Road Safety

Vision Zero 2.0 - An Update to Toronto's Road Safety Plan

In 2016, I introduced Toronto's first-ever comprehensive Vision Zero Road Safety Plan (RSP) as the former Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure. The RSP is a five-year (2017-2021) action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto's streets.

After City Council unanimously adopted the RSP in July 2016, I moved a motion to accelerate the enhancement of pavement markings and the roll-out of Pedestrian Safety Corridors. Throughout 2017 and 2018, I moved multiple motions to expedite the implementation of RSP initiatives such as Automated Speed Enforcement, the "Watch Your Speed" program, and awareness campaigns for school children, older adults, and cyclists. In my tenure as Chair, City Council voted to accelerate the Road Safety program with additional dedicated funding on five occasions.

Last week, City Council voted to adopt Vision Zero 2.0, an update to the RSP. The Vision Zero 2.0 staff report builds on the work we have completed to date and identifies new, accelerated measures to make Toronto's roads safer for all road users. In response to several tragic events on Toronto's roadways this spring, I successfully moved a motion directing staff to conduct a campaign to prevent impaired driving as part of the Vision Zero 2.0 public education program in collaboration with organizations such as MADD Canada and Arrive Alive.

Since 2016, the City has made significant progress rolling-out the countermeasures specified in the RSP. As of December 2018, the City has:

  • Installed Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) at over 80 signalized intersections;

  • Created 50 Pedestrian Safety Corridors;

  • Implemented 100 School Safety Zones; and

  • Constructed over 18.3 kilometres of new sidewalks.

The updated Vision Zero RSP includes several new, targeted initiatives to complement the measures already in place. The major focus actions include: prioritizing speed management, implementing road design improvements, improving mid-block crossings, and educating and engaging the public.

Vision Zero is an international road safety standard that was developed in Sweden more than twenty years ago and has since been adopted by cities around the world including New York City, San Francisco, Paris, and Vancouver.

The RSP supports ongoing city initiatives to address traffic congestion, reduce environmental impacts, and promote community safety, such as TransformTO – Climate Action Strategy, the Resilience Strategy, the Cycling Network 10-Year Plan, and the guideline for Reducing Health Risks from Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) in Toronto.

I will continue working with local residents and stakeholders to implement Vision Zero 2.0 in Ward 15 – Don Valley West. As always, thank you for your continued support and engagement on these important issues.

I have long advocated for the accelerated installation of School Safety Zones. It was a pleasure to join the Principal, Vice Principal, and Chair of the Parent Council on-site while Northlea Public School's Safety Zone was installed last month! I am looking forward to adding this safety measure to other schools across Ward 15.

Update on Automated Speed Enforcement in Toronto

The City of Toronto is currently installing Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) technology in school and community safety zones. Toronto's ASE program will not be fully operational until the Province officially proclaims the Safer Schools Act, 2017 in force. In July, I spearheaded a strategy to proceed with implementing a comprehensive ASE program in Toronto to ensure that we are prepared to operate the system immediately following Provincial approval (expected later this year).

My motion at the July meeting of City Council authorized City staff to enter into agreements with partnering municipalities and the Province, conduct public information and communication campaigns, and work with an identified provider to supply, install, operate, and maintain Toronto's ASE system. City Council also officially requested the Provincial Government to permit the City to collect revenue from ASE and Red Light Camera fines.

As the former Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure, I lifted the decades-long moratorium on the creation of new Community Safety Zones (CSZs) to reduce aggressive driving and speeding in areas with higher concentrations of school children. This was a critical step forward as according to Provincial legislation, ASE can only be implemented in designated CSZs. Last summer, I directed Transportation staff to expand the scope of the program by doubling the number of red-light cameras and ASE to provide more effective traffic enforcement in priority areas.

Excessive speeds have been identified as one of the leading contributing factors to traffic-related injuries. Research from major institutions – including the World Health Organization – shows that slowing down traffic will save lives. Vulnerable road users have a 95% likelihood of death in a collision at 60km/h. At 40km/h the likelihood is reduced to 30%. Speed reductions were identified as the most effective Vision Zero countermeasure, potentially resulting in a 19% reduction in the number of people killed or injured on Toronto's streets.

Photo radar enforcement will encourage drivers to slow down on the streets used by children walking and biking to school. ASE has successfully lowered average vehicular speeds in municipalities throughout North America. For example, New York City reported that traffic fatalities near schools were reduced by more than 50% and speeding by 60%. In Edmonton, severe collisions were reduced by 32% and speed-related collisions by 27%.

After conducting an ASE pilot program in fall 2018, Transportation Services determined that a significant number of vehicles are regularly operating at excessive speeds across Toronto. ASE will help to enforce the posted speed limits and encourage drivers to slow down in school zones.

