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City planning to expand head-start for pedestrians at crosswalks

Last Updated Jul 20, 2018 at 8:48 am EDT

File photo of a pedestrian crossing signal. HANDOUT

Mayor John Tory has announced an expansion to a program that gives pedestrians a head start when crossing at an intersection.

Tory made the announcement at Dundas Street West and Mabelle Avenue in Etobicoke on Friday morning. That intersection is one of the locations where the Leading Pedestrian Interval program has been implemented.

The program gives pedestrians an advanced walk signal so that they can cross the street before vehicles get a green signal and are able to enter the intersection

The head start for pedestrians is already in place at 12 intersections in the city, including at University Avenue and Adelaide Street West, and Lake Shore Boulevard East and Yonge Street. Those 12 were installed last year.

“This is something that has been a proven success in reducing the number of collisions between pedestrians and turning vehicles in other cities where it has been implemented,” Tory said.

Tory said the plan is to install more this year, leading to an eventual total of 80. He said they will be spread across four districts in the city, so about 20 in each district, by the end of the year.

The city said this will improve safety by letting pedestrians, especially children and seniors, get a head start so they are more visible to drivers.

“Before any turning car can begin its turn, those people will be in the intersection and be seen,” Tory said.

In other cities, there has been an up to 60 per cent reduction in the number of collisions between pedestrians and other turning vehicles.

This expansion is part of the city’s Vision Zero road safety plan.

In June, Tory said he’ll seek an additional $13 million this year to accelerate parts of his five-year road safety plan. The new money would bring the total Vision Zero investment to $100 million over five years.

Tory said the funds would be spent on speeding up road redesigns, installing zebra markings at 200 new intersections, painting green bike lanes, clearing up a backlog of speed-hump installations, and expanding the number of Leading Pedestrian Interval signals.