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Toronto approves plan to create more resilient and safer transport system

Plan proposes five key measures including smart traffic signals and intelligent intersections to make the city’s transportation system more resilient in response to the effects of Covid-19.

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Lakeshore is one of the areas featured in the MoveTo plan
Lakeshore is one of the areas featured in the MoveTo plan

Toronto City Council has approved a plan to help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system.

 

The MoveTo plan proposes five key measures that will help make the city’s transportation system more resilient in response to the effects of Covid-19 on Toronto’s overall transportation network.

 

In a separate move, the City of Toronto announced it will re-open registration for CurbTo temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses while Toronto is in the Grey – lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s Covid-19 response framework.

 

Five key strands

 

The recommended strategies aim to reduce travel times and improve travel reliability for vehicles, improve safety and optimise movement for pedestrians and people on bikes at intersections, improve transit operations, coordinate construction activities to minimise impacts to the transportation network and improve safety, and help employers to reduce travel demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The five key proposed actions that will launch starting next year include:

  • smart traffic signals: automatically adjusted signal timing based on actual traffic demand. Staff are proposing 500 locations over the next five years
  • intelligent intersections: helps to improve safety at intersections for pedestrians and cyclists. Staff are proposing 100 locations over the next two years
  • advanced transit signal priority (ATSP): detects buses running behind schedule and extends green times when necessary. There are currently 400 locations with transit signal priority in the city and staff are proposing to accelerate the implementation of ATSP on 100 more priority locations over the next two years with a focus on key TTC corridors across the city
  • construction hub pilot programme expansion: this aims to help manage traffic and reduce congestion caused by construction around work zones, improves communication with the local community, and keeps people safe. An expansion of the pilot is proposed and will include three new locations: Lakeshore Hub, Downtown Hub and East Harbour. The next step is a focus on working with developers to do more to reduce the amount of time the right-of-way is closed due to construction
  • transportation demand management strategy: a set of measures to help avoid congestion at specific times, locations, and on certain modes of transportation. Staff propose building on the existing Smart Commute programme with local employers to provide additional supports for commuters, while developing strategies to address more localised instances of congestion.

The MoveTo plan builds on the work the City has done to positively impact congestion, while also considering safer streets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking further steps towards a more equitable transportation network in Toronto. Some of these strategies include the recently approved Freight and Goods Movement Strategy, the Traffic Agents programme and the Vision Zero Road Safety Plan.

“I have urged City staff to have the technology in place as quickly as possible to make sure we have a more modern and safer transportation system as soon as possible that responds and adapts to traffic in real time”

“MoveTo will help keep people moving safely throughout Toronto,” said mayor John Tory. “This plan delivers smart, common-sense approaches that will help pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and drivers get around our city.

 

“I have urged City staff to have the technology in place as quickly as possible to make sure we have a more modern and safer transportation system as soon as possible that responds and adapts to traffic in real time. These are solutions that can improve quality of life for people in Toronto.”

 

CurbTo reopened

 

With Toronto in the Grey – lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s Covid-19 response framework, the message from Toronto’s medical officer of health is that the best way to stop the spread of Covid-19 is for residents to stay home and only go out for essentials. Making short-term parking available for kerbside pick-up or delivery services supports both public health requirements and local businesses.

 

Hence the city will re-open registration for CurbTo temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses. The programme launched in April 2020 and, at its peak in early summer, supported more than 200 locations while also helping to keep people safer from virus spread and respecting public health direction. Fifty-six sites are still active on City streets.

“Even in lockdown and while we all follow the advice of our public health officials and stay home as much as possible, we will not stop doing everything we can to find safe ways to support these businesses”

Businesses with available nearby parking lots are encouraged to use that space to accommodate temporary kerbside pick-up locations. Main street businesses and BIAs can register or learn more about the programme at toronto.ca/curbto.

 

“This virus continues to threaten the health and safety of our residents and hurt our local, small businesses,” added Tory. “Even in lockdown and while we all follow the advice of our public health officials and stay home as much as possible, we will not stop doing everything we can to find safe ways to support these businesses.

 

“Bringing back registration for our CurbTo temporary parking zones will make it safer, more convenient and easier for pick-ups and deliveries is a common-sense way we can help.”

 

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