Taking Aim at Gridlock

By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:31 p.m. December 8, 2014
Updated: 4:33 p.m. December 8, 2014

Chief Bill Blair announced the launch of an educational and enforcement program to reduce traffic gridlock and congestion along rush-hour routes.

A taxi cab merges into a packed lane of traffic as his path is blocked by a delivery truck being unloaded
A delivery truck blocks a curb lane during rush hour and blocks a fire hydrant

The program, called ‘You know you shouldn’t… So don’t’ will be addressing five main areas that cause congestion and gridlock: 

- Drivers making prohibited turns at intersections 

- Pedestrians stepping on to roadways in advance of green light or walk signals

- Blocking of the intersection and failing to clear an intersection in the green light

- Blocking of lanes by stopped vehicles

- Failing to clear minor collisions from the road, causing blocked lanes

“Each one of these behaviours impedes the free flow of traffic, increasing travelling time and raising frustrations,” said Traffic Services Superintendent Gord Jones. 

He urged all citizens, drivers, pedestrians or cyclists, to be more focused on the road. 

“Focus on all their energy on being the best pedestrian, the best driver and the best cyclist they can be by being professional courteous and focused on the chosen task at hand,” suggested Jones, of anyone commuting over rush hour.  

He said that, in the next few weeks, the Service will be focusing on awareness and education to help alter the behaviour of those causing congestion and gridlock. In the New Year, the Service will step up the enforcement aspect of the program with the help of Parking Enforcement and Traffic Services to hold people accountable for behaviour causing congestion and gridlock. 

You Know You Shouldn't, So Don't - Parking in a Rush Hour Route

Manager of Parking Enforcement, Kim Rossi, said Parking Enforcement Officers would be part of the solution of helping traffic flow freely in the city. 

“Vehicles found parked, stopped, blocking intersections or interfering with the flow of traffic, cause safety- and congestion-related concerns to the public,” said Rossi. 

She said that more Parking Enforcement Officers will be designated to rush-hour routes.

Chief Blair added that, in the run-up to elections this year, Torontonians had said a major issue affecting their quality of life was traffic congestion. This program is a way of addressing that. 

He added that the Service was looking at the problem purely from a public safety approach and that concerns of revenue-generation were concerns of the city and not the police. He said that a major part of the campaign was to educate the public on their behaviour which causes traffic congestions – for which the Service had developed short awareness videos that can be found on the TPS website and through social media. 

“If they do not modify their behaviour, we are going to be undertaking a significant enforcement campaign and there are (going to be) real consequences,” said Chief Blair. 

The videos show what sorts of behaviour cause congestion, along with the fine attached to the different infringements. 

You Know You Shouldn't, So Don't - Blocking an Intersection

The videos also contain an appeal by Mayor Tory to Torontonians, where he asks everyone to stop behaviour that causes disruptions for other people. 

The Chief added that he hoped citizens would play their part in reducing the traffic problems and, similarly, the city would also be playing its part in solving the problem. 

“It is our intent to do a number of significant things to reduce gridlock in the city. With respect to construction, the timing of lights, the permits that allow people to block certain lanes – there are a number of things that are structural in nature that the city is going to undertake,” said Blair, of his talks with the mayor.

However, he added that police analysis showed that much of the problem on roadways was caused by people being inconsiderate in how they park their cars, cross the street and block intersections. 

“Much of our intent through enforcement is to keep our roadways safe and to keep our roadways moving.” Chief Blair said.

You Know You Shouldn't, So Don't - Prohibited Turn
You Know You Shouldn't, So Don't - Blocking an Intersection
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