Vision Zero: Toronto Road Safety Plan is a road safety action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. The intent is to prioritize the safety of our most vulnerable road users, and seek to redesign our roads to program out unsafe behaviour, and end traffic deaths by 2021. Approved by City Council in July of 2016, with a five-year horizon. At that time, Councillor Wong-Tam moved a motion requesting the work be accelerated in order to be done in two years. The motion was defeated. A total of 43 pedestrians lost their lives that year, the highest since 2005.

In response to a rash of new road-related deaths in 2017, Councillor Wong-Tam moved again to accelerate Vision Zero, from the planned five year horizon to two years. That motion was also defeated. There were 42 pedestrians killed that year.

Since the beginning of 2018, there have been approximately 20 more pedestrian and cyclist deaths. In June 2018, City Council finally agreed to accelerate Vision Zero, following. City Council approved approximately $22 million in new spending to accelerate the city’s road safety plan.

As part of this new funding and following a motion from Councillor Wong-Tam, an additional $4 million will go towards accelerating Vision Zero road safety improvements on the city’s cultural corridors, namely: Bloor, Jarvis, John and Yonge streets. This alignment of policy and funding now provides an opportunity to explore changes to some of Toronto’s busiest streets.

We need to explore new measures to make these important city streets safe for all road users. Road safety enhancements, wherever feasible, should include additional red-light cameras, road “bump-outs,” narrower intersections, cycling infrastructure, lower speed limits and other traffic calming measures.

Let the city know how it should prioritize this new funding. Send your comments and ideas to councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca by July 31, 2018.

Open Streets is a great opportunity to reclaim our streets for everyone. The event returns for two Sundays (August 19 and September 16, 2018) for Toronto’s largest free recreation program. Over 80,000 people have joined the two-day celebration highlighting what can happen, on Sunday mornings, when the streets open to people-powered physical activities.

 

About the Author

Raymond Helkio is an author, director and award-winning filmmaker. As a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design he cofounded The Reading Salon and is a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project. Find him on Facebook.