Councillor wants lower speed limits considered
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2010 7:48PM EST
A Toronto city councillor is again pushing his traffic safety motion following the death of another pedestrian on the city's roads.
"I'm going to ask my council colleagues to go back to their ward and create a list of where they think dangerous situations occur for pedestrians," Coun. Bill Saundercook (Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park), who co-chairs the pedestrian committee, told reporters on Tuesday.
This would be passed on to city staff, who could prepare a report for the next works committee with recommendations on whether or not the speed limit for that street should be reduced by 10 kilometres per hour, he said.
This reduction could occur on streets with speed limits of 60, 50 or even 40 kilometres per hour. However, Saundercook said a 30 km/h speed limit would only be necessary in very rare circumstances.
"Reducing the speed of vehicular traffic gives everybody more reaction time, including the driver," he said.
Other measures could include:
- a jaywalking crackdown
- zero tolerance for speeding
- more left-hand turn signals
- more controls on driver turns
City council will discuss Saundercook's motion on Wednesday afternoon.
"My message to Torontonians is there's a pedestrian strategy that will produce a safe city," said Mayor David Miller. "In view of what's happened in January, we're working faster than ever to implement those measures as soon as possible -- and a lot of them this year."
That will mean longer crossing times, more pedestrian countdown signals and better marking of crossing areas with "zebra stripes."
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, CTV Toronto had no problem finding pedestrians jaywalking on Front Street near the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, among other places. One couple crossed the street against a red light with a baby in a stroller.
In the city's latest traffic death on Monday evening, a Dodge Durango SUV turning left struck a 38-year-old Juliette Robinson as she crossed Davenport Road at Symington Avenue.
However, police said Robinson wasn't in the marked crosswalk while she was crossing. She is the eighth traffic fatality of 2010.
"Juliet was the last one the in family," said Everald Dawes, her brother. "Very loving, very caring, hard-working."
Both pedestrians and drivers need to be more alert, he said.
Toronto's seventh traffic fatality died in hospital after being struck by a streetcar early on Sunday at Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue. Police say the person was crossing Queen Street while talking on his cellphone.
The GTA has had 14 pedestrians die in about the past two weeks.
Speaking to CTV News Channel, Sgt. Tim Burrows of Toronto Police's traffic services unit said pedestrians are willing to compromise their safety and drivers are also trying to save time by cutting corners on safety.
"It's that attitude that we've got to change, and it's a behavioural problem that we see on our roads," he said. "We have to go back to the fact that if we truly want safe roads, everybody has to do their part."
Downtown at Queen Street West and John Street, pedestrians could be seen jaywalking right in front of police officers.
"You could be out here every day and educate people over and over, and you come out tomorrow and it's all the same," said Const. Mark Ferreira.
With a reports from CTV Toronto's Janice Golding and Alicia Markson