Calls for safety improvements on Dufferin Street mount following death of young cyclist
Toronto was rocked by a tragedy last week when 23-year-old Alex Amaro was killed while riding her bike on Dufferin Street, and now the neighbourhood's city councillor, as well as local community members, are calling for safety improvements to be implemented on the stretch as soon as possible.
City councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 9, Davenport) announced today that she submitted a motion, seconded by Mayor John Tory, calling for improved and expedited safety measures on Dufferin in light of Amaro's death.
My statement on improving safety on Dufferin: pic.twitter.com/gUI1LMLdho— Ana Bailão (@anabailaoTO) December 9, 2020
"As residents in this community, we all know that Dufferin Street is one of the most heavily travelled roadways not only in our community but across the City," said Bailão in a letter to constituents.
"It is used daily by buses, cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles all of which are sharing a relatively small roadway."
In the letter, Bailão said she has been working on numerous measures to improve safety on Dufferin Street for some time now, including successfully having the speed limit reduced and more.
"This work continues and I have already moved motions at City council to expedite this work," she said.
Cycling on that stretch of dufferin is dangerous year round, even walking is dicey. It doesn't have to be that way and it shouldn't be that way, that's the point.— AnnSciArt (@annsciart) December 9, 2020
But she added that last week's tragedy demonstrated that changes need to be made even quicker, which is why she plans to move a motion at city council's Dec. 16 meeting calling for some of the work and traffic studies that are already underway to be expedited as well as for some new improvements to be considered.
Among the new proposed measures are several traffic signal installations, red light cameras, speed enforcement cameras and a review of the street lighting on Dufferin.
Thanks so much. A cyclist friend said this “That's a terrible intersection... Needs a light or X-walk. The real issue are people wanting to go south and the ultra busy College/Dufferin intersection. It's a scramble, especially people trying to make the light on Dufferin.”— erika wybourn (@erikawybourn) December 9, 2020
The motion also calls for the review of a potential priority bus corridor on Dufferin to be expedited and for cyclist and pedestrian safety to be taken into account, and it asks for an assessment of the current connectivity of existing cycling infrastructure on Lappin, Hallam and Lindsey Avenues.
According to Bailão, an estimated 35,000 vehicles travel on Dufferin each day, and the number of commuters who use the street is increasing.
"Cycling and pedestrian safety is a paramount concern which requires further expedited attention as various reviews are ongoing with respect to improving safety and public transit movement on Dufferin Street," reads the summary of Bailão's motion.
"It is critical that these reviews are coordinated in view of the pressing safety issues involved so that all proposals to improve safety on Dufferin are considered, reviewed and implemented in an expedited manner."
Necessary steps, not sufficient. I often cross Dufferin at the new light south of St Clair (thanks @anabailaoTO !) Cars regularly rush the light, blow through it, ignore it. Physical redesign of Dufferin is needed to slow/control car traffic & keep cyclists and pedestrians safe https://t.co/Vl3sCTUzPv— Shelly Kraicer (@skraicer) December 9, 2020
Some cycling advocates argue Bailão's proposals don't go far enough, though, and many are saying it's common knowledge that protected bike lanes and traffic calming measures are what effectively prevent cyclist deaths.
Hi @anabailaoTO, thanks for engaging on the issue. We already know what works to prevent deaths: protected bike infrastructure and traffic calming measures. There should be more emphasis on permanent infrastructure changes on Dufferin itself. @BeckyKatz96 @CycleToronto @JohnTory— j carp (@jcarp14) December 9, 2020
Amaro's tragic death marked the fourth cyclist fatality in Toronto since the start of this year.
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