Traffic safety here in Midtown and across Toronto has been an increasing concern due to the pressures associated with intensification and reckless driver behavior. The conflict between heavy construction vehicles and crowded streets tragically claimed the life of another pedestrian, Evangeline Lauroza, recently at Yonge and Erskine, just north of our ward.
For many years, I have been focused on making our neighbourhoods safer by moving motions to lower the speed limit to 30km/h on local residential streets, raise fines for illegal parking in dangerous zones, limit occupancy on roadways for construction, work closely with residents and City Staff on improved road design, and request the Police Services Board and the Police Chief to provide more enforcement. But more substantive action is needed.
Enforcement and monitoring needs to be increased. There are currently only two traffic officers working in shifts for the entirety of the area bounded by the DVP, Bathurst, Lawrence, and Bloor.
However, no amount of police presence will dissuade all bad drivers. That is why I am advocating for the City to speed up the implementation of road safety measures prescribed in Toronto’s Vision Zero plan. These measures, adopted by cities internationally, include school safety zones, street reconfigurations, and enhanced visual cues at pedestrian crossings.
We need to send a strong message that arriving at a destination a couple minutes faster is never worth putting someone’s life at risk. Instead of viewing pedestrians as obstacles, I encourage all of us to see them as though they could be someone you care about, our own family or friends, and someone who would be missed terribly if they were ever fatally hit by a driver of a vehicle. Let’s all slow down.