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How Road Projects are Decided

The City is committed to the convenient, safe and efficient movement of people, goods and services in our transportation system. To achieve this, each year we make improvements for driving, walking, transiting, and biking around the city with various transportation projects.

These projects are typically delivered through the development process or City capital works.

Development Process

When Council approves a development, the developer is required to construct the local and collector roadways fronting their site. These projects are funded and managed by the developer, and the City ensures the work complies with our approved standards and specifications as part of a servicing agreement.

City Capital Works

Major capital construction improvements are funded largely by the Development Cost Charges (DCCs) the City receives for development projects that impact collector or arterial roads.

  • Collector DCCs are used to “upsize” a local road to the collector standard. This is a nominal increase in pavement width to allow for bike lanes and left turn lanes, and is most cost effectively delivered through the development process.
  • Arterial DCCs are pooled together to deliver more cost effectively a comprehensive improvement for the area. The City must prioritize the many demands to expand the arterial network. Minor capital construction improvements and repairs are funded by general revenue, and the Roads & Traffic Levy.

For all projects, the City evaluates criteria that includes existing road volumes, growth rates, ability to deliver improvements for all road users, safety benefits, proximity to schools and transit, and more.

Road Work Before Land Development

The City does not typically finish roads, whether it be with sidewalks or other infrastructure, before development starts. This is because doing so is costly and may involve more disruption to the neighbourhood than when the work is completed during the development process at a later date.

By waiting for the development process to begin, the community will benefit from more efficient and cost-effective road improvements. There are certain times when the City accelerates road projects ahead of development – this typically happens based on its proximity to schools, transit needs, and safety factors.

Road Work After Development

Simetimes, roads are not built until 2-3 years or longer after development. This is because the City must prioritize the many demands to expand the arterial network. The City does this through its Capital Construction program and 10-Year Servicing Plan. When land on an arterial road is developed, the City collects development cost charges, or DCCs.

These funds are pooled together to deliver large and arterial road projects throughout the City such as widening to four lanes or improving busy intersections with turning lanes and traffic signals. Priority is given to roads that are part of the strategic arterial connections in the City's network and where current and projected vehicle volumes exceed the road capacity.

The City then uses criteria that includes existing road volumes, growth rates, ability to deliver improvements for all road users, safety benefits, proximity to schools and transit to determine when the best time for road upgrades are. Depending on what other projects are on the go in the City, this may be a number of years after the development is finished.

See what's currently being built or planned for your neighbourhood on our Transportation Projects page.