Looking Forward: Expanding Speed Enforcement Programs

by Markus O'Brien Fehr, Chief of Staff

Automated Speed Enforcement cameras are working – but we still have a lot of work ahead. As the City's ASE program enters its second year, we have an opportunity to look at the data, and consider how to best use these tools to protect our communities. Over the first year of the program, the City's 50 ASE cameras issued a total of 277,322 tickets in school zones. Over time, the percentage of vehicles speeding in 40 km/h zones protected by ASE cameras dropped from 49% before installation, to 28% after. The average speed for vehicles driving over the limit also dropped from 18 km/h to 6 km/h. Though we're seeing progress, many drivers still need to slow down. The ASE camera on Drewry Avenue at Norwin Street, issued 904 tickets in the month of June. Two repeat offenders received 6 tickets each at that location during the month, and the highest measured speed was 84 km/h on a street marked 40 km/h. Though an improvement on the highest Willowdale readings of 107 km/h on both Doris and Patricia Avenues, some drivers still drive too fast. John will continue to advocate for live enforcement with the Toronto Police Service, especially in areas where data indicates high speeds remain an issue when cameras are moved. Over the past year, police laid 12 charges for dangerous driving resulting from ASE information that will require court appearances by vehicle owners. This week, the City's Infrastructure and Environment Committee adopted a motion calling on staff to initiate an expansion of the ASE program during the 2022 budget cycle. For a successful expansion, Council has asked the Provincial government to allow the City to administer ASE fines. Currently, ASE tickets go through the Provincial Court system, limiting processing capacity and limiting the revenue the City receives back to expand the program and protect new locations. The City must also start looking at ways to protect areas beyond school zones when the ASE program expands. John is preparing a motion for Council next week that would direct staff to create a mechanism to make Seniors Safety Zones eligible for ASE deployment. Residents with mobility concerns can be every bit as much at risk as the younger residents in our school zones. They too should be protected. In Willowdale much of the Yonge/Doris/Beecroft corridor between Sheppard and Finch has been designated as a marked Seniors Safety Zone where staff have added pavement markings and lengthened crossing times at signals as part of the Vision Zero Program. When the ASE program expands, this area should also be protected. More information on the City's ASE program and opportunities to suggest a location in a local school zone can be found online.