Caledon Can Take Vision Zero to Hero

Two years into the GTA’s goal of eliminating pedestrian and cyclist deaths, project Vision Zero has failed to accomplish its goals. 2018 is on its way to becoming another banner year for fatal collisions in our proposed “safe cities” for our car-free citizens.

I live in the beautiful rurban community of Caledon. We have similar lofty goals for those who travel by foot and bike. Having given up my car two years ago and gone footloose , I have discovered the thrill of victory by catching the GO bus on time, and the agony of the feet walking around Bolton,

I have also discovered that Caledon is anything but a pedestrian or cyclist friendly Town. The lords of the road are the large bully boy pick-up trucks and the souped up little Honda Civics. Both frequently have muffler systems that make the start of a Formula One race sound like a lullaby. It seems that very few drivers these days (whether in the family van or muscle car) have any regard for the flesh and bone creatures in their headlights.

That driver need to speed everywhere combined with distracted pedestrians staring at their cell phone screens and cyclists who think they are going for the yellow jersey in the Tour de France creates a recipe for disaster. Add into the mix children, seniors, an archaic sidewalk system and no green bike lanes marked at busy intersections, and it’s only a matter of time before we are watching another tragedy unfold.

In the  last two weeks alone, crossing with the lights at major Bolton intersections, I have witnessed dozens of drivers racing through yellow lights and straight out running red lights, and that is with pedestrians clearly visible at the crossing.  So, if we truly want to create a safe community for our citizens, here’s how to take Vision Zero to Hero.

  1. Lower the speed limits through the Town. Toronto is now recommending 40 kph MAX.
  2. Install red light cameras at all busy intersections, raise the fines to $500 for running a red light, and take away the car for a week.
  3. Educate drivers that a light turning yellow does not signal the start of the Indy 500 – like the yellow flag in that same car race, it means slow down, caution! There could be a child about to enter that intersection
  4. Educate pedestrians and cyclists to wear highly visible clothing, wear LED flashers at night, and use extreme caution when encountering traffic.
  5. Complete the painting of bike lanes in bright green at all busy intersections, and in community safety zones.
  6. Ensure that the police enforce the traffic laws to the maximum – the ticket revenues can go towards fixing our sidewalk system with rolling curbs and proper ramps. The revenues from Stop Sign and red light violations alone would be like winning the lottery. (And stop the dirty X-Coppers from getting these dangerous drivers out of their ticket fines!)
  7. Complete the downtown core traffic calming by FIRST getting the commuter traffic to use the Emil Kolb Parkway. Proper signage on #50 indicating local  traffic only. If you’re not a resident or shopping, we don’t need you speeding through Caledon on the way to Toronto or Brampton in the morning or to Dufferin or New Tecumseh at night.
  8. Install BIG Flashing signs at Major Mac in the south and Castlederg in the north indicating that Travel Time is 59 minutes on Queen St. through Bolton, but only 10 minutes using the Emil Kolb by-pass. If a driver’s IQ is at leeast approaching the price per litre of gasoline they should be able to figure that one out.

There, eight simple steps to making Vision Zero a reality, reducing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, and creating a safer, cleaner, quieter community.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, Caledon

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