Latest Issues

Walk Toronto seeks explanation for increased speed limit signs posted before council vote

City council voted on a proposal to increase the speed limit on part of Bayview Ave. from 50 km/hr to 60 km/hr – reversing a speed limit reduction that was part of Toronto’s Road Safety Plan – on December 8, 2017. However, increased speed limit signs were posted on Bayview before the measure was approved by council, as noted in several photographs taken by witnesses.

Walk Toronto has written to Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services for the City of Toronto to seek an explanation as to why these signs were posted before the change was approved by council, contrary to proper democratic procedure..

Walk Toronto also asks what measures Transportation Services is taking to address the amendment directing Transportation Services to implement pedestrian safety measures on Bayview Ave.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto calls for Lawrence Park sidewalks

The City is tearing up all of the streets in the Lawrence Park neighbourhood to fix the water system. But when it rebuilds the streets, it’s not planning to add sidewalks to more than a small minority of the streets, contrary to the City’s own policies. Local residents have been fighting for more sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety, and Walk Toronto’s Michael Black prepared a comprehensive report on why they are needed. The report was presented to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee when it considered the plan.

Read Michael Black’s full report (PDF)

Read the PWIC agenda item

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto supports the Safer School Zones Act

Walk Toronto’s Maureen Coyle made a presentation to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on General Government about Bill 65, the Safer School Zones Act.

“We’re encouraged that the Legislature is considering a bill to help create safer streets by holding unsafe drivers accountable and by enacting specific steps to protect schoolchildren and elders. The proposals in Bill 65 are innovations that we know, from available data, have a positive impact on road safety in North America and elsewhere”

Read the presentation

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto seeks to restore Re-Imagining Yonge project in North York

Ahead of the February 2016 City Council meeting, councillor David Shiner moved in Executive Committee to defer funding included in the City budget for the Re-Imagining Yonge project. This move also jeopardized $2 million in matching funding from the Federal Government.

The Re-Imagining Yonge project would transform Yonge St. in North York into a beautiful pedestrian-friendly boulevard, with wide sidewalks, trees, a median, fewer lanes of traffic, and bike lanes.

Walk Toronto submitted a communication to City Council calling on it to restore funding for this project.

Postscript: City Council voted 24-20 against restoring the funding. Mayor Tory was among those voting against.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto urges Ontario’s Transportation Minister to expand scope of safety cameras

Ontario’s Minister of Transportation recently announced plans to allow safety cameras to enforce speed limits in school and safety zones. But speed is an issue for pedestrian safety on all city streets, so Walk Toronto has sent a letter to the Minister urging him to expand the legislation to allow safety cameras on all city streets.

Read the letter (PDF)

Latest Issues

Study on Wintertime Slips and Falls in Toronto

Walk Toronto has been working for several years to improve sidewalk snow clearing in Toronto. One of our initiatives was to approach Toronto Public Health about doing a study that brings together the evidence about the impact of slips and falls during the winter.

At the October 14, 2016 Board of Health meeting, Toronto Public Health presented their report “Preventing Injuries from Wintertime Slips and Falls in Toronto,” which was adopted by the Board. The report gathers together statistical evidence from Toronto and studies from other cities to show the serious negative impacts of wintertime slips and falls, both in terms of the health of individuals and the cost to public finances. The report also makes several useful recommendations about how the City of Toronto can improve sidewalk snow clearing and thus reduce the number of wintertime slips and falls.

Walk Toronto’s Dylan Reid gave a deputation in person at the Board of Health meeting, supporting the adoption of the report and encouraging the City to implement its recommendations.

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto writes to Deputy City Manager about choice of next General Manager, Transportation Services

Walk Toronto has written a letter to John Livey, Deputy City Manager, Cluster B at the City of Toronto, about the upcoming hiring of a new General Manager, Transportation Services for the municipal government.

Walk Toronto emphasized the importance of this decision for Toronto’s pedestrians. The letter says, in part:

Walk Toronto feels that it is essential for Toronto to choose someone who is fully in tune with the new reality of North American cities – where walking (along with cycling and transit) is no longer an afterthought but rather a primary focus of transportation policy. Toronto needs someone who has a vision for a sustainable city where walking is fully accessible, safe, and appealing, and who is able and willing to begin a transformation of the City of Toronto’s transportation policy to meet this new reality.

