Road Safety Plan

School Safety Zones

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.

Vision Zero Update

2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

Since 2015, as Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’ve championed the creation of a comprehensive strategy to improve safety on our roads. Last summer, City Council unanimously adopted Toronto’s Road Safety Plan and since then, we’ve been implementing safety improvements on streets and at intersections across the entire city.

In the coming months, we’re focusing on improving safety for seniors and children, our most vulnerable road users.

Since the winter, city crews have been fast-tracking the creation of 12 Seniors Safety Zones across Toronto. These zones involve increasing walk times at traffic signals, enhancing pedestrian markings and improving signage and street lighting.

As we head into summer, our next big push is School Safety Zones, which we’re aiming to have in place for September at a number of schools to coincide with back-to-school and the shorter days of the fall season when there are typically increased rates of collisions.

We’ve also got many more safety initiatives lined up for the remainder of 2017, including:

  • Physical engineering improvements at 16 locations
  • Accessible pedestrian signal installations at 20 additional locations
  • Increased pedestrian walk times at 42 additional locations
  • Road safety audits to be conducted at 14 locations
  • Expansion of the permanent Watch Your Speed signs at 20 additional schools

Last month, I was also pleased to host Toronto’s second annual Vision Zero Summit, which brought together more than 20 stakeholder groups and road safety experts to discuss progress on the Road Safety Plan and our next steps as a city. It’s always a great discussion, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Summit!

To learn more about the safety improvements planned for 2017, check out our website toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO.

Update on Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan

Since 2015, I’ve championed the creation of a comprehensive strategy to improve safety on our roads. Last summer, City Council unanimously adopted Toronto’s Road Safety Plan and since then, we’ve been implementing safety improvements on streets and at intersections across the entire city.

In the coming months, we’re focusing on improving safety for seniors, our most vulnerable road users. In 2016, 86 percent of pedestrian fatalities were aged 55 and older.

With that in mind, city crews have been fast-tracking the creation of 12 Seniors Safety Zones across Toronto. These zones include improvements such as increasing walk times at traffic signals, reducing speed limits and enhancing pedestrian markings, signage and street lighting.

We’ve also got many more safety initiatives lined up, including:

  • Physical engineering improvements at 16 locations
  • Accessible pedestrian signal installations at 20 additional locations
  • Expansion of the permanent Watch Your Speed signs at 20 additional schools

To learn more about what’s planned, check out our brand new website toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO!

Update on the City’s Road Safety Plan

This past July, City Council unanimously approved Toronto’s first-ever comprehensive Road Safety Plan, which I spearheaded as Chair of Public Works. I’m excited to share that we’re making significant progress on putting the plan into action!

By November 1st, all of the 14 Pedestrian Safety Corridors identified in the Road Safety Plan will be completed, and over the next two months at 13 locations across Toronto, city crews are implementing geometric safety improvements to make our streets safer for all who use them.

To give you a sense of the scale of this work, new and improved pavement markings have been completed at 317 intersections since the summer. To cap it all off, last month I was fortunate to attend the Transportation Association of Canada’s conference, where the City of Toronto was awarded the 2016 Road Safety Engineering Award for its Curb Radii Design Guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to improve safety by decreasing the frequency and severity of collisions. By having smaller curb radii, pedestrians spend less time crossing the intersection. In addition, tightened curb radii improve visibility of pedestrians and help ensure drivers slow down at intersections.

This prestigious award recognizes Toronto’s Curb Radii Design Guidelines as the new national standard across Canada – it also showcases our city’s commitment to encouraging innovation in transportation and road safety.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Road Safety Plan this fall!

A Road Safety Plan for Toronto

At the beginning of the last term, one of the first things I did in my new capacity as Chair of Public Works was to call for a comprehensive, city wide road safety plan.

In 2015, we had 65 road fatalities, of which 39 were pedestrians and 4 were cyclists. In addition, over 70 percent of the pedestrians were seniors, our most vulnerable road users. So far in 2016, the numbers have not improved – 20 pedestrians have died on our streets and 80 percent of them have been over the age of 65.

It’s time to take action on road safety, and I’m pleased to share that our first-ever Road Safety Plan (RSP) is complete after over a year of extensive data collection and consultation with key advocacy and community groups.

