was an innovative approach that expanded on the City's traffic calming measures and supports Council's strategic priority of improving the ability to get around.

Traffic Calming FAQs
On what streets are speed cushions located in 2020?
How can I get a speed cushion installed on my block?

Please email your councillor to express interest (see Council contact information).

In July 2020, the City launched an interactive tool for residents to suggest locations in Barrie where they would like to see a speed bump. Residents used this application to submit a location, or “like” a location already submitted, for the City to consider putting a speed bump in 2021. The City collected submissions until November 13, 2020. The submissions received from the public were shared with cembers of Council in January 2021 to help councillors decide where speed bumps should be placed in each ward in 2021.

Don’t stop signs do the same thing?
A stop sign is not a speed control device; stop signs allocate right-of-way travel at intersections. When used for speed control drivers may generally disobey the sign and do not stop, which is extremely dangerous.
Do motor vehicles tend to use the center of the road when speed cushions are installed?
If speed cushions are installed properly, passenger vehicles will not be able to avoid them.
How do speed cushions impact emergency vehicles?
When speed cushions are placed properly, cars cannot straddle them but emergency vehicles with wider custom chassis can.

Traffic Signals & Signs

Traffic signals and signs direct the Right-Of-Way (ROW) for motorists and pedestrians by guiding and regulating traffic flow. City crews maintain existing signals and signs and install new ones when approved. By using specific time-of-day signal timing plans, staff optimize traffic flow during times of heavy traffic. Many factors are considered when coordinating signs and signals, including:

• Distance between signalized intersections• Traffic volume
• Pedestrian traffic• Speed limit
• On-street parking• Left turning traffic
• Bus stops• Collision history

Stop signs are designed to regulate vehicular and pedestrian ROW at intersections. Ontario-wide criteria is used when evaluating the need for stop sign installation, including: traffic volumes, collision history, intersection sightline visibility, and road geometry.

Traffic Signals & Signs FAQs
Who should I contact to report issues with traffic signals or signs?

Please contact Service Barrie at 705-726-4242 or with the following information:

  • Nearest street address, intersection or number marked on the pole of the signal affected.
  • Time and day of issue.
  • Description of the issue:
    • Signal out/on flash
    • Signals cycling on and off
    • Signals are not changing/stuck
    • Physical damage
    • Wires down or exposed
    • Signals are damaged, knocked over or hanging off
    • Roadway lighting is out
    • Roadway lighting
    • Sign is worn out/damaged/missing
Do traffic signals or stop signs control speeding?

Traffic signals are not intended to be used as a speed control device, but rather a guide for drivers and pedestrians traveling through intersections and along roads.

Stops signs are not intended to be used as a speed control device. Extensive stop sign use tends to frustrate motorists which may result in low stopping compliance and increased mid-block vehicle speeds.

How do I request longer walk or green signal timings at a signalized intersection?

Please contact Service Barrie: 705-726-4242 or Revisions to existing signal timings may be considered after a review of the intersection’s operations and it is determined that the intersection’s operation can be improved.

How often is signal timing reviewed?

In addition to responding to the daily changes in traffic, Traffic Services routinely perform a comprehensive review of the timing at each traffic signal. This review considers the increased number of vehicles each year, changes to the roads, new roads, and traffic signals.

How do I request a new traffic signal?

Please contact Service Barrie: 705-726-4242 or All new signal installations are subject to the Province of Ontario’s signal justification process. Several criteria are reviewed when determining if a new signal is justified including:

  • Intersection traffic volumes
  • Delay to cross traffic
  • Collision history
  • Pedestrian volume
  • Pedestrian delay
Why don't pedestrian traffic signals show "walk" with every green light for vehicles?

At a traffic signal, the major roadway will have a green signal display and walking man display forever until a vehicle hits the vehicle detector or the pedestrian pushes the button; at that time, the signal will change. This is to make the intersection more efficient and reduce delays for the majority of traffic, and is a typical practice for the minor roadway at traffic signals.

When a vehicle drives over the detector it sends a signal to the cabinet to change and provide roughly 10 seconds of green time; this time will extend if multiple cars arrive, adding 3 seconds to the timing for every vehicle approaching. When a pedestrian pushes the button, this switches, giving the maximum amount of pedestrian time available.

Forcing the pedestrian to push the button (as outlined on these signs at applicable intersections) guarantees the maximum amount of walking time to begin crossing on a fresh walking man display. If the signal came up automatically for the minor streets, it may be on for 5 seconds already so if the pedestrian begins to cross, he/she will not make it in time.

What do I do if signals are flashing at an intersection?

While signals are in ‘flash’, motorists are expected to treat them as an all-way stop. If this is an isolated incident and you do not see workers present, please contact Service Barrie with the intersection, time of day and description of the issue: 705-726-4242 or

How do I request "no parking" signs be installed on my street?

Contact Service Barrie with your request: 705-726-4242 or Please include as much traffic information as you can, such as the time of day or day of the week when parking is an issue for traffic flow.

Is the timing of traffic signals changed in areas where construction has closed part of the road?

Traffic Services modifies the signal timings where construction will last a long duration. The timings are modified to suit the construction but staff must always must be mindful of “Local Traffic,” pedestrians or other users that are permitted to enter and exit the Closed Construction Area (including the cumbersome and slow-moving construction vehicles). It is often not possible to turn the signal off or leave them green indefinitely.

Traffic Monitoring

Staff monitor all major roadways daily to minimize traffic delays and disruption, using traffic signal software, video, and GPS technology to continuously monitor signals and flow along Barrie's major arterial and collector routes.

Video & Software: Staff monitor 60" screens displaying real-time information on traffic signals at major intersections. The software indicates whether traffic signals are functioning properly; crews are dispatched to repair malfunctioning signals.

Diagnostic Checks: Remotely-performed daily diagnostic checks on traffic signal equipment indicate disruptions in signal pattern (i.e. a fire truck overriding signal timing or a lightning strike), for which crews are dispatched to repair.

GPS: Real-time traffic-flow data, collected by GPS technology in City vehicles, are regularly collected and compared with previous results. Signal timing adjustments are made if necessary.  

Traffic Monitoring FAQs
Why are Mapleview Drive, Bayfield Street and other major roads congested during peak hours?

Traffic signals are timed to move the maximum number of vehicles through an intersection and along a corridor in the safest and most efficient manner. Many factors add to the difficulty of minimizing stop-and-go traffic in all directions: closely spaced signals; intersections where major streets cross; changes in traffic volume; traffic collisions; emergency vehicles; roadwork; and weather.

Please note: BFES vehicles have the ability to change the signal to green or hold the green. This can disrupt timing patterns for up to 10 minutes after a fire vehicle has left the intersection.

Where can I find information regarding traffic volumes?

The City’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide information including Traffic Counts, Road Services and Road Closures (click 'Map Content" on the upper left toolbar of Discover Barrie to change the information displayed).

If you would like more specific information, please contact Service Barrie: 705-726-4242 or

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