Roads, Traffic and Community Safety
Improving Road Safety
Cities across the world are taking a much closer look at how to reduce collisions and make our roads safer for all users, including drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. These programs are sometimes branded Vision Zero. They are built on the need to proactively prevent needless deaths and injuries rather than reacting after the fact.
Both Markham and York Region have recently initiated the development of road safety plans. This presents an opportunity to coordinate actions, including consultations with residents.
The plans will cover a range of evidence-based initiatives from improved road engineering to public education – taking into account human nature and the need to account for common mistakes.
As a member of the Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (CPAC) Reid is deeply in involved in advocating for and helping to implement new road safety initiatives.
Reid is currently working with traffic engineering staff to consider a pilot “road diet” on Carlton Road, between Kennedy Road and McCowan Road. This would reduce the road to 3 lanes — including a centre turning lane — and 2 official bike lanes. The aim is to slow traffic and encourage some commuters from outside the community to try other routes. It should also have an impact on traffic volumes east and west of the affected section of Carlton, which are only 2-lane roads.
However, this project will not be implemented until there is sufficient public consultation, particularly with residents on and near with this section of Carlton Road.
More immediately, Reid convened a working group of residents and representatives of the City, York Region, York Regional Police and the two school boards to consider and implement enhanced safety measures at the intersection of Kennedy Road and the Bridle Trail. Young students from both Unionville Public School and St Mathews Catholic School cross the intersection daily. Yet there are regular near misses and have been a number of collisions at the intersection. Parents are rightly concerned about the safety of their children. Significant progress has already been made and more is to come. The region is planning a number of intersection improvements along Kennedy Road between 16th Avenue and Highway 7.
Reid also works with the City’s traffic engineering department to install traffic calming measures (typically edge lines) and pedestrian cross overs (PXOs) where they are warranted by pedestrian and traffic volumes. New PXOs are being installed this year on Carlton Road near Berczy Public School and on Central Park Drive near Central Park Public School.
Tackling Traffic Congestion
Most of our congestion problems are on roads owned and maintained by York Region. I visited their traffic operation centre where operators can monitor most major intersections by video across York Region in real time. Traffic lights are in fact coordinated, and operators can usually change the lights as needed. But when the roads are at capacity in both directions, light coordination is no longer effective.
For more information on the Road Operations Centre check the York Region website here.
York Region has approved Environmental Assessments for the widening of 16th Avenue, Kennedy Road and McCowan Road, primarily to prioritize transit and cars occupied by at least two people (high occupancy vehicles (HOV)). The widening of Kennedy Road between 14th Avenue and Highway 7 is scheduled to begin in 2023.
Reid was participated in public consultations on the road widening plans for Kennedy and McCowan Roads, on behalf of residents of Ward 3, and has worked with concerned residents to ensure their voices were heard in the process. Final decisions are in the hands of York Region Council.
Safety at Home and in the Community
Reid has worked with York Regional Police (YRP) to run home safety workshops; encourage the registration of security cameras with YRP; and to establish Neighbourhood Watch committees. He has kept the police and Markham Bylaw Enforcement informed of unacceptable behaviour by some residents and helps facilitate communication back to the community, so that neighbours understand what actions are being taken.