Toronto Election: speed limits, photo radar, and bike lanes

1:50 p.m., July 22, 2018. Facing east on Davenport Road, a pedestrian pushing a walker moves through traffic. This week, municipal political candidates spoke about how to make the city’s streets safer.
1:50 p.m., July 22, 2018. Facing east on Davenport Road, a pedestrian pushing a walker moves through traffic. This week, municipal political candidates spoke about how to make the city’s streets safer.

Sept. 9, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

With Toronto’s municipal election six weeks away, mayoral and councillor candidates spoke about road safety this past week.

Mayor John Tory unveiled a photo radar pilot initiative on Tuesday near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue.

“This pilot will help us to understand the technology and make sure it’s ready to be included in the regulation, but also to understand [the city’s] administrative needs,” Tory said.

The city is not yet authorized to sanction drivers caught speeding. The program will run from September to December around the city.

Mayoral challenger Jennifer Keesmaat criticized the program on Thursday at an announcement near Jarvis and Wellesley Streets.

“I’m sorry, but it’s not enough to say we’re going to collect the data. It’s not enough to say we’re going to put up signs,” Keesmaat said, calling for all streets and sidewalks around school zones to be made “safe by design.”

Keesmaat also promised that if she is elected she will work to reduce the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h on residential roads throughout the city.    

“When we reduce the speed limit from 40 [km/h] to 30  [km/h], the percentage of deaths goes down significantly. This is something we can do immediately.”

Changing road speed limits and photo radar technologies are not the only mechanisms the city’s transportation department has used in making Toronto’s streets safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

John Filion, local councillor for Willowdale, responded to questions from reporters about plans for the north stretch on Yonge Street on Thursday at city hall, at a news conference to announce he will seek re-election (after previously announcing his retirement).

Asked about the creation of bike lanes in Willowdale, Filion said, “I don’t talk bike lanes in isolation. What we’re looking at is a remake of Yonge Street that turns into a main street and having bikes on that is fine, it’s not the main reason for doing it. The main reason for doing it is to create a main street.”