On July 16, 2019 Toronto City Council adopted Vision Zero 2.0 – Road Safety Update. The new plan, developed by Transportation Services staff, takes a more robust, proactive and targeted approach to eliminating serious injury and fatalities on Toronto’s roads. TCAT Director Nancy Smith Lea made a deputation in support of the plan, as did our #BuildTheVisionTO community road safety partners. We were encouraged to see several of our campaign recommendations move forward including reducing speeds, road design improvements, and safer crossings at TTC stops.
One of the Council amendments to the new plan directs staff to use a complete streets approach at the outset of all road reconstruction projects. A complete streets approach includes incorporating safety improvements such as vehicle lane width reductions, tightening curb radii, widening sidewalks, and adding bike lanes. This motion doesn’t actually represent a change in policy direction as Toronto’s 2014 Official Plan amendment includes a Complete Streets policy and Toronto’s Complete Streets Guidelines were released in 2017. However, during the June 27, 2019 Infrastructure and Environment Committee discussion on this topic, staff clarified that this motion further formalizes direction from Council and provides staff with additional support to build Complete Streets.
As TCAT’s Yvonne Verlinden posed last year, Complete Streets and Vision Zero share a common focus on road safety, and combining the two is a powerful strategy that we hope will result in profoundly safer streets.