Advocacy update: #BuildtheVisionTO
Here's the latest on what we're doing to address the road safety crisis.
On June 19, we announced #BuildTheVisionTO, as part of a coalition of road safety advocates...
In the wake of a number of vulnerable road user deaths in early June, Cycle Toronto participated in a press conference with coalition partners TCAT, Walk Toronto, 8 80 Cities, and Friends & Families for Safe Streets to launch #BuildTheVisionTO, a call to action with 15 recommendations for City Council to address the slow pace on eliminating traffic collisions resulting in serious injury or death. Media and public response to the launch was significant and positive. Cycle Toronto’s #BuildTheGrid campaign is embedded in the report’s recommendations, which form the basis for a candidate survey that TCAT is running over the summer to gather commitments from council and mayoral candidates on active and safe streets for all. Stay tuned for a second press conference in September to reveal the results of the candidate survey.
...followed by Council decision to double Vision Zero road safety budget for 2018
Later that day, Mayor John Tory responded that he would “rule nothing out” in terms of the calls to action. His announcement of $13 million in 2018 for the City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan was augmented to $22 million after recommendations from Executive Committee passed through Toronto & East York Community Council. Pending final Council approval, the current 2018 budget of $21.6 million for Vision Zero will be doubled, with new funding allocated to:
Improving the road resurfacing and reconstruction process such that road safety is automatically considered in every instance ($0.5 million).
Undertaking a study of the availability and suitability of smaller fire trucks (including a review of Hamilton’s new “urban engine” trucks) ($0.5 million). Note: the requirements of emergency vehicles has long been cited as a constraint on street and intersection design in Toronto.
Increasing the number of safety cameras to prevent red-light running from 77 to 154 by 2019 (instead of by 2021 as initially committed in the Vision Zero plan). Note that there are over 2300 signalized intersections in Toronto.
Piloting ten “complete intersections” (read about protected intersections) in 2018. Note that Cycle Toronto staff and volunteers are working with the City’s Traffic Control & Safety Systems to inform site selection. Our amazing engineer/planner volunteers have already done mock-ups of three intersections! We hope to try one out at Open Streets Toronto.
The Mayor’s $13 million is intended to accelerate measures already identified in Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.
Cycle Toronto was also pleased to see the recommendation approved to allocate $8 million in 2020-2022 to reconstruct the Dundas/Annette/Dupont/Old Weston Road intersection to implement road safety measures. This intersection was the topic of a 2012 Council decision to start an ill-fated environmental assessment (never implemented before it was incorporated into the combined Bloor-Dupont study in 2013). All these proposals still need final approval by Council at their July 23-25 meeting, the last one before the election, and Transportation Services will report back in January 2019 on the details of these measures.
School Safety Zones
In a related measure, the school safety zones proposed in June were adopted without issue by full Council at their June 26 meeting (note that these are officially Community Safety Zones, which can be implemented on a full block instead of only the 150 metre frontage of a school that a School Safety Zone covers). Riding the wave of support for traffic safety measures this month, several councillors saw fit to add streets that did not have schools on them. Subject to the 2019 Budget process, safety zones will be implemented not only in elementary schools (as per the original motion) but also high schools, private schools, and French (public and Catholic) schools. They will also be implemented on sections of Jane St., Sheppard Ave. W., King St. W., Wilson Ave., Riverdale Ave., Dundas St. E., Pape Ave., and - remarkably - Avenue Road between St. Clair Ave. and Bloor Street. The motion directs Transportation Services to request Waze identify school safety zones and preclude navigation through these zones during school hours. Now we just need automated safety cameras (Provincial regulation needed) so enforcement is not such a fraught issue.
Cycle Toronto is a non-partisan organization that supports policies for safer streets, and not any particular party or candidate.