The City of Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan includes several initiatives aimed at protecting the safety and well-being of all students walking, cycling or driving back to school.
As students make their way back to class, all road users are encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings, share the road, stay alert and obey the rules to ensure everyone’s safety. The message to drivers is simple: Slow down and pay full attention.
The Vision Zero initiatives targeting students are delivered in partnership with Toronto Public Health, Green Communities Canada, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto Police Service.
The following are Vision Zero initiatives the city is implementing to help protect students, parents and guardians and encourage drivers to slow down and drive safely:
• More than 700 crossing guards – The School Crossing Guard Program is now fully provided by the City of Toronto. This year, there will be 704 locations with school crossing guards, who provide an important service for families in Toronto.
• 199 School Safety Zones – The city has so far installed 136 School Safety Zones around the city and aims to install an additional 63 by year’s end. School Safety Zones include safety signs, pavement markings and stencils, and Watch Your Speed signs which use radar to alert drivers in real-time to their speed and encourage them to slow down.
• 50 Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) locations – As soon as the province approves the necessary regulation, the city will install 50 mobile ASE cameras (two per ward) in school and community safety zones to help slow drivers down in areas where students and vulnerable road users are typically present.
• Five Active and Safe Routes pilot schools – With financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities and the Government of Ontario’s Ontario Active School Travel Fund, and in partnership with Toronto Public Health and Green Communities Canada, the city is expanding the Active and Safe Routes to School pilot program to more locations this year to create safer and walkable neighbourhoods for students.
During the first week of September, the Toronto Police Service will also be watching specifically for drivers who park illegally, choose to speed, or drive distracted, impaired or aggressively around schools in the city. These behaviours lead to frustration, traffic congestion and an unsafe environment for students.
The City of Toronto’s Safety Guide for School Children and Parents brochure includes important information and advice on walking, cycling, wheeling, driving or taking the bus to and from school. The guide is available at toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/917a-TS_VisionZero-SchoolChildren-Brochure.pdf.