Friday, February 28, 2014

City of Toronto spending $100Gs on crossing street study

TORONTO - How many Torontonians does it take to cross the street?

One pedestrian and, soon, one city employee to tell you how to do it better.

City officials are spending around $100,000 to investigate a “Transportation Assistance Personnel” (TAP) in the downtown core as part of the fight against congestion.

“We’re actually going to have people in the intersection moving pedestrians who dawdle and you know those people who start crossing the street when it turns to amber,” public works chairman Denzil Minnan-Wong told the deputy mayor’s roundtable on gridlock and traffic congestion Friday.

Councillors approved the move last December when they voted on the final report of the Downtown Transportation Operations Study.

The study contained several projects to fight congestion including TAP arguing that it would “improve intersection operation by assisting and providing guidance on traffic operations.

“TAP could be deployed to reduce the frequency of intersection blockage,” the staff report read.

That study will include establishing a final price tag for the program.

Miles Currie, the director of the city’s traffic management centre, said the workers would be rotated from intersection to intersection.

“They could be marked like a crossing guard or something fluorescent,” Currie said.
“They won’t have any legal authority to issue tickets or summons of that nature but more to remind motorists not to block the crosswalk, remind pedestrians not to cross against the signal, to remind them to just be thoughtful of the time they have before they cross the street.

“We also see them keeping on eye on illegal stopping and parking.”

Currie said ultimately the city wants to have two-way communication with the TAP and the city’s traffic centre to report delinquent parking behaviour.

Similar programs already exist in Chicago and New York City, he said.

“The idea is (to be out there) out of courtesy,” he said. “They may have some flyers to give pedestrians, cyclists and motorists just to remind them of the impact of some of their behaviour.”

Bureaucrats are doing “some more homework” on the project but it is expected to go ahead.

“Our goal is to implement this project,” Currie said.
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