The Community Safety Zone is a dead idea.
Or is it?
The traffic zoning technique that sees violators pay much higher fines and end up in court more frequently was, according to Transportation Services, proven to be a failed idea a decade ago. It was even put to death with a province-wide moratorium.
“In 2000 we did a review and noticed that there wasn’t a marked difference. It wasn’t doing much,” said Roberto Stopnicki, head of Toronto’s Transportation Services.
So why is Traffic Sergeant Dale Carter of 53 Division now recommending that councillor Karen Stintz move to pursue an exception to the moratorium bylaw for Avenue Road?
“It’s an option and we’re out of (other) options on Avenue Road,” Carter said.
Avenue Road sees 42,000 commuter cars per day, more than many other arterial thoroughfares in North Toronto, and the section between Lawrence and Eglinton Avenues is particularly prone to speeding and collisions, said Carter.
Area residents are concerned, said Stintz, and so she’s been beating the pavement, taking a hands-on approach to the city’s broad traffic plan doing a traffic study for that stretch of road.
The study, completed last year, has slowly borne fruit, she said, including the imposing of turn restrictions and improved signage along the strip.
Carter, who was part of the team assessing the problems and potential solutions along Avenue Road surprised some by suggesting designating part of the strip a Community Safety Zone. In so doing Carter is looking beyond the statistics to personal experience.
“Statistically you can look at it any way. There are those who are against it, but what else can we do? Avenue Road is one of those things where we’ve done everything that we can.”
In the late 1990s Carter worked at 54 Division and saw the implementation of a Community Safety Zone along O’Connor Drive between Woodbine and Pape Avenues, an area he said was a major problem at the time.
“After we added the Community Safety Zones the number of collisions and the number of high speeds we saw there dropped immeasurably,” he said. “Over there, in my personal opinion, I saw a change.”
Stintz said she’s open to the idea and on Carter’s recommendation will approach city council to get the necessary work done to get past the moratorium.
The traffic sergeant speculated that he and Stintz may meet some resistance from Transportation Services, but in a telephone interview Stopnicki was open to the idea.
“In this section of Avenue Road the solution might be different. It is one of the items on the menu of possible traffic solutions,” he said.
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