WATCH: Toronto’s most dangerous school zones
The veil has been lifted, revealing the city’s most dangerous school zones.
Information acquired by Global News highlights the elementary and middle schools in Toronto with the highest number of pedestrian collisions, within 100 metres, throughout the past thirteen years.
But, who’s to blame?
Jacky Kennedy, director of Canada Walks says safety issues in school zones are often sourced back to parents.
“A lot of traffic is rush hour – especially the morning run – are parents driving their children to school. If you ever stood outside of an elementary school at morning or afternoon – drop off or pick up – the behavior of those drivers is shocking,” Kennedy said.
Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto says the GTA is experiencing a volume problem.
“Many schools were not designed to have that volume of traffic. The assumption was that kids would be walking to school, so this is resulting in a lot of collisions and a lot of conflict that is really decreasing the safety of our children,” Keesmaat said.
READ MORE: Toronto’s most dangerous routes
Parents and caregivers are urged to find alternate methods of commuting to school.
Kennedy says the shift to walking and cycling is simpler and more beneficial to children.
“When we walk, we tend to give more time and we get there much quicker…. Kids who use active transportation have real adventures and they end up knowing their neighbourhood really well.”
In addition to active transportation, a School Zone Safety Strategy was proposed to the City of Toronto in April this year.
The strategy provides recommendations and amendments to high-risk school zones that have been prone to pedestrian-vehicle collisions in the past.
One of the strategy’s suggestions cite lowering speeds to 30 km/h in selected school zones.
“Thirty km/h would be the maximum speed in a school area and in a residential neighbourhood. On arterial roads that go through residential neighbourhoods, like Mount Pleasant and Eglinton where it’s currently 50 km/h, we’d bring it down to 40 km/h. You have a much better chance – especially as a child pedestrian- to survive a crash at 30 than you do at 40 or 50,” Kennedy said.
Despite these recommendations not a single school on the list compiled by Global News is to have the neighbouring speed limits lowered.
Even with the city’s current congestion problems, Keesmaat says lowering speed limits in school zones is the favourable choice.
“There are places where we don’t want to slow down the traffic, but the one spot that we can all agree on where we want to slow down traffic… where we need to slow down traffic, is around our schools.”