The City of Toronto Vision Zero Road Safety Plan includes several initiatives that support the safety, education and wellbeing of all students as they head back to school Tuesday morning.
“Returning to the classroom is an exciting time for many students and families in Toronto. Ensuring the safety of all pedestrians, especially children and students as they travel to and from school, must be everyone’s priority,” said Mayor John Tory. “Please be alert. If you’re driving then please slow down, stay focused and watch for children – especially in and around school zones.”
As students make their way back to class, the Vision Zero back to school road safety initiative encourages all road users to maintain awareness of their surroundings, be aware of other road users at all times, and take steps to remain focused when driving, walking or cycling. The initiative is delivered in partnership with organizations that include Toronto Public Health, Green Communities Canada, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Police Service (TPS), The Hospital for Sick Children and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities.
“I would like to officially welcome all students back to school. As the students return to their classrooms, we remain focused on the Vision Zero Road Safety program and the safety of all students travelling to and from school each day,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. “The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan has been accelerated to further expand and enhance the School Safety Zones program that will help fulfill our commitment to road safety.”
The following initiatives are part of the City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan:
• Active and Safe Routes to School pilot project – Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities, the project includes road markings, sidewalk activity stenciling and installation of signage to encourage children to walk or bike to school and to help reduce vehicular speed and increase safety around schools.
• Mobile Watch Your Speed program – A recently introduced program that will see portable, pole-mounted signs deployed in every Toronto ward. Each sign, which will be rotated to locations within the ward on a monthly basis, includes built-in radar that measures and displays to drivers the speed of their vehicles.
• School Crossing Guards – The City has partnered with TPS to develop an alternative to cover the absences of regular TPS school crossing guards so that officers can better fulfill their core policing duties. The City has hired a security company to provide backfill services when a TPS school crossing guard is absent. This is the first phase of transitioning the crossing guard program to the City in time for the 2019/2020 school year.
• School Safety Zones – The City’s accelerated School Safety Zones program will see 88 schools marked with safety zones in 2018 – up from the original 20 schools. School safety zones include safety signs, pavement markings and stencils, driver feedback signs, and more.
• School Watch Your Speed Program – Permanent signs will be installed around schools to make drivers aware of their speed.
• School Zone Reviews – Comprehensive reviews of schools and school zones aimed at gathering data/ feedback to improve the safety of routes children take when walking to school.
As part of the Road Safety Plan in 2018, the City’s Transportation Services staff have:
• begun installation of 40 School Safety Zones with 88 planned by the end of 2018
• begun installation of 21 Senior Safety Zones with 53 planned by the end of 2018
• equipped five schools with Active and Safe Routes to School signs and markings
• begun installation of 36 Community Safety Zones with 250 planned by the end of 2018
• installed red light cameras at 142 new locations, with seven currently being installed, and plan to double the overall number of cameras
The City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan website includes a mapping tool showing safety measures in place and future planned work as well as safety tips for all road users aimed at making streets safer: http://www.toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO.
The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is focused on eliminating fatalities and reducing serious injuries, with an emphasis on pedestrian, school children, older adult, cyclist and motorcyclist safety and reducing aggressive and distracted driving. The City’s total five-year Vision Zero investment is $109 million. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/VisionZeroTO.
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