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 from the WYS sign which monitors 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.”

Update: Sept 2022
The Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) device on Shuter St east of Sackville St began live enforcement on April 21, 2022. Here are the number of charges for this location so far: April = 493. May = 1,391. June = 1,480. July = 1,841
As time passes, one would hope that more drivers would notice ASE signage or actual ASE device, and moderate their speed. Yet for every complete month, the # of charges have increased each month! Is someone is considering whether the fine amount is too low? It doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. (This ASE camera was removed Nov 1.)

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

  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 1960s when it was 4 lanes, 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 a variety of techniques 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 (compare 2009 and 2022)
  3. The city didn’t study whether the 2020 road changes (protected bike lane etc) changed the frequency of accidents (report, page 7); maybe this redesign has increased accident frequency? 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? Our analysis of recent WYS data is discouraging.


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