A-plus road safety starts with school zones
BY SHELLEY CARROLL
On Tuesday morning, Zoomer Radio called asking if I could go on air to discuss school safety zones. "Why would a radio station focused on seniors' issues want to talk about school safety zones?" I thought. I then remembered that unsafe school drop-off areas are almost always brought to my attention by a concerned senior who has witnessed many near misses between a car and a child.
Later that morning, Zoomer called back to say that Mayor Tory would be speaking with them on this important topic instead. That was A-okay with me — it's important for all road users to understand that the Mayor and every member of Council is committed to ending pedestrian deaths. After all, Vision Zero is a non-partisan commitment.
Why school zones?
School zones are evenly dispersed throughout the city. If one of the first things a driver sees on their morning ride to work is a new or updated school safety zone, they will be reminded to pay close attention to everyone using the road throughout their entire commute. By working with over 600 school sites, we hope to gradually adopt safer streets across Toronto.
Everyone wants children to be safe — that’s a no-brainer. But pedestrian deaths are happening more frequently these days in every demographic. Despite this fact, "War on the Car" rhetoric still runs rampant.
So, I'll say it: we need a war on bad driving behaviour.
No politician, traffic planner or police officer is trying to make cars go away. We are, however, fully invested in having people improve their driving habits.
Hearing from you
I know many of you are passionate about this topic. That's why my team and I have a couple of events planned this month that will pique your interest.
We're holding a Road Safety Town Hall on Saturday, September 28th with Vision Zero staff to inform you about the next phase of this plan and get your feedback. The town hall will be held from 2-4PM at Forest Grove United Church. More details in the poster below.
I'm also excited about our road safety pop-up with 8 80 Cities on Pineway Boulevard. From September 29 to October 4, a section of Pineway will be temporarily transformed to show how quick and simple design elements can be introduced to create safer streets for all.
This will be one of three pop-up street makeovers in Toronto and is an important step in addressing the neighbourhood’s concerns about speeding and pedestrian safety. The data and feedback gathered from this pop-up will help inform future road improvements in the area.
I look forward to meeting you at these events and working with you to make our roads — in Don Valley North and across Toronto — safer for everyone.
Park naming update
I want to thank the many people who answered the City's recent survey about choosing an Indigenous name — Ethennonnhawahstihnen’ — for the spectacular new park near Bessarion subway station. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which is wonderful news for the Wendat Nation who first made their homes there.
Multiple respondents also suggested we follow the lead of New Zealand communities who provided pronunciation guides when they began their own Indigenous renaming strategy. My creative staff team got me out bright and early on Labour Day to shoot the video below. Have a look:
If you didn't get a chance to respond to the survey, you can reply to this e-blast and we will make sure your comments are recorded. We are also holding a public meeting next week to tell you more about the story behind the name and gather more feedback. The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 6PM at the Mountain Equipment Co-op.
I understand that previously, the park and the street adjacent to it were given official names without your input. This time, we consulted the Wendat community and now we're consulting you. We hope you can join us.