This week Toronto had another reminder of how arterial streets are dangerous places. On Monday, eight people in Toronto were hit within a 45 minute period. While details on most of the collisions are sparse, the two where a location was provided occurred on wide streets where the speed limit was over 50km/hr. This is not surprising as it is on these types of streets where 2/3 of all pedestrian fatalities occur.
Police responded to the rash of accidents by advising people to wear light-coloured clothing to be more conspicuous. The Ontario Safety League echoed the statement saying “pedestrians simply need to be more visible during this time of year, when the days are getting shorter.”
Brighter clothes might help in some instances, but if we want to make walking and driving safer we need to change streets, not just clothes. In September, the Ontario Chief Coroner released a Pedestrian Death Review.The review contained a range of recommendations to prevent accidents on streets like those picture on the right. They include:
- Reducing the number of travel lanes
- Installing wide parking lanes
- Reducing the width of travel lanes, in concert with the introduction of cycling lanes
- Installing centre medians
- Introducing road diets
- Installing automated traffic enforcement systems which are scientifically validated and strategically located
It is time that we start discussing these recommendations to improve safety on Toronto’s dangerous streets.