Traffic Circles

Traffic circles are engineered traffic calming roadway features at intersections that help create safer, more pleasant neighbourhoods by reducing speeds in residential areas and intersection vehicle accidents. They also offer opportunities for increasing plantings in the urban environment.

When approaching a traffic circle in your vehicle:

  • Always yield to traffic already in the intersection, and to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • As with other uncontrolled intersections, if two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the right hand side has right-of-way.
  • Always drive counterclockwise around the island.

Traffic Circle Gardens

The City chose to include plants in the middle of traffic circles, which is preferable to hard and non-draining surfaces. This choice means the circles both slow vehicles and beautify the area.

For traffic circles, visibility is key. Plants need to be less than 3 feet wide and high, and the central sign needs to be visible. As they're designed for traffic to slow down and yield to the left, they have a tree in the middle to block the straight through view. 

Street Stewards Program

Traffic circle gardeners are volunteers in the neighbourhood who donate their time and their own plants to making their neighbourhood look and feel beautiful.

They face a gardening challenge: the plants are in full sun, exposed to wind, cold, rain, and pollution. There is no water supply. Nothing may grow too tall, and it may be physically risky to weed and prune.

Traffic circle gardeners don't have to pay for the topsoil, mulch, or plants, as these are supplied by the City's horticultural team. Beauty with low maintenance is the ultimate goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sponsor a traffic circle?

Available gardens are identified with a green sign. Look for one in your neighbourhood or call us at 604-983-7334 to see what's available near your home. You'll need to complete the Street Stewards Registration and Waiver.

What will be my responsibilities as a traffic circle gardener?

By sponsoring a traffic circle you agree to work with the City and your community to help the garden grow. Keeping the garden weeded and watered is your main responsibility, though most street gardeners choose to add some of their own plants for additional colour and interest. Gardeners also agree to keep plants within the height guidelines (see Planting, Maintenance, and Safety Guidelines) for safety and visibility reasons.

Be Safe! Gardening in or near the street requires a level of safety awareness not encountered in your home garden. It's important to make yourself visible to traffic at all times. A high visibility vest is provided by the City to all gardeners.

How do I water the plants?

If you don't live within hose-length distance of the traffic circle, watering the plants can be challenging. Some gardeners carry buckets and watering cans from their homes. Others approach a neighbour on the corner and ask to use their hose connection. The neighbours are often very keen to help as the whole neighbourhood benefits from a beautiful traffic circle garden.

Can I grow vegetables in my street garden?

We would prefer that traffic circles are not used for growing vegetables.

Contact Info

Engineering Department
Tel: 604-983-7333

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