Yield !

 ABCRA and the Avenue Road Safety Coalition advocate for Safer Roads and Pedestrian Safety on Avenue Road 

The coalition represents the concerns of the residents, the elderly, parents and children, pedestrians, and cyclists that reside and commute in this community and embodies the TO Core objective to “create the right balance of space for pedestrians, cyclists, transit and vehicles.”  

However 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. In recent months, we have seen an increase to these statistics within our community:

- November 1st, 2018, 16 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the GTA
- November 18th, 2018, 3 people were injured when two cars collided and ended up on the sidewalk at the intersection of Avenue Road and Bloor Street
- November 20th, 2018, a mother was struck by a car while walking with her child in a stroller in Yorkville
- December 18th, 2018, in efforts to avoid a collusion, a car lost control and mounted the sidewalk in front of Hazelton Place Seniors Residence, damaging the Enbidge gas installation, and putting the lives of the residents at risk due to a potential gas explosion, for many hours until the repairs were completed
- December 22nd, 2018, a man and woman were struck after a vehicle lost control and ram their parked vehicle on Davenport Road

These statistics are unacceptable and reflect the lack of sufficient traffic regulations and proper enforcement to ensure the safety of pedestrians and other road users.

But these incidents are also indicative of the mentality of drivers these days. They are driving too fast and in order to avoid a collusion with an oncoming car they feel the “better option” is to swerve around the car and mount the sidewalk and potentially risk killing a pedestrian. How do we change that mentality? Of course, slower speeds would help, but has our society, in all our “self centredness” and “busyness” with life, lost all concept of the preciousness of life and respecting pedestrian’s and cyclist’s “right of way” when crossing the street or sharing the roadway.

When did speeding and overtaking cars in the right hand lane (closet to the sidewalk) become the proper way to drive? Does the city of Toronto need to reeducate drivers on the rules and etiquette of driving in the city?

In January 2018, the Avenue Road Safety Coalition sent a letter to our 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, which articulated the coalition’s conclusions and our recommendations:

- Reduced traffic speeds to 40km
- Red-light cameras and speed cameras
- Increased fines for speeding
- Advanced green light for cyclists and pedestrians (for increased cyclist/pedestrian visibility)
- Pedestrian street lighting improvements
- Automated pedestrian detection
- Accessibility improvements through wider sidewalks
- Wider sidewalk widths (minimum sidewalk width of 2.1 metres)
- Implementation of Children and Senior Safety Zone

We believe these recommendations are consistent with the city’s Vision Zero Safety Plan, TOCore 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. 

On June 28th, 2018, City Council designated the entire Avenue Rd corridor from St. Clair Ave. to Bloor St. as a Community Safety Zone. The advantages 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 the summer of 2019.

These are significant milestones in our progress towards our goal of Vision Zero, but there is still much work to be done and the ABCRA and the Avenue Road Safety Coalition will continue to work with the City of Toronto on these important safety initiatives to ‘take back our sidewalks” and create safer passage for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The ABCRA and the Avenue Road Safety Coalition wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year!