On Monday of this week, Principal O’Toole, David Heath (APA Safety Director) and I visited Queen’s Park to provide deputations on Bill 65, the Safer School Zones Act. Bill 65 proposes to amend the existing Highway Traffic Act to allow automated speed enforcement (photo radar) in school zones. Other amendments proposed by Bill 65 do not deal specifically with school zones and are of less interest to us.
The school and the APA Safety Task Force (with the help of Councillor Carmichael Greb) are working very hard to find a solution to the accidents that continue to happen at Castlefield and Avenue Road. Slowing down traffic in our school zone along with preventing East/West bound traffic from crossing Avenue Road have been a major focus.
While reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h for the entire stretch of Avenue Road from Lawrence to Eglinton is a step in the right direction, enforcement of the speed limit is key. We know that Allenby’s school zone has a posted limit of 40 km/h, and our school zone is clearly marked, but historical data shows that motorists travel between 58 km/h and 65 km/h in the zone. We are hopeful that Bill 65 will bring photo radar to our school zone, and that the technology will be effective in slowing down motorists.
In terms of the East/West Bound traffic on Castlefield, Councillor Carmichael Greb will be putting forward a motion for permanent left turn and straight through restrictions. Again, signs are easy to ignore and many motorists continue to do so. The Safety Task Force has requested lights for this intersection, but according to City of Toronto Transportation Services, traffic lights are not feasible given the sight lines of the hill that is south of the intersection. At our request, Councillor Carmichael Greb has agreed to investigate the feasibility of a median at this intersection.
We have requested a crossing guard for this intersection and are awaiting the results of the traffic survey that will determine our eligibility.
In the meantime, please be extra alert if walking to and from school along Avenue Road.