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Police board passes Mayor Tory's plan for civilian traffic wardens

Last Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 3:59 pm EDT

Drivers caught in traffic at a green light in Toronto. CITYNEWS

Civilian traffic wardens will be coming to congestion hot spots around the city.

The Toronto Police Services Board passed the plan, brought forth by Mayor John Tory, on Thursday.

The goal of the full-time civilian traffic wardens is to clear problems quickly at some of the city’s highest congestion intersections.

In 2016, the city launched a traffic warden pilot program using paid-duty officers who were placed at key intersections across the city to help keep traffic moving.

“The pilot project worked,” Tory said earlier this week. “When officers were actively engaged managing vehicles and pedestrians, we found a minimum of 90 per cent reduction in intersection blockage by vehicles and a 70 per cent reduction in intersection blockage by pedestrians.”

Tory said the city and the province have been able to determine a way, under the Highway Traffic Act, to allow non-police personnel to direct traffic at a number of key intersections next year. The wardens will be traffic management officers.

This is all a part of Tory’s new traffic measures which he says will make it easier for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to get around the city.

Tory is also working to ban utility trucks from doing non-emergency work during daytime hours.

Starting next month, the city and the traffic app Waze will be sharing their traffic data with each other. Tory also said in a few weeks, the first smart signal traffic light will be installed in the city. The new lights will respond to traffic conditions, meaning drivers will get “more green lights when the lights should be green,” according to Tory.

Tory also said he will request city staff to review a possible increase in fines for traffic-blocking offences.