Latest Issues

Walk Toronto comments on Leaside Traffic Calming Plan

Walk Toronto was asked to comment on the draft Leaside Traffic Calming Plan (PDF), prepared by the Leaside Property Owners’ Association.

Walk Toronto’s Dylan Reid and Michael Black prepared comments on the plan and submitted them to the association. Overall, the authors were impressed by the plan and excited for it to become a model for neighbourhoods across Toronto, but they also had some suggestions for ways to improve it even more.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto deputes about the Harmonized By-law and Fees for Sidewalk Cafés, Parklets and Marketing Displays

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, Walk Toronto submitted comments and deputed in person at the Economic and Community Development Committee regarding the Harmonized By-law and Fees for Sidewalk Cafés, Parklets and Marketing Displays.

The comments were written by Daniella Levy-Pinto with input from Vivien Leong and Michael Black, and the deputation was presented in person by Michael Black.

Walk Toronto’s deputation supported the harmonized by-law but proposed some amendments to improve accessibility and accountability, proposals that were also made by other accessibility advocates who deputed. The harmonized by-law was passed, along with amendments that addressed some of the concerns and proposals raised by Walk Toronto and other groups.

Quote:

Walk Toronto supports City staff recommendations for the proposed Harmonized By-law and Fees for Sidewalk Cafés, Parklets and Marketing Displays. Although these changes are not perfect, we commend City staff for their efforts in striking a balance between maintaining the street vibrancy provided by sidewalk cafés, and improving accessibility for pedestrians. We believe that the harmonized by-law adheres to Complete Streets principles, treating sidewalk users, businesses and their patrons equitably.

Right to Walk
Events

Right to Walk TO: Justice, equity, and the Toronto walking experience

Walk Toronto invites you to celebrate our sixth anniversary with Right to Walk TO, a panel discussion that explores walking – the love of it, our need for it, and its meaning – through a justice and equity lens.

This event is a love letter to walking, as well as a critical look at the walking experience our city creates, from different perspectives.

Speakers

We have a fantastic, dynamic group of speakers whom we’ve challenged to think about their work a little differently, and we’re excited to bring the conversation to you.

Speaker panel:

The format is brief presentations by the speakers followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A from the audience. We are delighted to have engaged as our moderator Zahra Ebrahim, Urbanist, Professor, and Human-centred Designer.

Date, Time and Location

Tue, 26 March 2019
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
Innis Town Hall
Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
View Map

Schedule

6:30 PM — Doors Open, Sign-in, Snacks
7:00 PM — Panel Discussion and Q&A
8:45 PM — Wrap-up and Networking
The event is free but registration is required.

See the Eventbrite page for more details and to register.

We thank our event sponsors: University of Toronto Urban Studies ProgramUniversity of Toronto School of Citiespublic space workshop,and Spacing. This event would not be possible without their generous support.

Events

Save the Date: Come celebrate Walk Toronto’s sixth anniversary on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Walk Toronto is hosting Right to Walk,  an event that explores walking – the love of it, our need for it, and its meaning – through a justice and equity lens.

We have a fantastic, dynamic group of speakers whom we’ve challenged to think about their work a little differently, and we’re excited to bring the conversation to you. Speaker list will be released shortly.

Tuesday March 26, 2019
7:00-9:00PM

Innis Town Hall
Innis College, University of Toronto
2 Sussex Avenue
Toronto, ON M5S 1J5

Current event sponsors include University of Toronto Urban Studies Program, University of Toronto School of Cities, Public Space Workshop, and Spacing Magazine.

Resources

Examples of past City of Toronto pedestrian collision reports

For many years, the City of Toronto published one-page breakdowns of the statistics about collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in Toronto, and posted them in the “walking” section of the City of Toronto website. They stopped publishing them sometime after 2011, and recently the old reports seem to have disappeared from the website. (Instead, we now have some open data, which has interesting visualizations but only provides statistics on deaths and serious injuries, not all collisions, which does not give a full picture).

Walk Toronto’s Dylan Reid had saved some of the old pedestrian collision reports, so they are republished here for reference.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto co-signs letter asking for equitable geographic representation on City committees

Walk Toronto has co-signed a letter from multiple community groups to Mayor Tory, members of the Striking Committee, and all of Toronto City Council asking that all of the four newly merged Standing Committees of City Council include at least one member from each of the four Community Council areas (Etobicoke-York, North York, Toronto-East York, Scarborough).

In the second half of the previous council term, there was no representative from Toronto-East York on the Public Works and Infrastructure committee, responsible for transportation, even though many critical transportation issues affected this part of the city.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto calls for Ontario government to maintain multimodal mandate for Metrolinx

Walk Toronto is calling on the Government of Ontario to reverse its plan to strip the regional transportation agency Metrolinx of its mandate to develop an “integrated, multimodal transportation network” for the Greater Toronto Area.

The province’s omnibus Bill 57 currently includes a provision to change this mandate to just “an integrated transit network”, removing any responsibility for, among other issues, integrating walking and cycling with the transit system. Furthermore, Bill 57 eliminates references in the original Act to taking into consideration all modes of transportation, including walking and cycling.

The bill is being discussed at the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs this week (week of Dec. 3, 2018).

Walk Toronto has submitted a detailed assessment of the issue to the standing committee, prepared by Walk Toronto steering committee member Michael Black.

Walk Toronto’s main concern with Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, is in regards to Schedule 25, which amends the Metrolinx Act, 2006. We recommend that section 2 of Bill 57 (p. 64-66) be stricken out, and that the original provisions of sections 5 and 6 of the Metrolinx Act, 2006 be preserved in their entirety.

