News / Toronto

Richmond and Simcoe traffic signal one step closer to green light

Local councillor says it's needed to make the intersection safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Pedestrians cross Richmond and Simcoe in late April, 2017.

Eduardo Lima/Metro

Pedestrians cross Richmond and Simcoe in late April, 2017.

Richmond and Simcoe could finally get the green light for its long-sought traffic signal.

It’s a fixture local councillor Joe Cressy says he’s been fighting for “since he was elected,” and one that’s overdue.

“Our streets in the downtown core are increasingly dangerous,” he said, adding that the neighbourhood around the intersection has grown from 1,000 residents in 1996 to 30,000 today.

Cressy said the traffic signal would also be important for cyclists who use protected lanes along Richmond, calling the intersection “a perfect illustration” of the need for safer streets.

City staff conducted a study that determined the intersection met the criteria for a traffic light. However, the initial report recommended against the installation, citing a policy against traffic lights within 200 metres of one another. The report also determined it was “adequate” for pedestrians to wait two to three minutes for a sufficient gap in cars to safely cross the road.

But city staff told Metro they have since waived the 200-metre policy given that the intersection met the criteria and had the support of Cressy and community council, removing one potential obstacle for approval.  Staff will issue a new report on Tuesday, Cressy says, and it will be considered at council’s meeting in May.  

The danger posed to pedestrians at the intersection has made headlines in the past.

In October 2015 a police officer driving a cruiser struck a 57-year-old pedestrian crossing south on the west side of Simcoe. The victim fractured both her ankles. The Special Investigations Unit did not charge the officer, noting the pedestrian was jaywalking and might have had her vision obscured by a hood.

“You cannot expect the situation to improve without improving our streets,” said Cressy, arguing that if council is “truly committed” to its road-safety plan they will pass the motion.

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