City of Toronto committed to improving road safety as students return to class

City of Toronto workers filling potholes on a road to promote road safety

The City of Toronto continues to take action through its Vision Zero Road Safety Plan to protect all students heading back to school this week.

The return to school increases vehicle traffic and the number of people walking or cycling, particularly in school zones. As students make their way back to class, the City encourages all road users to be mindful of their surroundings, share the road, stay alert and obey the rules to ensure everyone’s safety.

The City continues to implement several Vision Zero Road Safety Plan actions, programs and initiatives to protect students, parents, guardians and teachers on the roadway, including:

• Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE): The City’s 75 mobile speed cameras continue to rotate through Community Safety Zones. Tickets are issued to vehicles travelling in excess of the speed limit. ASE aims to increase road safety, reduce speeding and raise public awareness about the need to slow down and obey posted speed limits.
• The School Crossing Guards Program: 851 school crossing guards are placed at intersections across the city, to help children safely cross the street and remind people driving of the presence of pedestrians at key intersections.
• School Safety Zones: The City has installed 413 School Safety Zones around Toronto and aims to complete 80 more by year’s end. School Safety Zones include safety signs, pavement markings and stencils and driver feedback signs.
• Pedestrian Head Start Signals: Close to 1,200 intersections across the city are equipped with a Pedestrian Head Start Signal, allowing pedestrians to begin crossing the street before vehicles are permitted to proceed by delaying the green signal. This delay gives pedestrians the opportunity to establish a presence in the crosswalk, increasing their visibility and reducing conflicts with turning vehicles. Another 50 signals are planned to receive this safety treatment before the end of 2023.
• Speed limit reductions: The City is reducing the speed limit on local roads and public lanes in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough to 30 km/h on a systematic, ward-by-ward basis. This multi-year, data-driven effort will create a consistent 30 km/h speed limit on all local roads, to curb speeding and minimize traffic-related fatalities. The local speed limit has been reduced in six wards, with work continuing in the remaining 11 wards. The City also reduced the speed limit on 500 kilometres of arterial and collector roadways across Toronto, between November 2019 and the end of 2020.
• In-Road Flexible Speed Signs: The City continues to install In-Road Flexible Speed Signs to encourage compliance with the speed limit in high-priority areas, including in School Safety Zones. Installed in the centre of the road, the signs serve as a visual reminder of the posted speed limit and as a physical device to slow down vehicle speeds. More than 220 of these signs have been installed; 45 are to be installed before the end of 2023.

The City launched a public education campaign today to remind drivers to exercise caution, stay alert and watch out for school children. The campaign includes messages on safety around school buses, pedestrian crossovers, busy intersections and School Safety Zones.

In support of the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan, the City delivered 18 kilometres of new bikeways and 21 kilometres of bikeway upgrades in 2022. An additional 17 kilometres of bikeways are under construction and will be completed in future years. As well, the City began construction of 10 kilometres of new sidewalks in 2022, on streets with no sidewalks.

With an emphasis on enforcement, education and community engagement, the Toronto Police Service started conducting a Back-to-School Traffic Campaign yesterday, looking out for drivers who choose to speed or drive distracted, impaired or aggressively. Members of the Toronto Police Service will also be in School Safety Zones, targeting vehicles parked illegally or those potentially putting others at risk.

The City’s Safety Guide for School Children and Parents includes important information and advice on walking, cycling, wheeling, driving or taking the bus to and from school:

The Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is a comprehensive action plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets. With more than 50 safety measures across seven emphasis areas, the plan prioritizes the safety of Toronto’s most vulnerable road users: people who walk and cycle, schoolchildren and older adults.


“As students head back to school today, we should all take a little more care to ensure our city’s youngest residents are safe crossing the street or walking to school.  We all have a part to play to make sure our streets are safe for everyone including cyclists, students and vulnerable road users. While there’s more work to do, the City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan is our strategic blueprint for not only reducing traffic-related fatalities and injuries, but also for creating a safer environment for everyone, especially our students.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow

“I encourage all road users to exercise increased caution as students head back to school this week. Slow down, be aware and respect the rules of the road, to help ensure the safety of children and youth in our communities.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee

SOURCE: City Of Toronto

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