Hey There! Slow Down!

It’s not a surprise to see evidence that speeding is an issue along Doris Avenue. The 4-lane service road serving as a barrier between Yonge Street and the neighbourhoods to its east has long had a bad rap for cars moving too fast, and sometimes even racing. With four schools nearby and a high population density, there are many reasons to take the problem seriously.

But it was still pretty shocking to see some numbers this week coming from our local Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras. Last fall, they were both moved to the Doris Avenue area, one on Doris itself north of Spring Garden Avenue, and another just east of Doris on Church Avenue.

From December 2020 to February 2021, 2,598 speeding tickets were issued in total from these locations. Of these, 236 individuals received multiple tickets within the same month. One repeat offender received 10 tickets in February alone – enough to raise real questions about at what stage penalties more serious than tickets are appropriate and applicable.

The highest speeds recorded were 76km/h on Church Avenue in December resulting in a $532 fine, 88 km/h on Doris Avenue in January resulting in a $706 fine, and 83 km/h on Doris in February resulting in a $646 fine. Both streets are marked with a 40 km/h limit.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t yet seem to be evidence that the cameras or tickets are slowing drivers down. This will leave a dilemma as the cameras are scheduled to be moved in the next few months. Willowdale, as with all wards in the City, has only two cameras in circulation.

We will make sure that the Toronto Police Service is aware of the Doris Avenue data before cameras get moved, in hopes that in the months following, officers can continue to keep an eye on this corridor where we now have ample new data on speeding problems.

In the meantime, residents on Ellerslie Avenue near Diagonal Road and on Drewry Avenue near Norwin Street can expect to see these cameras soon.

We will continue to report the results of this program as it approaches its first anniversary this summer. When it comes back to Council, John intends to ask staff to look at ways to expand the number of cameras in circulation, as well as the number of streets eligible to host them.

The ultimate goal is to get the message to enough drivers that driving at unsafe speeds is not acceptable, so that the cameras aren’t eventually needed at all. But for the time being, we still clearly have a lot of work to do.