They say there are two seasons in Toronto: winter and construction.
[Photo: a collage of signage used at constructions sites]
Sometimes it feels like every time you turn a corner, you encounter another row of pylons and big orange signs. Construction sites are often inconvenient and frustrating for people driving; they are scary and dangerous for people walking, rolling, and biking.
This isn’t about inconvenience. This is about safety.
Toronto has made historic progress on the expansion of its cycling network over the past three years. We know that a safe, connected network is essential to enable more people to choose to ride a bike. And because of unsafe construction zones, too much of that network is unsafe and uncomfortable for people of all ages and abilities. Even a short trip can feel unsafe or impossible.
You’ve seen the signs:
(Construction zone with blocked sidewalk and bikeway.)
Construction is inevitable in a growing city like Toronto. Without it, new housing could not be built, roads could not be repaired, and transit could not be expanded. But none of this should come at the expense of safety and mobility.
Earlier this summer the chaos on Adelaide Street, one of Toronto’s busiest cycling thoroughfares with over 6,000 people on bikes a day, underscored the need for change. Adelaide was a flashpoint for a growing crisis across the city.
With construction impacting several segments of the Bloor Street bike lanes for at least the next year, we are calling on the city to ensure there is a safe path of travel for all vulnerable road users across the city. Immediate action should include:
- providing advance notice of unexpected conditions
- prioritizing and maintaining cycling facilities and sidewalks
- utilizing consistent, up-to-date signage that emphasizes the safety of all road users
- planning and communicating safe detours when necessary
- eliminating any resulting road hazards
- setting tougher penalties for failure to comply
Creating a “mobility squad”, whose sole purpose is to ensure obstacle-free travel on the city’s streets, could be another step in the right direction. Precedents for mobility squads have already been set in Montreal and other jurisdictions in the GTA. Better standards for reporting unsafe conditions (whether 311 or otherwise) with clear timelines for action should also be implemented.
Help us call on the city for immediate short term and long term solutions that will make our streets and sidewalks safe throughout construction zones, and help keep our city moving.
Enter your name to add your voice to our call for change today!