The City of Toronto has been analyzing “big data” related to traffic movement and this week made official what Willowdale residents have known for years. Traffic at the Yonge-Sheppard and Yonge-Finch intersections both rank in the top-10 worst in the city. Mayor John Tory and Councillor Jaye Robinson, chair of the City’s Public Works & Infrastructure Committee revealed these stats as part of an announcement at Yonge & Sheppard this week.
Mayor Tory has made traffic congestion one of his top priorities. Phase one of his Congestion Management Plan implemented in 2015 included establishing a zero tolerance policy for illegal parking during rush hour, improved traffic signal coordination and speeding up construction work.
The Mayor has now announced the next phase of this plan. It will include looking at the 10 worst ‘hot-spots’ in the city, including the two in Willowdale, and establishing action plans within the year to reduce congestion at these locations.
This year’s plan will also include piloting an upgrade of the city’s “smart” traffic signal system so that it can adapt to real-time traffic volumes, initiating a Traffic Assistance Personnel (TAP) pilot that would use dedicated Toronto police staff to direct and manage traffic at busy intersections, expand the existing Smart Commute program encouraging employers to offer commuting options to their staff and the establishment of a Road Safety Strategic Plan to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.
This is all welcome news, but is only one piece of the overall solution. In addition to improving traffic management, the City will also be looking at better support for pedestrians and cyclists, including establishing more walkable communities and continue to make the expansion of public transit a priority. We look forward to bringing more news in the months ahead.