In Walk Toronto’s view, narrowing the focus of Metrolinx’s activities will lead to disinvestment in the provision of ‘first and last mile’ access to GO stations and surface transit stops for pedestrians, leading to:

  • A more dangerous, stressful, polluted and less convenient walking experience for those GO customers who still choose to begin and/or end their trip on foot
  • A decrease in the viability of any future, transit-oriented development, the success of which relies not just on good transit but also on good pedestrian connections
  • An increase in vehicular congestion both at and within the general proximity of GO stations
  • A significant rise in the need for additional parking for GO customers, resulting in Inflated costs of up to $1 billion
  • A shifting of resources towards the periphery of GO’s catchment area at the expense of major urban areas (which are particularly dependent on multimodal access) …
  • Putting the prospects of projects such as SmartTrack at risk

Read the full report (PDF) to see further details and analysis.

Image of pedestrians, cyclists and streetcar
Latest Issues

#BuildTheVisionTO Election Survey Results Released

Walk Toronto partnered with the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, 8 80 Cities, Friends and Families for Safe Streets,  and Cycle Toronto to develop an election survey for the 2018 Toronto municipal election. The coalition released the results of their election survey, #BuildTheVisionTO, on October 18, 2018.

One third of city council candidates running in next week’s election and ten mayoral candidates (including the top two contenders) responded to the survey. Their answers were overwhelmingly positive. The survey asked candidates to commit to 15 priorities for building streets where people of all ages and abilities can get around actively, sustainably and safely.

Beyond election candidates, the 15 priorities have also drawn support from more than a dozen associations, organizations and community leaders, including academics, healthcare practitioners, road safety organizations, and advocates for people with disabilities.

The priorities with the lowest support, although still majority support, were outlawing right turns on red and reducing speeds to 30km/hr on residential streets and 40km/hr on collector and arterial roads, at 64% and 78% councillor candidate support respectively.

Right turns account for 13% of pedestrian injuries or fatalities in Toronto, and banning turns on red would increase safety significantly for many vulnerable road users. In much of Europe and the Commonwealth, including Germany, Poland, France, Russia and the Czech Republic, right turns on red are forbidden unless otherwise posted. Many of the candidates who responded “no,” stated that they would be open to banning right hand turns at some specific intersections.

Speed kills – a pedestrian struck by a vehicle travelling 50 km/h is five times more likely to die than if they are hit at 30 km/h. Vision Zero recognizes that reducing speeds is a critical component of preventing traffic fatalities, and many cities worldwide have moved to lower default speeds (for example, in Dublin earlier this year). Again, many candidates who responded “no” to this question said they would be interested in some speed reductions (for example, on residential streets), or in speed reductions paired with road re-designs and enhanced enforcement to ensure that new speed limits would actually result in lower speeds.

Responses from candidates were not evenly spread across the city. In particular, nearly all responses received from incumbents came from the downtown core. This trend is worrying, since the majority of serious injuries and deaths occur in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough. Road safety is a pressing concern across the city, and we urge the Mayor and all elected councillors to make it a priority as they look ahead to the next four years.

“We cannot accept that people continue being killed or seriously injured in Toronto while going about their business. Everyone, regardless of age or ability, should be able to cross the street and get around safely. The responses to #BuildTheVisionTO show widespread support for changes to prevent more tragedies in our streets. It is time for politicians to make the bold decisions required to prioritize people’s lives.”

– Daniella Levy-Pinto, Spokesperson, Walk Toronto

Latest Issues

Four questions for your city council candidates

Cross with confidence

You can help build safe and active streets for all ages by supporting candidates for council who are pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

Walk Toronto has partnered with other active transportation and safety groups to create #BuildTheVisionTO, a campaign to make walking and cycling initiatives a key part of the current municipal election campaign.

Here are four questions Walk Toronto contributed to the campaign. Ask your council candidates about these ideas when you see them on your doorstep, in the street, or at an all-candidates’ meeting.

  1. Do you support building sidewalks on every street being reconstructed?
  2. Do you support ensuring that sidewalks have a minimum 2.1 metre pedestrian clearway on all arterial and collector roads?
  3. Do you support prioritizing the safety of vulnerable road users by outlawing motor vehicle right turns on red lights?
  4. Do you support implementing controlled crossings at all bus and streetcar stops?

For the complete set of questions, see the #BuildTheVisionTO one-pager (PDF) on the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation website.

Children playing safe streets quiz
Events

Highlights of Open Streets, September 2018

Walk Toronto was pleased to participate in Open Streets on Sept. 16, 2018. We had several activities to engage those walking and cycling on Yonge Street, where we set up our booth north of Wellesley.

With “Walk a block for a new vision”, Walk Toronto steering committee member Daniella Levy-Pinto, who is blind, explained  how to walk using a white cane. Steering committee member Judith Kidd and volunteer Edith Sinclair accompanied the passers-by who took up the challenge — including two Toronto police officers — as they walked along the sidewalk with their eyes closed, using only the cane for guidance, and identified the location of the crosswalk using tactile paving.

White cane demonstration with police officers

White cane demonstration

With the safe streets quiz, visitors were challenged to match safe streets words (such as bulb-out, sneckdown, chicane, and zebra crossing) with images. Both adults and children got engaged!

Children playing safe streets quiz

Safe streets quiz

Finally, as part of our accessibility theme we invited Be Alink to demonstrate the Alinker, an innovative new mobility device. Writer Lloyd Alter was taking part in open streets and he was so taken by the Alinker that he interviewed Be and wrote a column about it the next day!

Be Alink with the Alinker

We also handed out information about our #BuildTheVisionTO campaign, a coalition with other active transportation groups to create safe and active streets for all in Toronto.

Walk Toronto is grateful to volunteers Kathleen Luckhart and Edith Sinclair for all their help on the day, and to Evergreen for lending us the tent.