On July 16 (Tuesday), the Toronto City Council passed the “Vision Zero 2.0 - Road Safety Plan Update” presented by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
Among them, the speed of following 3 north-south arteries in Ward 23 Scarborough North had to be slowed down but Councillor Cynthia Lai proposed an amended motion to postpone the decision of lowering the speed of the 3 major roads from 60 km to 50 km. Her amendment was passed by 16 votes in favor and 10 votes against:
- Brimley Road (between Sheppard Ave. East and Steeles Ave. East)
- Markham Road (between Milner Ave. and Steeles Ave. East)
- McCowan Road (between Milner Ave. and Steeles Ave. East)
Councillor Lai stressed that the proposed amendment does not mean negating the measures in the report. She has always been very concerned about the road safety problem in Scarborough. Speed reduction will undoubtedly reduce road casualties. The report said that a 5% reduction in speed will help reduce the number of casualties by about 20%. If a pedestrian is knocked down by a car with a speed of 70 kilometers per hour, the probability of death can be said to be 100%. If the speed is reduced to 50 kilometers, the probability of death can be reduced to 85% and if the speed is reduced to 40 kilometers, it can be reduced to 30%.
Speed reduction is important but other factors must be considered, including: strengthening road safety education, enhancing the safety awareness of pedestrians and aggravating penalties for offenders (such as using speedometers to prosecute speeding drivers, to give tickets to jaywalkers and offending cyclists). In her amendment, Councillor Lai pointed out that the City must get more data-driven statistics to decide which measures should be deployed on different roads (such as limiting speed, improving road design and increasing mid-block crossings). It is not advisable to slow down road speed until all factors are considered as it will affect the traffic of surrounding streets and communities.
Moreover, on her webpage, WeChat and Facebook, Councillor Lai also asked the residents to express their views. Most believe that it is necessary to consult first and then develop a comprehensive plan. What many residents are worried about is the road safety of the local streets and the school zone. Some school children have caused accidents because they do not follow the rules of crossing. Therefore, some residents have asked for additional crossing guards.
Councillor Lai said that road safety must also take into account the actual situation in law enforcement, such as police manpower and funding. The community badly needs the police to step up patrols to maintain law and order. If only the traffic signs are erected but will not be able to correspond with police force, speed reduction will be ineffective but increases the daily workload of the police. Councillor Lai said that she would arrange a townhall meeting as soon as possible to get residents' views on road safety and then submit a motion to introduce a road safety measure that is more comprehensive and meets the needs of the community.