This data-driven, made-for Toronto plan recommends 40 different programs to address five key pillars:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Seniors
  • School zones
  • Aggressive and Distracted Driving

As part of the plan, we’ll be creating 25 pedestrian safety corridors in areas of the city identified through geospatial and trending analysis as “hot spots” for collisions. This will involve implementing advance green lights for pedestrians, adding or enhancing line markings and implementing turning restrictions at certain times of the day.

City staff will also be conducting 14 safety audits of intersections and corridors with high numbers of collisions to determine which countermeasures would be most effective at that specific location.

From the very beginning, my goal has been to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

Earlier this year, I also put forward a motion directing staff to develop a Seniors Strategy as part of the RSP. Seniors are a growing demographic in our community, and we need a targeted strategy to tactically improve their safety on our streets.

You can read the full staff report on the RSP, along with 10 appendices, here.

Many thanks to Mayor John Tory and Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services, for joining me for the launch of the city’s proposed Road Safety Plan.

Many thanks to Mayor John Tory and Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services, for joining me for the launch of the city’s proposed Road Safety Plan.

A Road Safety Seniors Strategy

All Torontonians should be able to move around our city safely. The data reveals, however, that our older residents are disproportionately vulnerable when it comes to collisions on Toronto’s streets.

Adults over the age of 55 encompass 26 percent of the city’s population, but in 2015 made up 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities.

It’s clear that the population structure of our city is shifting. In the last 40 years, the number of older adults living in Toronto increased by over 200,000, a number that will only grow in the coming years.

With that in mind, I directed staff at the last Public Works & Infrastructure Committee meeting to develop a targeted Seniors Strategy as part of the upcoming Road Safety Strategic Plan. This strategy will build on the city’s existing initiatives related to seniors’ safety and draw from best practices in other jurisdictions.

The goal is to develop a set of targeted measures that will thoughtfully and tactically improve the safety of our older residents as they navigate our city.

Building a Road Safety Seniors Strategy is a prime opportunity for Toronto to demonstrate leadership in attending and adapting to the needs of our aging population.

For more information, click here to read my motion.

My Road Safety Roundtable

It was great to work with local advocacy groups and organizations at my Road Safety Strategic Plan Roundtable on January 25, 2016.

It was great to work with local advocacy groups and organizations at my Road Safety Strategic Plan Roundtable on January 25, 2016.

As Chair of Public Works, I initiated the development of a comprehensive, city-wide Road Safety Strategic Plan (RSSP) nearly a year ago.

Last month, I was pleased to host a roundtable in Council Chambers, which brought together local community and advocacy groups, city and provincial agencies and elected officials to share information and best practices about road safety.

We had an outstanding turnout and response. Representatives from more than 24 organizations across our city sat down at the table and took part in an open, respectful and insightful dialogue.

It’s time for Toronto to take a leadership role in developing a strategic, proactive approach that draws together our existing safety initiatives and identifies specific, data-based countermeasures to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.

A draft of the Road Safety Strategic Plan will be coming to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in spring 2016.

Traffic Calming Options Manual

As Chair of Public Works, I’m committed to making our roads safer for all users –  motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.

That’s why, earlier this year, I moved a motion asking for a comprehensive Road Safety Plan for Toronto to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries on our roads.

Further, at this month’s Public Works and Infrastructure meeting, I requested that an easy-to-use Traffic Calming Options Manual be developed as part of the Road Safety Plan.

The manual will outline all of the different traffic calming options and their impacts, costs and effectiveness. The goal is to make the information about traffic calming alternatives transparent and accessible to everyone – whether you’re a city official, traffic expert or resident.

You can read my motion here.

A draft of the Road Safety Plan will be coming to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in 2016.

Splash Guards on the Bayview Bridge

The new splash guards provide safe passage along the bridge for pedestrians in Ward 25. They’ll create a safer walking route for travel to and from the Crescent School, the Toronto French School, the York University Glendon Campus, and the Granite Club.

Many thanks to Gary Gund, Allan Vice and Bruce and Cee Cee Robertson for helping to make this happen!

Splash guards on the Bayview Bridge.

Splash guards on the Bayview Bridge.

Toronto’s Road Safety Strategic Plan

In October, I met with the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, Polly Trottenberg, to discuss and share information about transportation and transit initiatives. New York is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in designing safe streets.

One of our main topics of conversation was Vision Zero, a strategy initiated in Sweden in 1997 that strives to reduce traffic fatalities. The strategy primarily focuses on analyzing the structural causes of accidents and then working to address these problems. A number of major American cities, including New York, Boston and Los Angeles, have adopted variations of Vision Zero.

