Toronto introduced a calming pilot from the left Thursday as part of the city’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan to eliminate traffic-related injuries and deaths.
As part of the pilot, tire speed collisions will be installed at intersections across the city to prevent driver collisions from turning left with pedestrians and cyclists. These types of collisions are among the most prominent causing injuries and deaths to other road users in Toronto, the city said in a press release.
Speed bumps will be installed to encourage passengers to take a slower, sharper left turn when driving on pedestrians, rather than wide, diagonal turns. The idea is that it will provide passengers with a better visibility of pedestrians and cyclists, while also reducing return speeds.
The first of these speed collisions have already been installed. The city said speed collisions escalated at two intersections in July, one on Sheppard Avenue and Kennedy Road and another on Finch Avenue and Sandhurst Circle.
The same treatments will be installed at six more intersections by the end of August. Locations for the pilot will be determined based on the history and severity of previous collisions, as well as the findings of previous safety reviews.
LOOK | This pilot project aims to reduce damage from left turns:
Council Cynthia Lai, who represents Scarborough North, where the first of the speed bumps were installed, said the pilot is an initiative she believes will make Toronto roads safer, especially in the suburbs.
“I have had many requests in my neighborhood for speed and traffic calming initiatives,” she said. “I think we need to see more of these initiatives in suburban areas because people tend to speed up and tend not to be so careful.”
Because many of her constituents do not speak English as their first language, she said she would also like the city to do more to educate and communicate the purpose behind these initiatives. A city spokesman says it is in the process of translating Zero Vision educational material into other languages.
Step in the right direction, says the lawyer
The pilot is a step in the right direction to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, said Kevin Rupasinghe, campaign manager with Cycle Toronto, a group that advocates for safe cycling in the city. He said busy roads with a lot of foot traffic should be a priority for left-handed pilots.
“There are many times when I have wanted to have measures to keep drivers coming back slower and better seeing me,” he said.
“And I’m really confident that we’re going to see those results with this kind of measurement just have to extend to a lot more intersections.”
In a press release, Mayor John Tory said he expects to see the pilot results and “whether this measure should be extended to other locations across the city.” The city also said in a separate statement that more details about the pilot will be announced in the coming weeks.
With more people walking and cycling outside during the pandemic, Rupasinghesaid, he would also like the city to do more to protect cyclists in addition to the soothing pilot from the left. Cycle Toronto, for example, is campaigning for a network of protected bike lanes across Scarborough.
Positive results are seen elsewhere
Similar calming measures on the left already exist in other cities.
In New York City, a pilot has been running since 2016. It was an engineering solution that emerged from a study analyzing why pedestrians were being hit by drivers, said Rob Viola, director of safety and research policy at the New York Department of Transportation. City.
The city has been reportedthat pedestrian injuries were reduced by 20 percent in places where sedative treatments were used on the other hand. Similarly, the speed of left turns decreased by an average of 52.6 percent.
“It has been a huge success and has been captured in many cities across North America,” Viola said.
“Pretty much cheap, easy and the results are strong, so anything like that in transport will be taken.”
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