The City of Toronto has begun rolling out 53 new Senior Safety Zones across the city. The zones will be installed right now at locations identified as having a significant senior population and they are expected to be completed this fall.
Senior Safety Zones are part of the City’s $109-million, multi-faceted Vision Zero Road Safety Plan. The new zones include traffic safety measures designed to raise the visibility of seniors and give them extended crossing time to safely cross the street.
“We know seniors are particularly vulnerable when crossing the road and we must do everything we can to protect them and other pedestrians,” said Mayor John Tory. “I am committed to doing everything possible as quickly as possible to make our streets safer – that’s why we accelerated the roll out of road safety measures, including Senior Safety Zones, this year.”
The Senior Safety Zones will be retrofitted with new safety signs, enhanced pavement markings and extended traffic signal walk times. Further work will include detailed engineering reviews to consider additional safety measures that could include reduced crossing distances, traffic calming and designation as a community safety zone.
The 53 Senior Safety Zones will be in addition to the 12 locations installed last year.
“We’re using a data-driven, comprehensive approach that focuses on the locations where improvements are most needed,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), Chair of the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. “Senior Safety Zones are one of many countermeasures in a multi-faceted plan that we are implementing to make our streets safer for the most vulnerable road users.”
The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, approved by Toronto City Council in 2016, is a bold pledge to improve safety across the city using a data-driven and targeted approach, focusing on locations where improvements are most needed to protect each community’s most vulnerable road users – pedestrians, school children, older adults, motorcyclists and cyclists. City staff continue to work with stakeholders to come up with tailor-made solutions, using multiple approaches to modify Toronto’s road network and to change behaviours to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets.
In 2017, the City took the following actions under the Vision Zero plan:
• launched 20 school safety zones and 12 senior safety zones
• installed almost 100 signalized intersections with longer pedestrian crossing times
• added 74 new red-light cameras (current total: 149)
• physically changed 28 intersections, including curb radius reductions and intersection re-alignments, to reduce the distance that pedestrians have to cross the road and to help reduce aggressive driving
• installed 837 speed-limit signs along 39 corridors where speed limits have been reduced by 10 km per hour
• installed approximately 20,000 km of pavement paint for zebra markings in School Safety Zones, Senior Safety Zones and pedestrian safety corridors, and
• activated 60 accessible pedestrian signals to assist people to cross at signalized intersections.
In 2018, work is completed or currently underway on the following:
• speed reduction through an automated enforcement pilot
• speed reduction from 40 km to 30 km in approved neighbourhoods
• Pedestrian Safety Corridors, including crossing improvements such as enhanced signage, signals and pavement markings
• accelerating the School Safety Zone and Senior Safety Zone programs
• begin implementing Community Safety Zones at 754 kindergarten to Grade 8 schools city-wide
• providing at least one Mobile Watch Your Speed Sign for each ward
• the Active and Safe Routes to School program pilot, which will include additional signage and pavement markings to facilitate safer routes to school and promote kids walking and biking to school
• traffic calming to reduce speeds, including new flex post traffic calming signs and speed humps
• Vision Zero town hall meetings and school safety forums in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Police Service, and
• public education campaigns.
A list of the new Senior Safety Zone locations is available at https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/96f0-2018-List-of-Senior-Safety-Zones_June.pdf.
The City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan website includes a mapping tool that shows existing safety measures and planned work as well as safety tips for all road users aimed at making streets safer: http://www.toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO.
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