February 1, 2011

New initiatives to improve pedestrian safety on York Region roads

 Additional efforts underway to help prevent injuries and fatalities at intersections
NEWMARKET – More pedestrian countdown signals and the use of new “zebra” markings at intersections are two initiatives that The Regional Municipality of York is implementing to help improve pedestrian safety at intersections.  The implementation of these technologies is part of a larger effort to transform our communities into more pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods.
“We continue to explore new ways to improve our roads and pedestrian safety,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “As our communities evolve over time, it becomes increasingly important to use new tools and technology to assist our residents.”
Following the successful use of pedestrian countdown signals at many York Region intersections over the past year, the Region is moving forward with an additional 500 installations to assist an increasing number of people travelling on foot through our communities.  The Region has also partnered with York Regional Police to promote pedestrian safety through a series of public education campaigns.
According to York Region’s 2001 to 2010 traffic collision statistics, the number of road fatalities has remained relatively constant over the last decade.  With changing demographics and more residents travelling on our roads and sidewalks, the Region strives to constantly enhance pedestrian safety initiatives to help overcome challenges of both drivers and pedestrians.
Newly proposed safety initiatives include:
• Bold, diagonal zebra crosswalk markings to increase visibility at intersections for both drivers and pedestrians
• An audible pedestrian warning system on YRT/Viva buses to verbally caution pedestrians when public transit vehicles are turning right or left 
• A revised speed limit policy
“It’s important that we continue our ongoing efforts at improving safety measures on our roads,” said Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson, Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services Committee.  “I am very encouraged by these new initiatives and hopeful they will provide an additional level of safety for our residents and visitors.”
The use of zebra markings and the audible pedestrian warning system are currently being conducted as pilot projects.  Both initiatives, plus a proposed revised speed limit policy, will be discussed by York Regional Council as part of the 2011 Business Plan and Budget, slated for approval this spring.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contact: Maria Schembri, Corporate Communications, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 1207
Email: maria.schembri@york.ca

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