Community safety zone approved for Avenue Road

Avenue Road Safety Coalition advocates for pedestrian safety on Avenue Road!

In the fall of 2017, the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services, Toronto and East York District released the Avenue Road Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Study (Full report HERE).

In response to this report, the ABC, Annex, Republic of Rathnelly and Cottingham Square Residents’ Associations, De La Salle College, Brown and Cottingham Junior Public Schools and parent councils, Walk Toronto and Cycle Toronto, Midtown met for a strategy meeting.  The conclusions of the meeting were that the City's review was inadequate and failed to address the safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists on Avenue Road and formed The Avenue Road Safety Coalition to collectively pursue improved safety along Avenue Road. 
For more details read ABCRA’s letter to the Toronto and East York Community Council, Dated October 16, 2017 HERE.  (Note: The APPENDIX in this letter that ABCRA sent to the TEYCC about the Avenue Road Safety Study is HERE.)

In January 2018, the Avenue Road Safety Community Coalition prepared the following letter that was sent to their respective City Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy and Josh Matlow and the City of Toronto's, Toronto and East York District, Transportation Services group.
Read the coalition letter dated January 12, 2018 HERE.
This letter articulated the coalition’s conclusions of the Avenue Road Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Study and presented their recommendations:

- Creation of Children and Senior Safety Zone
- Accessibility improvements through wider sidewalks
- Reduction in speed limits and improved enforcement
- Wider sidewalk widths (minimum sidewalk width of 2.1 metres- Advanced green light for cyclists and pedestrians (for increased cyclist/pedestrian visibility)
- Red-light cameras and speed cameras
- Pedestrian street lighting improvements
- Automated pedestrian detection

We believe these recommendations are consistent with the city’s Vision Zero Safety PlanTOCore Study, and Complete Streets Guidelines and are imperative as the density in the city of Toronto and along Avenue Road intensifies with new developments and a greater population of pedestrians.  The City of Toronto’s Vision Zero report states that one pedestrian is seriously injured or killed every three days on our city’s roads.  These statistics are unacceptable and reflect weak traffic regulations and the proper enforcement to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

In May 2018, Councillors Wong-Tam, Cressy and Matlow organized an Avenue Road Corridor Safety Review Stakeholder Workshop, where the Avenue Road Safety Coalition members, including ABCRA met with City of Toronto staff from various divisions including the Traffic Safety Unit (which oversees the implementation of Vision Zero).  The workshop provided an opportunity for the coalition to articulate their concerns for pedestrian safety with the City of Toronto staff and present possible recommendations and future safety initiatives for Avenue Road which emphasized the need for wider safer sidewalks.

The Brown Junior Public School and parent council have also been working with Councillor Josh Matlow to establish school safety initiatives on Avenue Road south of St. Clair Avenue which included the establishment of a Community Safety Zone between Lynwood Avenue and Balmoral Avenue.
Full report HERE.

“Community Safety Zones are sections of roadway where public safety is of special concern.
They may include roadways near schools, day care centres, playgrounds, parks, hospitals, senior citizen residences, and may also be used for collision prone areas within a community.”

Following the stakeholder meeting, Board members of ABC and the Annex Residents Associations appealed their respective Councillors Wong-Tam and Cressy, and launched a media campaign (See the CityNews video HERE) to draw attention to the unsafe sidewalks on Avenue Road and petitioned to have the Community Safety Zone extended from St. Clair Avenue to Bloor Street.

The St. Clare's Multifaith Housing Society (representing the concerns of 138 Pears Ave. and 250 Davenport tenants ) and the AMICA Mature Lifestyles (on behalf of The AMICA at the Balmoral Club’s residents) also wrote letters to our city councillors in support of our concerns. 

On June 28th, 2018, Councillors Wong Tam and Cressy worked together to introduce the coalition’s recommendations to City Council.  These recommendations were discussed by City Council and led to City Council’s decision to designate the entire Avenue Road corridor from St. Clair Avenue. to Bloor Street as a Community Safety Zone.  The advantage of this designation is that certain Vision Zero safety measures — including doubled fines for speeding and speed cameras will be implemented on Avenue Road.

In recognition of the efforts of the The AMICA at the Balmoral Club, on August 1st, 2018 the City announced that the intersection at Balmoral Avenue and Avenue Road will also be officially designated as a Senior Safety Zone

senior safety small.JPG

For more information on Balmoral Avenue / Avenue Road Senior Safety Zone go HERE.

These are significant milestones in our progress towards our goal of Vision Zero, but there is still much work to be done. ABCRA with The Avenue Road Safety Coalition will continue to work with the City of Toronto on these important safety initiatives. 

ABCRA would like to thank their fellow coalition members and supporters as well as our City Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, Joe Cressy and Josh Matlow, for recognizing the importance of pedestrian safety and for their hard work and dedication to their communities in ensuring the safety of all Toronto pedestrians.