John Tory unveils new steps to fight Toronto's heavy traffic

Sep 18 2017, 8:15 pm

As the Toronto Police Service begin a heightened rush-hour route enforcement campaign on Monday morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory unveiled a new traffic plan to get commuters moving.

“We owe it to drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders to make sure our city moves in the best way possible,” Tory said in a release. “While we have made progress improving how you get around, we can always do more. I am determined to deal with the congestion choking our roads. I’m here today to highlight the next steps we’re taking to tackle Toronto’s traffic because you deserve a better commute.”

The police’s one week enforcement campaign focuses on traffic congestion and gridlock in the downtown core. Ending on September 22, police say there will be zero tolerance for vehicles found blocking and congesting rush-hour routes.

But the Mayor has more long term plans when it comes to the city’s roads. Part of Tory’s updated traffic plan include:

  1. Establishing quick clear squads dedicated to fixing problems causing temporary lane blockages on the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway, and other major roads.
  2. Having full-time traffic wardens at congestion hotspots by the first half of 2018.
  3. Requesting utility companies (Toronto Hydro, gas companies and telcos) to confine non-emergency work requiring lane closures to off peak hours (7 pm to 7 am).
  4. Sharing traffic data with Waze starting next month, a partnership that will give traffic operations centre better visibility into traffic patterns and give users of the Waze app enhanced information to plan and adjust their commute.
  5. Installing ‘smart signals’ in November that will monitor the flow of traffic in real-time and change their signal lengths accordingly.
  6. Asking City staff for a report on possible increases to fines for traffic blocking offences.

“Over the last three years, we have finally focused on fighting traffic in Toronto and improving commute times,” said Tory. “This problem didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be solved overnight but I am determined to build on the progress we’ve made and continue the fight each and every day.”

For Toronto police’s blitz this week, parking Enforcement Officers and police officers from Traffic Services will be in the downtown core to tackle gridlock by ticketing and towing vehicles obstructing the rush-hour routes.

Since January 1, 2017, Parking Enforcement has issued 57,025 parking infractions and towed 11,884 vehicles from the city’s rush-hour routes.

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