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Road safety blitz underway in Don Mills

salvius

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Road safety blitz underway in Don Mills
Jan 14, 2008 11:47 AM
Amy Fuller
http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/293816

Police have started targeting pedestrians and drivers who ignore the rules of the road at a busy intersection in the city’s northeast.

The blitz began this morning and continues until Jan. 24 at the intersection of Don Mills Rd. and Overlea Blvd.

In November, a TTC bus struck and killed a 77-year-old woman as she ran into traffic at the intersection. Police believe the woman was trying to catch the bus when she was fatally injured.

“It’s part and parcel of the reason why we’re here,†said Sgt. Brian Maslowski. “The traffic unit has designated this intersection as top priority.â€

Police are also focusing on this intersection because Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and Valley Park Middle School are located on the west side of Don Mills Rd. Students who frequent the variety store opposite Marc Garneau often cross the road mid-block instead of using the lights.

“Students are very hesitant to make the long trip around to use the lights,†Maslowski said.

Don Mills is a major arterial road that consists of six lanes, three running north and three south, with a posted speed limit of 60 km/h. Nearby ramps to and from the Don Valley Pkwy., as well as schools and residential highrises in the area, contribute to heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

This week and next, officers from 54 Division’s Collision Reduction team will nab speeding motorists and those who run red lights, as well as jaywalking pedestrians. Following the focused blitz, police will maintain enforcement and education efforts.

About 50 people were stopped this morning, Maslowski said. The fine for failing to use a crosswalk is $50, while speeding at 10 kilometres over the limit results in a fine of $40. Red light offenders face a $180 fine.

Despite increased enforcement last year, more collisions occurred at the site than in 2006. In 2007, 79 collisions took place, compared to 76 in 2006.

If this month’s program is successful, the Collision Reduction Intersection Safety Partnership could extend the strategy to other areas of the city.

Police are working with community members from the schools, residents, the City of Toronto and the Community and Police Liaison Committee on enforcement, education and design changes at the intersection.

“I’d like to see pedestrian barriers, red light cameras, countdown timers for pedestrians and increased signage prohibiting people from crossing at non-designated areas,†Maslowski said.

“It looks like some of these will be implemented at the end of the month. We’re really looking forward to that.â€

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I was pretty sure jaywalking is in fact not illegal in Toronto?
 

ShonTron

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It's jaywalking, and illegal, only under the following scenarios:

- Against a red light or a solid don't walk signal
- where a sign forbids the crossing at a certain corner/intersection, or a road where pedestrians are prohibited.
- Within 10-25 metres of a crosswalk or intersection (the actual law is burry, it means where there is a crosswalk or intersection available, you must use it.

Crossing mid-block or crossing at an unsignalized intersection is not jaywalking.

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Note that what I say here does not necessarily reflect my involvement in certain pedestrian-related issues.
 

Chuck

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Police should use discretion when charging people with jaywalking. If done safely (ie the pedestrian doesn't have to run, and the car doesn't have to slow down), then what's the big deal, particularly in urban areas?

But having said that, this should be set up at St. George and College next. When I used to live at that intersection, I'd typically count about 10 significant infractions per light cycle, non stop throughout the day. That would include pedestrians crossing on a red forcing cars to slam on the brakes, cars turning left well into the red, and cyclists going through more red lights than green lights.
 

waterloowarrior

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If there are that many incidents and a lot of people crossing midblock, they should install pedestrian crossing instead of targeting the pedestrians. The problem is that these arterial roads are too focused on moving traffic quickly with as few stops as possible, at the expense of other users (ie pedestrians and cyclists)
 

junctionist

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That is indeed the nature of suburban planning exhibited in certain parts of the city, having these roads serve as quick, wide arterials to employment or shopping places that aren't very close at all. Once they install those pedestrian barriers, a place that was across street will suddenly lose its convenience for students.