Here in Toronto, we’re developing a customized Road Safety Strategic Plan that addresses the needs of diverse road users.

You can read my motion here.

We are reviewing our current policies and guidelines on road safety and conducting an enhanced analysis of collision data. A key part of the plan also involves looking at what other cities are doing and how we can adapt international best practices, including Vision Zero, to create our own Toronto-specific road safety initiative.

I’m kicking off the New Year by chairing a roundtable where we’ll work with key stakeholders to brainstorm and develop specific strategies to significantly improve the safety of our shared streets.

Stay tuned for updates!

Jaye with Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of NYC's Department of Transportation, and Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services.

Jaye with Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of NYC's Department of Transportation, and Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services.

Staying Safe on the Roads

Every fall and winter there is an increase in the number of pedestrian and cyclist collisions on city roads due to reduced daylight hours.

It’s key that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists become more aware of other users as they travel on our streets throughout these seasons.

One of the best ways to ensure safety is to stay focused on what you’re doing – whether you’re driving, cycling or crossing an intersection by foot. Don’t talk or text on your phone. Be aware of your surroundings.

Here are some other tips from the city’s “Stay Alert – Stay Safe” safety education campaign:

Drivers

  • Always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

  • Note that pedestrians in dark clothing can be difficult to spot during the fall and winter months.

  • Take extra caution at nighttime and during wet or wintery weather conditions.

Pedestrians

  • Cross streets at traffic signals, intersections and crosswalks.

  • Always look carefully before crossing and make sure all vehicles are stopped.

  • Wear bright clothing or clothing with reflective materials if possible, especially at night. Drivers often have a difficult time seeing pedestrians in dark clothes.

Cyclists

  • Make sure you have both front and back lights for your bike and turn them on when riding at night, dusk or dawn.

  • Wear clothing and other cycling accessories with reflective materials.

Chair, Public Works & Infrastructure Committee

Touring our new and improved Traffic Operations Centre with the General Manager of Transportation Services Stephen Buckley

Touring our new and improved Traffic Operations Centre with the General Manager of Transportation Services Stephen Buckley

I’m honoured to serve as Chair of the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee, one of the city’s seven Standing Committees.

I asked for a substantive portfolio and Public Works is it

With a budget of more than $2 billion, Public Works oversees four of the city’s key divisions – Transportation Services, Toronto Water, Solid Waste Management and Engineering & Construction Services. It’s responsible for an incredibly diverse array of issues: congestion, gridlock, drinking water, storm sewers, roads, bridges, sidewalks, highways, speed limits, bike lanes, bike safety, waste collection, recycling and street furniture, to name a few!

Traffic, gridlock and congestion were front and centre during the campaign – in Ward 25 and across the city – and, as I told the Toronto Sun, “it’s my number one priority.”

Last week, I sat down with Stephen Buckley, the General Manager of Transportation Services, to discuss what we can do right now to improve congestion and to tour our new and improved Traffic Operations Centre.

Briefings with other key staff and divisional leads are already scheduled – it’s a big job and I can’t wait to get to work!

School Zone Safety Strategy

Many of you have spoken to me about safety in and around our schools.

That’s why I’m pleased to report that I supported a motion at City Council last week to implement a new School Zone Safety Strategy.

The strategy builds on the work city staff are now doing to address safety concerns in school areas, and you can read more about it here.

I often organize neighbourhood meetings to discuss safety and congestion issues in and around Ward 25 schools. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a school-related safety or congestion issue!

A Comprehensive Road Safety Plan for Toronto

In 2014, 51 Torontonians were killed and many more were seriously injured in traffic crashes. As a city, we can and must do better, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, our most vulnerable road users.

Toronto has a number of policies and guidelines that address road safety but we’re missing an overarching framework that focuses squarely on the issue.

That’s why I brought a motion to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee this week requesting a comprehensive road safety plan.

We’re going to build on what’s worked in other jurisdictions and the plan will focus on international best practices from comparable jurisdictions, such as Vision Zero.

The plan will be fact driven and I asked for an enhanced analysis of city-wide traffic collision data. I also asked city staff to strike a Road Safety Advisory Group to engage key partners and stakeholders in the development of the plan, including the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Police Service, the Canadian Automobile Association, Cycle Toronto and Walk Toronto.

Click here for more details.

My motion goes to City Council for final approval in March and a draft plan is expected by the end of 2015.