Shuter crosswalk safety – disappointing city response

In response to community concerns, the city promptly reduced the Shuter St speed limit to 30 km/h in Jan 2022, and posted “speed camera coming soon” signs. An Automated Speed Enforcement camera was installed in mid April.

Watch Your Speed (WYS) signs display the speed of vechicles as they pass by. See right for a summary of WYS data for eastbound Shuter St traffic for the first 6 months 0f 2022 (also see detailed analysis). Since the introduction of a speed enforcement camera in April, speeds have reduced, but still 18% of vehicles are exceeding the speed limit by 10+ km/h. (It would be informative to compare these # to detailed data from the speed camera, if the city will provide that data.) WYS data was previously analyzed in Oct 2021. Still no data available for westbound traffic. Updates from city staff:
Dec 3, 2021: “For some reason the sign at 440 Shuter hasn’t produced data since mid-April 2021 and we are looking into that.”
Aug 4, 2022: “the Westbound one on Shuter, is actually not reporting data in 2022, so I will look into why that might be.”

The community petition also requested improvements at Shuter & Sackville and Shuter & Sumach intersections, because of safety concerns of pedestrians at these crosswalks. This was considered by the city in Nov 2021. Toronto Traffic Management published a disappointing report in June 2022, containing several deficiencies:

  1. Traffic counts indicate that Shuter St has less than the minimum # cars to be considered a minor arterial. Report (page 3): “The daily two-way traffic volume is approximately 7,000 vehicles.” A “minor arterial” designation for Shuter St made sense in 1960, but Shuter St is now 2 lane, with a 30 km/h speed limit; does it still make sense to categorize Shuter as a minor arterial? If categorized as a local road or a collector road, then other alternatives could be considered to improve safety at Sackville and Sumach intersections. City definition of road categories (PDF, page 5): Minor Arterial Roads – Volume (vehicle/day): 8,000 – 20,000.
  2. Report (page 7): “Toronto has installed parking protected cycle tracks with improved safety and comfort results.” The city is forcing this design everywhere (bike lane to the right of parked cars), but based on experience during the past year from local Shuter St residents, this design causes excessive visibility problems, when there are parked cars and many vehicle entry points. Where the parking is located on the south side of Shuter, for the short section from Parliament to Sumach: there are 3 streets (Tracy, Sackville, Sumach), 2 public laneways (Anna Hilliard Lane, Paterson Place) and 2 private laneways (425 Shuter, 447 Shuter). It’s now more difficult for vehicles to safely enter Shuter from side streets, laneways, driveways: check first for cyclists, then try and see around parked cars to check for oncoming vehicles. See below for photo of private laneway near 449 Shuter (2009 vs today)
  3. The city didn’t study whether the 2020 road changes (protected bike lane etc) changed the frequency of accidents (report, page 7); maybe accident frequency has increased? Report should review # accidents for the period 2018-2019, compared to 2021 – 2022 (ie. 2 years prior, and 2 years after, road changes)
  4. Report (page 4): “staff consider an environmental checklist which includes: consideration of road width, posted speed limit, operating speeds, … However, the report does not provide any details on actual operating speeds. Speed limit was reduced to 30 km/h in Dec 2021; what change has been measured in operating speeds ?

20222009

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