Today, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto has launched the Left-Turn Calming Pilot, a Vision Zero Road Safety Plan measure that aims to reduce the risk of left-turn collisions at signalized intersections by encouraging safe turning behaviour.
Left-turn collisions at signalized intersections are among the most prevalent type of collisions in Toronto that have resulted in fatalities or serious injuries to people walking and cycling – 18 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.
High-speed left-turns are particularly an issue at wide suburban intersections where more speed can be picked up as a driver is completing a left-turn at a relatively wide radius. There is a large area of exposure for people walking or cycling, driver workload is high as they judge oncoming traffic in multiple lanes, in addition to “back pressure” from vehicles behind the turning vehicle. The blind spot caused by a vehicle’s windshield frame compounds this problem.
The Left-Turn Calming Pilot will see rubber speed bumps installed at eight intersections throughout the city. These simple infrastructure additions will “harden” the centerline and encourage drivers to approach the crosswalk at a sharper angle instead of cutting across intersections diagonally, resulting in slower turning speeds and better visibility of people walking and cycling.
Similar measures in other jurisdictions, such as New York City and Washington D.C., have proven to be effective in reducing left-turn speeds and the number of injuries among people walking at intersections.
In Toronto, Left-Turn Calming Pilot treatments will be installed at eight locations that were selected based on collision history, collision severity, and findings of past safety reviews. Two locations (Finch Avenue East and Sandhurst Circle and Sheppard Avenue East and Kennedy Road) were installed in July with the rest expected to be installed by the end of August, to be evaluated over the next year.
The initial eight locations are:
More information about the program and a map of all Pilot locations.
The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is a comprehensive action plan that aims to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With more than 50 safety measures across seven emphasis areas, the plan prioritizes the safety of Toronto’s most vulnerable road users: people who walk and cycle, schoolchildren, and older adults.
“We are continuing to make progress in expanding our Vision Zero toolbox by adding proactive and targeted solutions with the purpose of eliminating traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities. The Left-Turn Calming Pilot is one of these solutions that I’m confident will ultimately protect people walking and cycling by making them more visible to turning vehicles. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot so we can determine if this measure should be expanded to other locations across the city.”
– Mayor John Tory
“We know that traffic will increase as we continue to gradually and safely reopen our city. The Left-Turn Calming Pilot will add simple and cost-effective physical changes to the roadway that will have a great return in terms of protecting vulnerable road users and encouraging drivers to be more alert.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
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