Relatively simple changes could make all the difference. A new plan by the City of Toronto aims to improve the traffic flow at the municipality’s 10 most congested intersections by optimizing signal timings, longer green lights for vehicle movements, upgrades to traffic signal controllers, improved turning lanes, and CCTV.
It is all part of a $1-million ‘hot spot’ project aimed at reducing gridlock, which costs the Greater Toronto Area $6 billion in economic productivity each year.
In addition to improvements that benefit drivers, at least three intersections at Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road, Bloor Street East and Parliament Street, and Finch Avenue East and Victoria Park Avenue will receive pedestrian crossing upgrades.
Upgrades to the intersections began in spring 2016 and work is scheduled for completed in 2017.
In mid-July, Toronto City Council also approved an $80.3-million budget for road safety improvement projects over five years. This includes the installation of digital radar signs, street lighting improvements, 50 additional mid-block pedestrian crossings, 100 additional audible crossing signals at intersections, and longer pedestrian crossing times.
Recent statistics released by the Toronto Police revealed that 542 pedestrians and 541 cyclists had been struck by vehicles from June 1 to September 22. That is an average of 10 collisions involving a pedestrian or cyclist on a daily basis.
To date this year, a total of 27 pedestrians and one cyclist have been killed in vehicle collisions. The single-year record of pedestrian deaths was in 2013 when 40 deaths were recorded.
Eglinton Avenue West and Martin Grove Road
Lawrence Avenue West and Black Creek Drive
St. Clair Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road
Finch Avenue and Yonge Street
Sheppard Avenue and Yonge Street
Bloor Street East and Parliament Street
O’Connor Drive and Don Mills Road
Eastern Avenue and Carlaw Avenue
Finch Avenue East and Victoria Park Avenue
Kingston Road and Lawrence Avenue East