‘Slow Down Toronto’ school zone safety campaign kicks off

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The “Slow Down Toronto” campaign runs began this week and will run through April 1 to improve road safety and reduce potential accidents and fatalities around school zones. The police will target offences that tend to lead to road incidents such as speeding, distracted driving, and aggressive driving.

The two-week campaign announced today comes a few weeks after 11-year-old Duncan Xu was struck and killed by a vehicle near his school in Scarborough. His death prompted calls for tougher implementation of road safety measures around schools and has spurred politicians into promising action.

“The safety of all pedestrians, but particularly children, must be a priority in this city,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement. “One pedestrian death is one too many. “We are working to prevent these deaths and protect our residents across the city. We all have a responsibility to share our streets in a courteous and safe way. I am committed to making sure all those who use our roads – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – can get where they need to go as safely and efficiently as possible.”

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The latest campaign is part of the city’s “Vision Zero” plan to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

In addition to the two-week “Slow Down Toronto” campaign, the city said it is taking other measures to try and make roads safer around schools.

They include a one-year pilot project to provide new flexible in-road traffic calming signs in 12 school zones across the city and retrofitting 60 more schools than planned this year with the latest school zone safety features.

Some of the features that will be implemented include:
• New school zone safety signs with flashing beacons
• School zone pavement stencils
• “Watch your speed” driver feedback signs
• Zebra markings at school crosswalks
• Examination of placing a school crossing guard at major crossings
• Traffic calming measures beyond the frontage of schools

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There have been 14 pedestrian deaths on city streets so far this year and unless things change drastically, that number could rise by the end of the year. -CINEWS

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