Once Provincial legislation is enacted, two ASE cameras will be installed in each ward for a total of 50 sites in school and community zones. The sites will be selected using a data-driven approach based on thorough analysis of speed and collision statistics. The City will be working with municipalities across Ontario, including Mississauga, Burlington, Ottawa, Waterloo, Ajax, London, Brampton, and Hamilton to share administrative costs as we continue to roll-out a consistent and comprehensive ASE program in Toronto.

Potholes

Snow, ice, and freeze-thaw cycles can cause serious damage to our roadways.

From January 1 to March 18, Transportation Services has repaired 38,616 potholes. 14,785 were filled between March 5 and March 18.
 
To report potholes, please phone 311, email 311@toronto.ca, or visit www.toronto.ca/311. Please have the closest municipal address on-hand – it helps repair crews work efficiently.

Mobile Watch Your Speed Program

Traffic infiltration and vehicle speeds are issues in many Ward 15 neighbourhoods.
 
As part of the City's Vision Zero Road Safety Program, new mobile Watch Your Speed Program (WYSP) signs have been installed throughout the City on a rotational, per-request basis.
 
The mobile WYSP uses LED driver feedback signs to measure the speeds of oncoming vehicles and display them to passing motorists. These new, solar-powered signs are installed on hydro poles or streetlights and are rotated throughout the ward. WYSP signs typically stay in place for 2-3 week periods.
 
In a 2016 study, staff found that where a mobile WYSP sign was installed, vehicle operating speeds decreased on that street. The City installed 188 WYSP signs in 2018 and this number will increase in 2019.
 
For more information on the Watch Your Speed Program and to request a sign on your street, please visit the City's website.

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Toronto's Road Safety Plan

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.

Moving Forward

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.

Community Safety Zones in School Zones

At the May City Council meeting, I moved a motion to lift the 18 year-old moratorium on the creation of new Community Safety Zones.
 
The Highway Traffic Act permits the designation of a portion of a highway within 150 metres from the entrance or exit from a school as a School Safety Zone. By creating Community Safety Zones, the City of Toronto can further extend safety measures beyond the prescribed 150 metre frontage of schools in School Safety Zones.
 
The creation of new Community Safety Zones will designate the extended frontages of the 754 kindergarten to grade 8 schools within the Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board as Community Safety Zones. I also moved a motion at the most recent Public Works and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that all eligible Public and Catholic French Language School Boards are included in this initiative.
 
Additionally, I requested that the General Manager of Transportation Services report on ways to accelerate the roll out and implementation of Community Safety Zones as quickly as possible.
 
The implementation strategy calls for the consideration of a number of safety improvements in Community Safety Zones, including:

  • New school ahead signs with flashing beacons;
  • "School" pavement stencils;
  • "Watch Your Speed" driver feedback signs;
  • Zebra markings at pedestrian crosswalks;
  • Elevated crosswalks;
  • Painted lane width reductions and curb radius reductions;
  • Flexible in-road warning signs; and
  • Bollards.

Following approval at City Council, roughly 250-300 schools will have designated Community Safety Zones by Q4 of 2018. We must be more aggressive in making Toronto's roads safer for our school-aged children, our most vulnerable road users

School Safety Zones

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At the beginning of this term, I spearheaded the development of Toronto’s first-ever comprehensive and city-wide Road Safety Plan. The City has now embarked on a five year commitment to make real changes to our roads to make them safer for everyone.

On the first day of school, I unveiled the City’s latest measure to improve road safety – our School Safety Zones. By the end of the year, we will have 22 School Safety Zones in place, with another 20 in 2018 and each year after that.

The School Safety Zones feature:

  • New school zone safety signs with flashing beacons
  • School zone pavement markings
  • “Watch Your Speed” driver feedback signs
  • Zebra markings at school crosswalks

Staff are also extending the coverage of enhanced pavement markings up to 250m away from schools in support of active and safe routes to school.

The prioritization of school zones are based on consultation with the Toronto District and Toronto Catholic District School Boards, local Councillors and the police and takes into consideration the number of collisions in the area and the area’s walkability index. The list of schools will be provided to the Toronto Police Services in order to increase enforcement.

As you know, we are now in the Fall season when the days are shorter and it gets darker earlier. Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year when collisions increase. For this reason, since approval of the Toronto’s Road Safety Plan, we’ve also:

  • Accelerated the implementation of the Pedestrian Safety Corridor program. By the end of the year, there will be 46 of these corridors which include a variety of measures to reduce safety risks for pedestrians.
  • Rolled out Senior Safety Zones, which include increased walk times at traffic signals, improved pedestrian markings and better signage.

To stay up to date, check out our website toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO.