In 2015, as the Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, I introduced Toronto's Road Safety Plan – a comprehensive, city-wide strategy to develop and deliver international road safety programs.
The plan takes a data-based, strategic approach and includes more than 50 countermeasures across six emphasis areas – pedestrians, school children, older adults, cyclists, motorcyclists and aggressive driving and distraction.
Vision Zero was adopted unanimously by City Council in July 2016 as a five year plan, spanning from 2017-2021. Since its approval, I've been pushing to be as aggressive as possible in rolling out the targeted safety measures. We accelerated the program in 2016, 2017 and continue to do so in 2018.
At the May City Council, I moved a motion to lift the moratorium on the creation of new Community Safety Zones. Approximately 286 schools will be fitted with Community Safety Zones by the end of 2018. This is a critical step forward in the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, to help reduce aggressive driving and speeding in areas within the City that have higher concentrations of school children.
I'm pleased to report that Ward 25 will now have access to its very own mobile Watch Your Speed (WYSP) driver feedback signs! The signs will be installed on temporary basis at the request of local residents. The speed display signs contain a radar device with an LED display that reminds drivers to obey the posted speed limit. You can request a WYSP sign to be installed in your local neighbourhood through the online request portal.
Pedestrian Safety Corridors
As part of an ongoing program to increase pedestrian walk times city-wide, walk times were increased at numerous locations across the City. This initiative gives pedestrians more time to cross streets to better accommodate older residents and pedestrians with special needs.
Similar to the leading pedestrian signals installed at Lawrence Avenue and Mount Pleasant in Ward 25, we are doubling the number of leading pedestrian signals intersections being activated this year from 40 to 80 in 2018. Leading pedestrian signals allow pedestrians an advanced walk signal at the start of each traffic signal change so they can enter the crosswalk earlier. Leading pedestrian intervals can reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions by 60% at treated intersections.
We've also made changes to pedestrian signals, making them more accessible by the relocation and/or addition of pedestrian pushbutton poles, the addition of audible pedestrian pushbuttons, and the addition of depressed curbs and tactile plates at the pedestrian crossings
Senior Safety Zones
Senior Safety Zones were created to curb aggressive driving in neighborhoods where there has been a history of fatal and serious injury collisions affecting older residents. By the end of this year we will have installed 74 Senior Safety Zones with designated Senior Safety Zone signs, “Watch Your Speed” driver signs, increased pedestrian walk times, and enhanced pavement markings.
School Safety Zones
On the first day back-to-school in 2017, I was pleased to launch Vision Zero's School Safety Zones. By the end of 2018, we will have 128 School Safety Zones installed.
School Safety Zones feature lower speed limits, improved street lighting, leading pedestrian intervals, mid-block crossings, increased enforcement, improved pavement makings, flashing signage, and "Watch Your Speed" driver feedback signs.. The “Watch Your Speed” signs have reduced the number of vehicles travelling over the speed limit by up to 34% in school zones.
As the Chair of Public Works, I successfully passed a motion directing City staff to accelerate the implementation of all road safety measures to prioritize the safety of the City's most vulnerable road users.
We are focused on doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable road users - pedestrians, school children, older adults and cyclists. More must be done and I am focused on getting it done.