This information is to help you construct your Single-Family Residential Driveway and help you determine:
- Best location on your property for an access;
- What you need to look for in developing a safe access;
- Construction standards for a driveway.
The guidelines outlined in this information package apply ONLY to Single-Family Residential Driveways. Different guidelines apply to commercial, industrial, or multi-family developments.
There are a few things that you must be aware of before constructing your driveway.
You will need to decide where to construct your driveway. The access to the public street is the portion of your driveway between your private property and the travelled portion of the road. Before approval is granted to construct your driveway access by the Works Commissioner, you will need to consider a few safety issues to ensure it will work well and not create a safety hazard for other motorists.
There are five main issues to consider when planning for a safe driveway access.
Remember these are for your safety and the safety of other road users.
A residence can have no more than two (2) driveways for each 30 m of frontage and no more than three (3) driveways for frontages more than 30 m.
On corner lots, a driveway access on the front of the lot must be separated from the intersecting street by at least 15 m.
First, you should consider where you are going to position your home and how your driveway will fit into the overall layout. Think about all the seasons. What will it be like in the winter months? Will the location serve as an efficient access to your home?
It is a requirement to provide parking for at least one vehicle per dwelling unit on your property. Driveway access must be located in front of your own property.
Finding the best location along the frontage of your property is very important, remembering that it will provide access to your property for the future.
Grade is the change in elevation of land. When you develop a driveway access, the grade of your driveway should be fairly level for at least the length of your car with a bit of extra space for larger vehicles. This is important during icy conditions. You don’t want to slide onto the road when you try to stop.
If your property is higher than the road, you are required to create a small swale or depression to direct surface water from your driveway to the ditch. This will help prevent water from running onto the road and creating black ice when temperatures drop. A combination of a slight grade across the surface of the driveway and the swale or depression to the sides of the driveway will also help keep access debris off the public street as a result of heavy rains. Remember, it is the responsibility of the access owner to clean debris from their driveway off the road.
3. Sight Distance
Imagine sitting in your car and you are about to enter the road. You look up and down the road before proceeding. The point where you observe the road is the sight distance. This is important because you need to see approaching traffic and they need to see you.
Required sight distances are dependent upon posted speed limits. Posted speed limits are the white regulatory signs and not the yellow curve advisory signs. If there are no posted speed signs on your street, the Motor Vehicle Act applies a standard 50 km/hr speed limit. Speeds differing from this common standard are set out in the Town Traffic By-Law and are posted on the street to be enforceable. Below is a table showing required sight distances for different posted road speed limits:
Posted speed of road – km/hr, Required sight distance – meters
At locations where sight distance is poor, you may need to clear some of the vegetation to help you achieve the required sight line distance. Remember the vegetation may grow back and you will need to clear it from time to time. It is the responsibility of the access owner to receive permission from the Town to clear vegetation on the right-of-way, other than what is needed for the primary access construction.
Drainage is the water that runs from adjacent properties, accesses, and the road into the ditch at the side of the road.
Before you construct your driveway access, you need to determine if there is a defined ditch line along your property. If there is an existing ditch, you will need a culvert. Remember that regular road ditch maintenance done by the Works Department may result in an improved or deeper ditch. We require that you provide a minimum 450-mm (18-inch) diameter concrete culvert pipe. In areas of high rain runoff, a larger diameter pipe may be required. The culvert should be longer than the width of your driveway. The standard residential driveway is 6.0 metres (20 feet). The culvert length should be a minimum of 7.3 metres (24 feet) to allow for the driveway fill on either side of the driveway. Permission from the Works Commissioner is required prior to approval of placing culvert pipes on the municipal right-of-way.
Now you know where to locate a safe driveway by addressing sight distance and drainage. Here are the standards for constructing your driveway:
- When the property is higher than the road, the grade should not be greater than 2% (0.2 metre) for the first 10 metres (30 feet) and there should be a slight swale at the ditch line.
- Driveways are six metres (20 feet) in width at the junction with the road.
- Culverts must be concrete culvert pipes with a minimum size of 450 mm (18 inches) by 7.3 metres (24 feet) in length.
- The culvert should be placed slightly below the invert or lowest point in the ditch. Consider the implications of ditch maintenance and cleaning by the Works Department.
- The culvert should be covered with granular material to a depth equal to half the diameter of the culvert. For example, if the culvert is 450 mm (18 inches) in diameter, the depth of the cover must be a minimum of 225 mm (9 inches). This amount of cover is necessary to protect the culvert from movement and collapse.
- Joints in culvert sections should be wrapped with filter fabric to prevent infiltration of sediment.
- Sight distance as per Table 3.1 for the particular posted speed of the road you are accessing.
- Good gravels are to be used in the construction of the driveway as per the attached Culvert Specifications/Driveway Cross-Section.
- When access/driveway is paved, use a minimum of 50 mm (2 inches) of asphalt.
Building a driveway on steep slopes may cause water-related issues such as sheet ice or erosion, which could affect the use of the public right-of-way.
If the access is located in an unsafe location with inadequate sight lines; the access construction is resulting in drainage or debris running onto the road; or the access is interfering with roadway and ditch drainage, you may be required to relocate and/or fix your access, or the Town may relocate and/or fix your access and charge you for the costs of repairs to the public right-of-way.