Mayor John Tory kicked off the second phase of a pilot project Monday morning designed to reduce traffic jams in Toronto’s downtown core.
Beginning Oct. 3, paid duty police officers will work as Traffic Assistance Personnel to keep cars moving and ensure pedestrians and cyclists are crossing the roads safely.
“We’ll keep doing these things as long as they’re providing some degree of effectiveness and some improved safety and some better traffic flow, but I think they’re making a difference,” said Tory.
Officers will be stationed at the following intersections identified as having the places with the most serious problems during rush hours:
- Bay Street and Queen Street
- Front Street and Simcoe Street
- Sheppard Avenue and Yonge Street
- Front Street and University Avenue
- Bay Street and Bloor Street
- University Street and Adelaide Street
- Bay Street from Bloor Street to Front Street
Tory said Phase 1 produced promising results. He said the presence of an officer was enough to reduce the number of illegal turns and pedestrian crossings.
The city has since been pushing for a change to provincial legislation, which would allow the city to use civilians to direct traffic at these intersections on a full-time basis. Officers would then be free to do other work.
Tory said the province has been “very optimistic and positive” about the change, though no timetable has been set to make the role permanent.
In addition to Traffic Assistance Personnel, Tory has another project in the works to ease congestion on Toronto streets. Intelligent traffic signals are currently in the procurement stage, which would use technology rather than people to manage traffic flow around the city.
Tory said city officials are “very, very optimistic” that the system will be ready to roll out on a trial basis this fall.
“I know it’s going to get done. . . . We have lots more to do to get the city moving the way I would like to see it moving,” said Tory.
**By Veronica Tang, Editorial Assistant, Global News