Speed limits may be lowered on 4 streets

The Etobicoke York Community Council is considering lowering the speed limits on four streets in Weston and Mount Dennis. The motion will reduce the speed limit to 30 km/hr on the following streets:

  • Wall Avenue
  • Ralph Street (near CR Marchant)
  • Guestville (near Our Lady of Victory Catholic School)
  • Dennis Avenue (near Dennis Avenue School)

A petition had been circulated to ask for speed humps on Wall Avenue, but doing so didn’t meet the technical criteria, so lowered speed limits are being asked for instead.

The motion will be considered April 4.

Pedestrian and bike plan released: it’s amazing

The Pedestrian Safety and Cyclist Committee has released its report, and it’s amazing, thorough, enlightened, and balanced. The 31 recommendations  would reinvent cycling and walking in Weston and Mount Dennis and would, at last, connect our riding to the rest of the city.

The biggest proposed changes are long bicycle lanes along Weston, Jane, and Black Creek Drive. Currently, there is no safe, direct route from Weston and Mount Dennis to the Junction area of Toronto or the York Rec Centre. These new paths would fix that—and make cycle commuting much more attractive. The report says that the PSCC was “surprised” to see that Weston and Jane had been left out of the city’s 10-year plan, and asked for that to be reconsidered. Jane, in particular, has “the potential of being a north – south artery for cycling.”

The PSCC also recommended that the city install bike lanes to connect the new Mount Dennis station to existing bike lanes on Eglinton, which, bizarrely, do not quite reach the station. The Weston Station, too, needs a connection for bicycles, they said.

The report wasn’t all about bikes, though; it also asked the city to conduct Road Safety Audits to improve pedestrian safety at the following locations in Weston and Mount Dennis:

  • Weston Road and Oak Street
  • Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West
  • Weston Road and Eglinton Avenue West

The authors said, “We need to be proactive—not reactive—in conducting safety audits of locations identified by the community as unsafe”.

They would also like the city to “reduce the speed limit on all local streets in Ward 11 immediately surrounding a school to 30 km/hr and create “School Safety Zones” around all schools in Ward 11. Making the bridges and tunnels in Weston better for pedestrians is also a priority, and the city should look into installing physical barriers, such as decorative railings, along the . Lawrence Avenue Bridge over the Humber, and the Weston Road underpass, which crosses under the UPX tracks near the Superstore.

 

Why do people get hit by cars in Weston?

After the most recent accident at Weston and Lawrence, in which a woman was seriously injured, your correspondent started thinking about the reasons why people keep getting hurt—and what might be done to prevent future injuries and deaths.

Is it road design? Poor lighting? Poor intersection control? Enforcement failures? Or is it something else?

The cause of death and injury is likely banal and sad: mix many people and many cars, and some will come into conflict.

The city and police publish much data on road use and accidents. I mapped the number accidents in which pedestrians were killed or seriously injured and the data on the number of pedestrians.

Pins show the busiest pedestrian intersections (top quintile). Crossbones show intersections with more than one accident.

After quite a bit of fiddling, the answer is pretty clear:  the more pedestrians there are, the more likely it is that someone will be hurt. All of the intersections in which there has been more than one accident are among the busiest intersections in York South–Weston.

I took all the data the city gathers on pedestrian use, and removed the bottom fourth-fifths, leaving only the most frequently crossed roads. I also removed the intersections where there had been only one collision with a pedestrian. We are left with the busiest pedestrian intersections and the deadliest intersections. These overlap to a great extent: the four most dangerous intersections are the four busiest.

The intersection of Weston and Lawrence is deadly: three people have been hit there, and another six have been hit nearby. Jane and Lawrence is quite dangerous too: four have been hit, with another two nearby.

In Mount Dennis, Weston and Jane, and the intersections of Eglinton with Weston Road and Jane Street have had multiple accidents over the past decade.

But of the five deadliest intersections, four are also the most frequently foot-travelled intersections, and the fifth is in the top ten.

Of course, this does not mean that injuries and deaths are inevitable. Far from it. Many things can be done to make our intersections safe—particularly at Weston and Lawrence. We could

  • Reshape the intersection to make the crossing shorter. Three of the dangerous intersections are longer than necessary because of their oblique angle.
  • Prohibit right turns on red
  • Give pedestrians a five-second advanced walk
  • Extend the cross signal
  • Move the bus stops to discourage people from running for their ride
  • Install red-light cameras
  • Narrow the roadways
  • Brightly mark the crosswalks and move the stop line back

 

 

Toronto’s dangerous roads strike locally.

Vision Zero? – Sometimes it seems like Zero Vision in car-centric Toronto.

Terrible news on Friday afternoon: yet another pedestrian was mowed down by someone driving a vehicle near Weston Road and Lawrence. According to cbc.ca, the woman, in her 20s was in serious condition but expected to survive.

Toronto’s drivers are killing people at the rate of one a week. At this rate, another 55 Torontonians will die on our streets by year’s end.

While the Mayor and Council claim to be concerned about this, they are doing little about the deaths and injuries. For example, there are only 77 red light cameras in the whole of Toronto and only one remotely close to our area (at Keele and Lawrence). This in a city with 2300 traffic lights. Incidentally, why do we warn drivers about these cameras?

In a similar vein, Mayor Tory and his hand-selected Public Works Committee are fighting the insertion of bike lanes and wider sidewalks on Yonge near Mel Lastman Square, preferring the current 6-lane highway.

Councillors on the committee are :

Read the CBC article on the collision here.

We are all pedestrians.

Update: Hans Havermann has corrected my erroneous numbers. Read about it here.

Pedestrian struck and seriously injured at Weston and Eglinton

A woman is in life-threatening condition after being struck by a car near Weston and Eglinton. She was rushed to the hospital at around 5 pm tonight.

Update: The pedestrian has died.


Weston and Eglinton is a particularly dangerous intersection, according to our map of injuries and deaths caused by motorists. This is at least the fourth serious collision involving a pedestrian at that intersection since 2006.