Why has Vision Zero Failed?
If statistical projections hold true, then sadly, 2200 pedestrians will be struck by a vehicle (other than a bike) by the end of 2019 in the City of Toronto alone. 70% of these accidents will occur between the fall & spring equinox, due to shortened daylight hours, and apparently, more often on a Thursday, according to Toronto City officials. Please don’t forget that 51 pedestrians were killed on our city streets in 2018 already.
This speaks directly to the depth of our transportation crisis, as the number of designated K.S.I’s zones in Toronto has now reached over 40. Comparatively, London’s & New York City’s Vision Zero programs have resulted in a 50% decline in pedestrian fatalities over similar time period. One is forced to ask why have our numbers increased from 18 in 2011 to over 50 in 7 years, and more importantly, what can be done to stem and decrease such numbers?
1.) It would be reasonable to begin with the implementation of a policy where the victims names are released so that they do not remain a mere statistical anomaly. Let’s ask media outlets to rephrase a person having a collision with a car to the more accurate truth of being hit by a car or as an accident victim.
2.) The acknowledgement that speed kills is necessary by lowering speed limits in residential pockets! A vehicle moving at just 50 KM per hour is 8 time’s more likely to kill a pedestrian than a vehicle travelling at 30 km per hour. Highways & major by-ways are places to drive with purpose, not in areas where pedestrians share travel modes.
3.) To mitigate the use of navigation systems which often provide short cuts through residential areas at prime pedestrian commuting times. Local residents could have cars stickers, and those determined to be speeders would see fines, double or triple.
4.) School zones and park areas should receive top priority regarding radar & red light cameras, as well as ancillary street signage, which could reinforce speed limits, with more conviction.
5.) Installing commuter oriented parallel (separated if possible) bike lanes. Biking through parks & interconnected green space is bucolic & safe.
6.) Build more illuminated crosswalks & pedestrian skywalks, such as the proposed Secondary people’s Bridge over the tracks at Liberty Village, for instance.
7.) Support City Officials with the concept of an Arts De Mode Pin, promoting original and inspiring answers to traffic congestion.
8.) Lobby that the City spend proportionally in making Vision Zero 2 a reality. Simply, London & New York are spending billions to enhance the lives of their citizens. Toronto is spending millions. There is little long term debate, that Mass Bi-pedal commuting is a most affirmative step in making our lives & cities better!
Now is the time to Stand Up & be Counted. Talk to your local politician, as your future and that of your grandchildren depends upon it!
We live here. We deserve to live that life, safely – all Torontonians.
Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend.