Toronto: The Ontario Chief Coroner’s Report states that pedestrian deaths are preventable. The GPO is calling on the government to support safe streets by creating a walking strategy for Ontario that includes an infrastructure fund and mandatory side-guards on trucks.
“People need to feel safe while walking in our communities,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “Walk friendly communities improve our health, economy and environment.”
The Netherlands has increased the number of daily walking trips to 25% with investments to improve the walking environment. Ontario can do the same with a comprehensive walking strategy.
As part of this effort, an infrastructure fund is needed for municipalities to invest in cross walks, convenient connections to transit and audible pedestrian signals. The GPO wants the province to commit 1% of the transportation budget to pedestrian infrastructure.
Mandatory side guards on trucks prevent pedestrians as well as upended cyclists from falling under moving trucks. Their $800-$1600 cost is small compared with saving lives, and they help trucks reduce fuel consumption.
Streets and roads that are safe for all users help improve air quality, boost local economies, reduce fuel use and create pleasant communities. Improved transportation networks are also an economic bonus, supporting businesses and increasing the efficient flow of people, goods and resources. Liveable communities foster thriving main street economies.
“We need a Complete Streets Act in Ontario to ensure that our streets are safe for all users: cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians, wheeled mobility devices, and transit users” says recent Trinity-Spadina candidate and GPO critic for transportation Tim Grant.
According to Transport Canada, an active transportation trip saves Canadians $1.70 per kilometre travelled over a kilometre travelled by car.
“Ontario must recognize that walking is an important form of transportation,” says Schreiner. “A comprehensive walking strategy is long overdue. Everyone is a pedestrian, and we must demand that the government act on the Coroner’s recommendations now.”
Take action: Sign the GPO’s petition to make side guards mandatory on trucks!
For the full report: www.ontario.ca/coronersreports