road safety

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!

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.

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.

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.

2014 Traffic Signal Synchronizations – Great Results

Cutting congestion and gridlock remains my number one priority as Chair of Public Works.

That’s why I’m pleased to share the results of the city’s 2014 Traffic Signal Coordination Program.

In 2014, the city synchronized 224 traffic signals on 7 major corridors, including Yonge, Leslie and Sheppard.

The results were impressive, including:

  • A 10% decrease in overall vehicle delay;
  • A 4.5% decrease in fuel consumption (equivalent to the CO2 emissions from 693 homes’ electricity use for one year!); and,
  • A 4.6% decrease in emissions.

Overall, the 2014 work resulted in an estimated annual savings of nearly $17 million in reduced congestion-related costs.

Signal synchronisations also offer a great return on investment. The benefit-cost ratio of the 7 major corridors retimed in 2014 was 63 to 1!

Better yet, there’s more in store for 2015. 343 synchronizations on 11 major corridors are scheduled this year, bringing the four year synchronization total to nearly 1,000 since the program began in 2012.

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.