Since being elected in 2010, I’ve worked continuously with fellow parents, and all residents, to make our neighbourhood streets as safe as possible by responding to community requests for traffic and speed mitigation measures where feasible. I frequently visit residents’ homes and streets with City Transportation staff looking for possible solutions to residents’ concerns about traffic. Most of these concerns justifiably are based on parents wanting to protect their children. Unfortunately, there are some sudden and tragic accidents that no traffic calming measure will prevent. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything we can to improve safety in our community.
Recently, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto recommended reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h on most of the city’s local residential streets. His report noted that pedestrians have an over 20% chance of dying when hit by a car travelling at 40 km/h but fatality rates decrease to less than 5% when hit by a car that travels at 30 km/h. After 30 km/h zones were introduced in London, England, these zones experienced a 42% reduction in fatalities. Given that the research demonstrates that reducing the speed limit from 40 km/h to 30 can be the difference between life and death, I commend my colleagues on Council for supporting my motion directing City staff to provide recommendations on lowering the speed limit, where possible, to 30 km/h on local streets within areas designated “Neighbourhood” in Ward 22.
In addition to improving safety, this measure could also decrease traffic incursion into our neighbourhoods by creating a disincentive for drivers to leave arterial roads in favour of shortcuts through local streets. I recognize that this initiative may be controversial, but as your City Councillor and a father myself, I believe that we have a responsibility to act on evidence to protect our families.