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.

Traffic changes around St John, HJ schools

As St John the Evangelist gets closer to completion, Etobicoke York Community council is considering changes that will slow and reduce traffic around the school.

Council is considering

  • Speed humps on George
  • Eliminating turns onto the street from Fern and Church during pick-up and drop-off hours
  • Allowing entrance onto George Street only from King Street

    City staff are recommending against the speed humps, but their recommendations are often overruled by council.

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!

Bike Workshop on Saturday

This Saturday, Cycle Toronto will host a one-hour workshop on basic bike maintenance at Weston’s treasure of a library on King Street. Rain or shine – meet in the library parking lot if the weather is fine and if not, the basement will be used. All ages welcome.

Numbers are limited so registration is required and can be done in person before Saturday or by phone at 416-394-1016. As of Tuesday, there was still room for a few more people.

Now if only we had some actual bike lanes in Weston / Mount Dennis! Over to you Councillor Nunziata.

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.

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