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!

Getting Toronto Moving : An Update on Phase 2 of the Congestion Management Plan

Earlier this year, I announced Phase 2 of Toronto’s Congestion Management Plan, and I’m pleased to let you know that the city is taking action this fall to combat gridlock and congestion.

Thanks to Big Data, or vehicular probe data, which I helped bring forward earlier this term, city staff have identified the 10 most congested intersections or “hot spots” across the city.

Transportation staff are currently implementing targeted solutions – from signal retiming to increasing “green time” at traffic lights to capital improvements – in order to improve traffic flow at each of the 10 locations.

You can read about the actions being taken at each intersection as well as the timelines for completion here.

Traffic Jam Hackathon

With Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services, and Myles Currie, Director of the Traffic Management Centre

With Stephen Buckley, General Manager of Transportation Services, and Myles Currie, Director of the Traffic Management Centre

Congestion is an $11 billion-a-year problem in Toronto and it’s my key priority as Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.

Earlier this year, I directed city transportation staff to explore how we can use big data to understand, evaluate and reduce congestion and gridlock.

Big data focuses on using advanced analytics to mine and make use of massive amounts of information from different sources, such as GPS locational data, traffic cameras as well as Bluetooth and wifi information – to name a few.

In October 2015, I helped kick off the city’s first ever Hackathon. Cosponsored by Evergreen CityWorks, the event brought together more than 150 talented individuals from across disciplinary lines and gave them 48 hours to jump start solutions to gridlock using a variety of different data sources.

Click here for more information about the Hackathon and the winning ideas.

Reminder: Winter Snow Clearing and Salting

Many of you have written to me with questions about sidewalk clearing. There are many streets where Transportation Services cannot physically clear the sidewalks: crews cannot plough sidewalks if they’re narrow, have obstructions or on-street parking.

On streets where the city provides sidewalk snow ploughing services, staff generally deploy clearing operations once five centimetres of snow has accumulated in January-February, and eight centimetres from March to April. Depending on the severity of the snowfall, staff sometimes complete two rounds of ploughing and de-icing. In between ploughing and salting operations, staff ask that property owners help out by ensuring the sidewalk in front of their home is safe for pedestrians. 

Icy sidewalks are a safety hazard for all pedestrians; however, they’re particularly dangerous and challenging for our older neighbours and those with accessibility issues. This winter I received calls from parents concerned about their children walking to school, seniors, residents with visual impairments and others that use wheelchairs. In short, please be nice and help to clear your ice!

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns about sidewalk clearing in your neighbourhood.