Automated Micro Devices
On Sept 29, 2021, the Ministry of Transportation posted a proposal on automated micro-utility devices soliciting feedback by November 15, 2021, on a regulatory framework for a provincial pilot project under the Highway Traffic Act. This pilot would allow remote-controlled micro-utility devices, including automated personal delivery devices, for use primarily off-road in places such as sidewalks in Ontario municipalities. This proposal broadly covers devices that will not be defined as a motor vehicle in Ontario, are task-oriented, and operated to primarily provide services such as the delivery of goods and not passengers, and for operation primarily off-road on sidewalks.
Transportation staff reviewed this issue and submitted comments to the Province after receiving feedback from the Toronto Accessibiity Advisory Committee. Members of the committee as well as deputants pressed that Toronto must work to remove barriers faced by people living with disabilities. This pilot would be yet another dangerous hazard in the public realm for anyone with low mobility, low vision, or using a mobility device as well as children and senior residents.
The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee unanimously adopted a motion recommending that City Council prohibit the use of, and parking, storing or leaving of micro-utility devices on sidewalks and cycle tracks. Such devices are already prohibited on footpaths, pedestrian ways, and bike lanes, and similar clarity is required for sidewalks and cycle tracks.
On December 2, 2021, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee City adopted the recommendations of the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee with additional motions to amend Municipal Code Chapter 886, 950 and 610 and to introduce the necessary bills to give effect to the decisions.
City Council adopted the motions with amendments at the December 15, 2021 meeting. Recommendation #1 was modified to read as follows:
City Council prohibit the use of automated micro-utility devices on sidewalks and cycle tracks, prohibit the parking, storing, or leaving of automated micro-utility devices on highways or sidewalks, and prohibit the stopping of automated micro-utility devices in a cycle track, until the Ontario Ministry of Transportation pilot project is implemented and City Council decides whether to opt-in to the proposed pilot project or forgo participation.
Councillor McKelvie also put motions forward that were approved to (1) issue a Transportation Innovation Challenge in the first half of 2022 to research, explore and support local economic development with respect to micro-utility devices; (2) to consult with various groups and interested stakeholders and members of the public on the potential impacts and benefits from the use of micro-utility devices and report back to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee in the second quarter of 2022 and (3) to report outcomes of the Transportation Innovation Challenge, results from public consultation, best practices in municipal policy and details of the Ministry of Transportation’s pilot project to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
Street Safety in Toronto
On August 20th, 18-year-old Miguel Joshua Escanan lost his life at Avenue Road and Bloor Street when he was struck by a cement truck passing him in the curb lane. This death is a direct result of a lack of action to create protected bike lanes on major roads, and to regulate and ensure safer trucks on city streets.
The Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Associations, on behalf of a number of named organizations, submitted a letter to the leaders of the major Federal political parties, requesting that they urgently make safe active transportation a key priority in each of their Election platforms, including:
- Funding – require safe and easy access for active transportation with all infrastructure funding
- Zero-emission vehicle incentive – include cycling in zero-emission vehicle incentive programs
- Active transportation commuting incentive – create incentives for commuters who use active transportation
- Safer trucks – develop safety standards for trucks and mandate safer trucks on Canada’s roads.
Results of Fireworks Bylaw Review – Online Public Survey
Did you participate in the Survey that was open from Feb 19-Mar 5, 2021? Are you interested in the Summary of Findings from the Survey – click here. This Report for Action was presented to the Economic and Community Development Committee on April 13, 2021. An enhanced public education and outreach plan was defined, including the following tactics: ad campaign, social media campaign, News releases, revamped City of Toronto webpage, 311 Knowledge Base; Vendor education, City Parks.
The Crosswalk Company
Perhaps you have noticed the crossing flags that are set up at the corners of Jedburgh/Fairlawn and Jedburgh/Brookdale? The four corners at each intersection have a supply of flags and instructions attached to a sign post. We believe the program was first initiated in Leaside – it is a community implemented program. Read about it at https://crosswalkcompany.org/.
Armour Heights Public School Pedestrian Safety
Update October 24, 2018
Good news – Community Safety Zone signs have been installed both ways on Wilson to cover the area near Armour Heights Public School. There is also a “Watch your Speed” sign on Wilson, westbound between Yonge Boulevard and Saunders.
SAHRA and residents who live near the Armour Heights Public School have been involved with the review of pedestrian safety issues in the area near the School since June, 2016. The concerns also included traffic congestion and on-street parking with pedestrian safety being the most important one.
There was an on site visits with the Councillor and City Traffic staff, traffic analysis reports have been reviewed and meetings/discussions have been held. On March 30, 2018, SAHRA submitted a letter to Councillor Carmichael Greb, the Principal and the TDSB Trustee Jennifer Arp calling upon the city and the school board to investigate, separately and together as appropriate to answer questions raised.
SAHRA Letter March 30, 2018: 2018-03-30 SAHRA AHPS pedestrian safety
The Councillor responded on April 3, 2018 that they have asked a representative from the Vision Zero team to conduct a further review of the school zone around Armour Heights to recommend potential measures to make this area safer. On May 22, 2018 we were advised that Transportation Services Engineers from the Vision Zero team and Traffic Operations are reviewing and discussing the site internally to see what proactive measures can be implemented – they would update us once a full review and recommendation have been put forward. SAHRA has not received a response to our June 1, 2018 question as to what date has been established for City staff to make their recommendation.
