narrow traffic lanes toronto

Will narrowing traffic lanes make Toronto streets safer?

Toronto traffic lanes are about to get narrower, though the process will take some time before its effects are felt throughout the city. In what is sure to be a controversial move, city planners have drafted a new policy for road widths that will bring Toronto inline with many US cities, which typically keep lanes at a width of around three metres.

"Our goal here is to continue to try to maintain [traffic flow] at safe and context-sensitive speeds," Transportation Services General Manager told the Globe & Mail. "And in the downtown core, do you need to be going 50 [kilometres an hour]? Probably not. If we can keep people moving at 30km or 40km, smoothly, they'll be ecstatic [about] that."

In addition to regulating traffic speeds, the not-so-fringe benefit of reducing traffic lane widths is that it frees up space for other usage of the allotted space, including increased pedestrian walkways and a buffer for bike lanes. That said, in a city known for its congestion, you can bet that some will see this plan as counter productive, even if mixed use streets tend to encourage no vehicular commuting.

The rollout will take place over years on account of budgetary constraints and the road painting schedule the city keeps. In the meantime, what do you think of the proposed changes?


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