Read the full text of the letter (PDF)

Latest Issues

Walk Toronto deputations about Toronto’s Road Safety Plan

On Tuesday, June 20, 2016, Maureen Coyle, a member of the Walk Toronto steering committee, gave an in-person deputation at City Hall presenting Walk Toronto’s position about the proposed Road Safety Plan to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Coyle argued that, given the limitations and piecemeal nature of the Plan, which would not come close to achieving a “Vision Zero” goal, the plan should be referred back to staff for further enhancement.

The Road Safety Plan is the blueprint this city will use for the creation of a public realm built for shared use that will be in place for decades – if not for generations – to come. It is arguably the most important Public Works project of this council term, and likely one of the most significant municipal policies of the 21st Century. To approach road safety from the perspective of selected improvements and inconsistently applied policy changes, as the plan before this committee does, is a mistake.

Read Maureen Coyle’s full deputation (PDF).

As well, Daniella Levy-Pinto, also a member of Walk Toronto’s steering committee, gave an in-person deputation from the perspective of someone who is completely blind. She noted that people with disabilities are not mentioned as a key target group for improved safety in the plan, and described some of the key dangers she faces that are not sufficiently addressed in the plan as it currently stands.

We need policies to minimize the consequences of human error, and the funds to implement the necessary infrastructure changes. Please do not settle for a plan that will stop short from keeping all pedestrians like myself safe. As elected officials, you have the opportunity to lead the City in the right direction, and the responsibility to stop preventable deaths in our streets.

Read Daniella Levy-Pinto’s full deputation (PDF)

The Road Safety Plan was passed unanimously by the Committee, but with amendments aimed at enhancing its reach and funding.

Maureen Coyle was quoted in articles about the meeting in The Toronto Star and Metro Toronto.

Latest Issues

Active Transportation Groups Call on Federal Government to Fund Pedestrian & Cycling Infrastructure

Walk Toronto has joined with the Toronto Environmental Alliance and Cycle Toronto in calling on the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi, to include walking and cycling projects in the major infrastructure investments planned for the next four years.

Walking and cycling meet all three of the federal infrastructure plan’s priorities: transportation, environmental improvements, and building communities. There are numerous “shovel-ready” projects that improve walking and cycling awaiting funding in Toronto, including the Eglinton Connects project that would accompany the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and recreational trails that would complete the trail network.

Read the letter to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi (PDF).

Read the letter to Mayor John Tory (PDF).

Latest Issues

Private sidewalk snow clearing, painting street murals, and Traffic Calming Options Manual – Walk Toronto at Public Works

Walk Toronto presented deputations on three separate items at the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) meeting on November 12, 2015.

Mark Earley, a member of Walk Toronto’s sidewalk snow clearing subcommittee, deputed in person on the item “Clearing of Snow from Sidewalks – Current Processes and Future Considerations“. This staff report discussed how to improve snow clearing where private property owners are required to clear snow from the sidewalk. Walk Toronto’s deputation called for better enforcement, but noted that the ultimate solution is for the City to clear all sidewalks. The staff report was adopted.

Read Mark Earley’s deputation (PDF).

Dylan Reid sent a deputation on behalf of Walk Toronto on the item “Options for Permitting Street or Intersection Murals on Local Streets“. Councillor Cesar Palacio had requested staff to create a process to allow residents to paint murals on their streets, as had been done on a street in his ward. However, staff responded with a report recommending against this proposal. Walk Toronto’s deputation addressed the various issues brought forward by staff and argued in favour of allowing communities to paint street murals. The item was deferred to the January PWIC meeting.

Read Dylan Reid’s deputation (PDF).

Mark Jacobs sent a deputation on behalf of Walk Toronto on the item “Traffic Calming Options Manual“. Councillor and chair of PWIC Jaye Robinson proposed the creation of “easy-to-use traffic calming manual for use by neighbourhood groups.” Walk Toronto supported this idea and identified some options that should be included, and some potential sources of information for the manual. The item was adopted with minor amendments.

Read Mark Jacobs’ deputation (PDF)