Community Safety Zones
City Council’s meeting on June 26, 27 and 28, 2018 considered adding all schools Kindergarten through Grade 8 to the list of Community Safety Zones. This would include Wilson Avenue between Avenue Road and Yonge Boulevard, near Armour Heights Public School.
What would this mean: It’s all about the maximum speed limit and how it is enforced.
Currently within Ontario, the area within 150 metres of a school is designated a School Zone. A municipality can reduce the speed limit in a School Zone on days when school is regularly held. Toronto has not decided to reduce the speed at Armour Heights PS.
However, under a Community Safety Zone:
– immediately, speeding fines would be doubled
– if the Provincial government so decides, upon proclamation of the appropriate section of the Safer School Zones Act, 2017 , automated speed enforcement would be allowed (perhaps photo-radar).
Signs would be posted to indicate the beginning and end of each Community Safety Zone.
SAHRA is not sure that this will do much for safety around Armour Heights PS because speeding isn’t the issue. Generally, there is enough congestion to slow down traffic, sometimes to a crawl.
But the City will undertake the School Zone safety reviews. Due to the fact that there are 754 Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools in the city, several engineering firms will be hired to perform the reviews. The city states, “It is anticipated that the assignment would be tendered and awarded over the summer with work on the reviews commencing as early as Q4 2018 with recommendations from the reviews being implemented in 2019 onward.” Clearly, it will take some time for these reviews to be completed and any recommendations to be implemented.
For more details:
City report for the upcoming City Council agenda item PW30.5:
https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2018/pw/bgrd/backgroundfile-115774.pdfTDSB document, “Traffic School Management Plan”:
News Release – Toronto Media Relations – March 19, 2018
Mayor Tory announces next steps in Vision Zero Road Safety Plan for school zones.
The City of Toronto announced several new initiatives to improve road safety and to enforce the message “slow down Toronto” in school zones. These initiatives, to be launched in the next few weeks, are part of the City’s $86-million Vision Zero Road Safety Plan and will coincide with a Toronto Police Service school zone safety campaign.
Mayor John Tory, joined by Deputy Chief Peter Yuen from the Toronto Police Service, Yvonne de Wit, Director of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention with Toronto Public Health, and Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services, made the announcement today at Cornell Junior Public School in Scarborough.
“The safety of all pedestrians, but particularly children, must be a priority in this city. One pedestrian death is one too many,” said Mayor Tory. We are working to prevent these deaths and protect our residents across the city. We all have a responsibility to share our streets in a courteous and safe way. I am committed to making sure all those who use our roads – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – can get where they need to go as safely and efficiently as possible.”
“These tragedies are unacceptable,” said Deputy Chief Yuen. “Toronto Police Service is committed to doing everything we can to make our roads safer. Over the next two weeks, officers will be paying special attention to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who commit traffic violations that may jeopardize pedestrian safety in school zones.”
Measures planned for the first quarter of 2018 in school zones:
• The Toronto Police Service will begin a two-week “Slow Down Toronto” campaign in school zones beginning on March 19 to support the City of Toronto’s Vision Zero initiative. This campaign will see a focus on traffic enforcement and driver education on speed, distracted driving and aggressive driving, which are all seen as contributing factors to killed and seriously injured collisions.
• Toronto will begin a one-year pilot project to provide new flexible in-road traffic calming signs in 12 school zones across the city. These new signs will be placed in the middle of the roadway as a reminder to motorists that they are in a school zone and to slow down. These signs are not traffic-control devices and are not to be confused with pedestrian crossing locations. Pedestrians are advised to cross at intersections, traffic signals or crosswalks as usual.
• The City is accelerating the School Safety Zone program and will be retrofitting 80 schools in 2018, up from original plans to retrofit 20 schools annually.
Across the city, Transportation Services staff will conduct comprehensive reviews beyond the immediate frontage of schools for additional safety improvements in a larger footprint around the school, aimed at improving the safety of routes children take when walking to school. The City will continue to look for opportunities to implement various safety measures in front of schools, such as:
• new school zone safety signs with flashing beacons
• school zone pavement stencils
• “watch your speed” driver feedback signs
• zebra markings at school crosswalks
• examination of placing a school crossing guard at major crossings, and
• traffic calming measures beyond the frontage of schools.
“The safety of all road users remains my top priority. We are committed to reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and will be aggressively implementing a number of measures to make Toronto’s roads safer,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
Several other initiatives are planned for 2018, including:
• implementing an automated speed enforcement pilot
• reducing crossing distances via painted curb extensions
• introducing a mobile “watch your speed” program
• installing more senior safety zones and pedestrian safety corridors, and
• conducting more safety audits, making cyclist safety improvements and more.
A Backgrounder with further details is available at https://nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F2HL9V6S&data=02%7C01%7C%7C911192c7640c4c49d22d08d58d8f4149%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636570568769444143&sdata=b3%2BHZY3xN7cdKwYoVymv4K5M6htKy8mA%2F%2B41os8snL0%3D&reserved=0.