Nunziata blames distracted pedestrians for getting killed

City Council voted unanimously this week to adopt the Vision Zero 2.0 program, which aims to end pedestrian deaths in Toronto. Version 1.0 was, at best, only partially successful: 47 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in Toronto in 2018, two more than in 2017.

The 2.0 plan will “reduce speed limits on dozens of arterial roads across Toronto, install more sidewalks and implement more pedestrian head-start signals, among other measures”.

Frances Nunziata acknowledged the challenges councillors face: “it’s just constantly people wanting traffic calming, speed humps, they want stop signs, they want lights, because it’s really an issue throughout this city.” And Nunziata has been very good about getting speed humps and slowing traffic. Her office has also been working on a cycling plan for the ward.

However, in discussion, she blamed distracted cyclists and pedestrians for their own deaths.

I think it’s important that pedestrians are educated as well, when they’re crossing the street and cyclists as well. You see so many pedestrians crossing the street at an intersection, texting on their phone, talking on their phone, with their earphones, and they’re walking across the street, red light, or they’re not even crossing at an intersection, and that’s very dangerous  as well. And you know, continues to happen, and you know, I know a few years ago, I put a motion through that they should be fined. The province did not support that at that time, but if you… a lot more of them are not paying attention to the roads, the pedestrians, and I think there’s a lot of fatalities as well because there’s no education and they’re not paying attention and the cyclists as well, when they’ve got the earphones, and they’re not hearing, and  they’re not paying attention the road safety. So I think it’s not just for the motorists, it’s for the pedestrians, the cyclists, all of us have to share in making our streets safer.


In 2016, Nunziata asked the province to ticket distracted pedestrians, an idea that was quickly shot down.  She has also called for cyclists to be licensed, an idea proven to be terrible.

John Street changes

Speaking of sidewalks, changes are likely coming to John Street. The Etobicoke York Community Council will consider making the intersection of John and Weston roads narrower.

The city wants to widen the sidewalks, remove a lane on John Street, shorten the turn radius, and add pro-pedestrian signals.

Map of John and Weston

I’m a pretty pro-pedestrian, pro-bike kind of guy, but this seems like a mistake to me. John Street is a disaster. Cars park on both sides of the street, making turning difficult already. Pedestrians cross from the parking lot and alley halfway up, and the auto repair shop is less than fully compliant and quite busy. It’s virtually impossible to drive on John without stopping as it is. Narrowing it—especially without vigilant enforcement of parking and stopping bylaws—is going to make that much worse.

If I had my druthers, I’d ruther the city tackle the left turn from South Station Street onto John. It’s wide, fast, and really needs a stop sign to allow pedestrians safe passage to the pedestrian bridge. I’ve seen many cars turning from South Station Street going too fast onto John, going from a wide, amenable street onto a narrow, crowded one.

I think the city is tackling the wrong end of the problem.

Sidewalks are coming. Slowly.

You heard it here first: an increasingly rare urban design that is prevalent in Weston will soon be lost to history.

It’s a change you’re not likely to regret, however.

Several of the roads north of Church Street have no sidewalks, or have sidewalks on only one side of the street. The city now plans to remedy that and add sidewalks to every street in Toronto, as part of its Vision Zero plan to reduce pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

The story I’ve heard is that in the 1950s, when people expected to drive everywhere, streets in suburbs were built without sidewalks. Now that the the mania for auto-eroticism has passed, we’re regretting that decision.

The city says that sidewalks will be installed, bit by bit, when road reconstruction happens, or as a standalone project, subject to budget availability.

 

 

Four-way stop at Walwyn and Chantilly Gardens to be considered

This week, Etobicoke York Community Council will consider a proposal to put a four-way stop at the corner of Walwyn and Chantilly. City staff say it doesn’t make sense because not nearly enough foot- and vehicular-traffic comes through the intersection. It is possible, however, they’ll be overruled.

And get this: staff say common sense ideas about traffic restrictions are completely wrong!

They say:

Empirical evidence shows that when all-way stop controls are installed at low volume locations such as this, they have minimal impact on reducing vehicle operating speeds or traffic volume, may encourage non-compliance, and will contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and vehicle noise.

Neat!

Vulnerable road users supported at City Hall

City Council voted this week to ask the province to pass the vulnerable road users bill, which is now in first reading.

The bill would increase punishments for drivers who hurt or kill pedestrians, cyclists, road-workers, and emergency responders. Drivers would be put on probation, be forced to attend court (where they could hear victim-impact statements) and do community service.

The bill is supported by the family of Gary Sims, who was killed in Mount Dennis by a driver making a right turn into a driveway. The driver received a $500 fine.

 

Rail path may one day come to Weston. One day.

Last week, City Council asked Metrolinx to make sure that there is enough space along the rail corridor to have “multi-use trails like the West Toronto Railpath” as Metrolinx works on its electrification plans.

Frances Nunziata told council that “residents and community groups of Ward 11 have long advocated for a bicycle path along the Kitchener Corridor”—and when she says “long”, she means it. She asked Metrolinx for a rail path back in 2010.

From Toronto.ca

This new ask comes from the Pedestrian Safety and Cycling Committee, which met with Metrolinx. Metrolinx said, bless them, that they should know whether a bike path will fit sometime in 2022.

No, that’s not a typo.

Crash on Weston Rd: Two injured

Two pedestrians were struck by an out-of-control vehicle near Weston and King at around 1:45 yesterday afternoon. A lightpost was knocked down, and many police and paramedics responded.

CTV news says that a woman on a scooter was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and a man was taken with minor injuries. The driver remained on scene.

Weston Road was closed in both directions for the investigation.

 

Thanks to M for the tip.