Speed limits might be lowered as part of Toronto’s pedestrian safety plan

The second phase of Toronto’s Vision Zero pedestrian safety plan could lead to dozens of roads across the city lowering their speed limits.

On June 13 the city of Toronto published a staff report addressed to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee asking to lower the speed limits in several arterial roads across the city. The report suggested to lower the speed limits from 60 km/h to 50 km/h on 41 stretches of road.

Additionally, the report recommended that five other arterial roads’ speed limit be lowered from 50 km/h to 40 km/h.

The roads mentioned in the report are usually clustered and used among many people who commute across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). These roads include portions of Finch Avenue, Eglinton Avenue, St. Clair Avenue, Victoria Park Avenue and Warden Avenue among others.

According to the report, the main reason to implement these changes is safety. The report also mentions that recommending a set of more extensive, proactive and targeted initiatives aims to eliminate serious injury and fatalities on Toronto’s roads.

The report’s data indicates that in the last five-year period, the number of serious injury collisions increased compared to previous years. The trend also showed that pedestrian fatalities were the most notably seen.

At a recent press conference at the Scarborough Civic Centre, Mayor John Tory said, “There is a strong rationale that reducing operating speeds, particularly on arterial roadways, will result in the greatest reduced risk of serious injury and fatality for all road users especially those who are more vulnerable.”

The first phase of Vision Zero reduced the speed limit on 151 kilometres of arterial roads and the results were extremely positive. A reduction in speed of approximately five per cent proved to reduce fatalities by about 20 per cent.

The second phase of Vision Zero suggests lowering the speed limit along 249 kilometres of 375 arterial roads with posted speed limits of 60 km/h in the city. The experts calling for these changes argue that pedestrians have a 95 per cent chance of dying when hit by a vehicle travelling 60 km/h but that probability goes down to 30 per cent if the vehicle is travelling at 40 km/h.

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