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FORUM: Safer streets for bikes and pedestrians (Mar. 2020)

March 24th, 2020 · No Comments

Redesigning the roads with necessary rules

By Mike Layton

There are changes coming to local road infrastructure that will be a big step towards improving safety for all road users in our neighbourhoods. These changes will bring a new bike lane on Brunswick to just south of the Annex, connecting to a larger cycling route which includes Shaw, Bloor, and College in the surrounding area. This work will occur alongside efforts to upgrade existing bikeways, resurface roads, refresh speed humps, set parking back from corners to improve sight lines, and other changes aimed at making our roads safer for all who use them. 

Through public consultation that began last fall, the City worked to learn about residents’ priorities for their street and shared the planned route through the neighbourhood. In response to the feedback received through this process, the City took steps to address issues with accessibility and access for residents with disabilities. 

Prohibiting right turns on red lights is a simple way to reduce collisions between drivers and pedestrians.

As with every project Transportation Services undertakes, this design is subject to evaluation and review. I am dedicated to working with staff while changes are monitored, and if the street is not working as intended, to augment the design as necessary. In the first six to twelve months after installation, Transportation Services will observe new behaviour, conduct new traffic counts, and evaluate the before and after conditions to ensure the project meets the goals as intended. If there are operational challenges, further changes could be considered. 

Feedback and dialogue is the basis of how I work to make change, and I welcome those who haven’t participated in the process to reach out to me. For those who have shared their thoughts, I want to thank you for taking the time to engage in the consultation process. Your comments were crucial in the decision-making process and improved the overall design of the streets. 

I have recently asked staff to explore a restriction on right turns on red lights (RTOR) at selected intersections to improve road safety. In February, I sent a letter to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee chair to consider the growing call to implement this measure as a part of our Vision Zero road safety principles. Prohibiting RTOR is a simple way to reduce collisions between drivers and pedestrians. In the majority of reported collisions, it was the pedestrian who had the right of way. 

While the City currently has a warranting system in place to address requests for RTOR prohibitions, there is an opportunity to proactively review the restrictions and how they will apply to selected intersections to make the road safer for all road users. My letter to committee asked for staff to include a review of RTOR in their speed limit reduction strategy later this year. While it may not work for all intersections, the change could prove to be another significant way to help us meet our Vision Zero target. 

If you have questions, or want more information on any of these developments, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You can also visit for the latest on this, and other City-related issues. 

Mike Layton is city councillor for University—Rosedale Ward 19.


Tags: Annex · Opinion