Toronto to invest $154 million for new road safety projects
The City of Toronto will invest $154 million to further its Vision Zero initiative to reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths, Coun. Jaye Robinson said.
Robinson, who is the chair of public works and infrastructure, hosted the third annual Vision Zero road safety summit on Tuesday at City Hall, where she and other key speakers introduced 34 new projects.
Robinson stressed the importance of the Vision Zero plan, which will implement projects such as extending curbs and prohibiting cars from turning right on red lights, starting this year.
“Now at City Hall, everything we do, as small as a new stop sign to major road reconstructions, is done with a Vision Zero lens,” said Robinson, who was joined by other speakers from Toronto Police and transportation services.
The goal of Vision Zero is to reduce the number of vehicle collisions that kill or seriously injure pedestrians and cyclists to zero by 2021. In 2017, there have been 200 cases where cyclists and pedestrians have been hit, 40 of which have been killed in the collisions.
The leading cause of pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths is impaired driving, police data shows.
The second leading cause, at 151 cases, is aggressive driving, which includes anything from speeding, tailgating, and failing to yield right-of-way.
Sgt. Brett Moore, who is currently working with the traffic services division of the police department, said the accidents impact the whole city.
“Traffic collisions cost society too much,” he said. “[Vision Zero] will help free up a lot of time to enforce other areas.”
“It’s really important that we track this information so that we could understand not only what the trends are and who they are affecting, but also what are the locations where crashes and collisions are,” said Barbara Gray, who is the general manager of transportation services in the city.
The goal is “to address those concerns in other places in the city,” she said .
The city reduced approximately 840 speed limits by 10 km/h last year in order to reduce these numbers, Robinson said – another project they hope to continue in 2018 and following years.
Members of the Cycle Toronto advocacy group support Vision Zero, but question the way the city is working on the projects.
“It’s a great initiative that needs to be done, but we had some questions about how fast the city is implementing these new projects,” said Liz Sutherland, who is the director of advocacy and government relations at Cycle Toronto.
“We would really like the projects earlier,” she said.