Also, crosswalks are sketchy because often drivers just don't stop. Intersections are safer because of the red light.
 

nfitz

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Also, crosswalks are sketchy because often drivers just don't stop. Intersections are safer because of the red light.
I don't think they have cross-walks on the major suburban arterials - I certainly haven't spotted any on Don Mills Road.

Am I the only one who doesn't like those cross-walks when driving (from a safety perspective)? A couple of times, I just haven't spotted them. If there's someone standing in the middle of the road fine - but those flashing yellow lights often don't seem to stand out much in certain light conditions.
The colour never seems that vivid, and they are the same colour as the warning signs. If there are a lot of other things happening (cars moving in and out, streetcars, etc.), it's easy to miss them. And as a pedestrian - you press the button (or not), but the lights are done in such a way, you can't tell if the lights are flashing or not, from where your standing.

The idea is fine, but I think they would be a lot safer, if they redesigned the signs and lighting systems. I'm sure most people driving through are simply not seeing them - and sooner or later that will kill people.
 

junctionist

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I've seen one crosswalk where the city has installed an addition light onto the poll which holds up the cable with the standard yellow lights. That helps because the standard lights are so high up, that it's another factor which makes them harder to notice. They're dim too in many conditions.

They're probably not an option as you mentioned due to the nature of the road. A pedestrian underpass might work, but that's the kind of high profile option no one thinks about outside of downtown. Those high school students probably can't wait until they get their license.
 

ShonTron

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The city replaced the 8-inch amber lights with 12-inch lights (on most traffic lights in Ontario, the red light and arrow "balls" are 12-inch, the others 8-inch). They added additional 12-inch lights on the poles. They are more visible, though drivers ignore them more than they ignore turn prohibitions (only bus lanes and no stopping zones in bike lanes are ignored more).
 

waterloowarrior

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I've noticed that in California and Halifax the yellow light flashing pedestrian corssings seemed to be more prevalent, and drivers actually seemed to obey them (well in Nova Scotia, that's a given). I agree that signalized crossings would be much safer though.
 

ShonTron

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BC uses full traffic lights for many of its PXOs, something that is happening here occasionally - the slow flashing green light indicates a PXO, the lights only change when prompted by a pedestrian.

The larger black-on-white and white-on-black pictograms (overhead with the flashers) are also used outside of Ontario, unlike the less visible X signs.
 

nfitz

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They are more visible, though drivers ignore them more than they ignore turn prohibitions.
Drivers might well ignore turn prohibitions - but I think for the most part, they aren't aware of the pedestrian crossing lights some times. I'll be honest - I've missed them more than once - and I always wonder why. If we focus on them "ignoring" them, we are blaming the driver - and nothing much will change. If we focus on them not noticing them, we can find ways to make them more visible, and save lives.
 

junctionist

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Drivers might well ignore turn prohibitions - but I think for the most part, they aren't aware of the pedestrian crossing lights some times. I'll be honest - I've missed them more than once - and I always wonder why. If we focus on them "ignoring" them, we are blaming the driver - and nothing much will change. If we focus on them not noticing them, we can find ways to make them more visible, and save lives.
The driver has access to the "I couldn't stop safely" line, though maximizing visibility makes that harder to say. LED lights installed on the road itself could make a difference as well in terms of visibility.
 

nfitz

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The driver has access to the "I couldn't stop safely" line, though maximizing visibility makes that harder to say.
So let's be honest? Who here is running through these crossing occasionally? Is it because you don't realise they are flashing, or because you can get away with it? I'm always the former (though normally I see it - it's the odd exception that scares me)

(though the other day, I confess, I went through one, because when I saw the lights, I looked around, and the one person who was near the crossing, was stood back, looking like they were waiting for bus, and hadn't even moved toward the empty parking lane ... and then waved his fist as I drove past, at least 10 metres from him ... aren't pedestrians supposed to at least look like they are planning to cross if they can't be bothered to point?).
 

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