school safety zones

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!

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.

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!