8 80 Cities Demonstrates Safer Toronto Roadways
On August 23 and 24, the organization 8 80 Cities transformed Toronto’s Danforth Avenue into a small slice of paradise, complete with a bike lane, stage, and activity space. It hoped to show residents and government officials what could be permanent with small modifications to the wide road.
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Reports have been flying this year about how dangerous the streets of Toronto are becoming. Narcity reports that 89,079 red light tickets were issued by cameras in 2018, a much higher sum than the 60,484 mailed out in 2017. On a serious note, more tragic accidents are grabbing headlines in Toronto as well. The week before the 8 80 Streets demonstration, an SUV ran a red light on Bay Street and injured seven people, including a baby, before hitting other vehicles and coming to a stop.
To build its urban oasis, the 8 80 team and its workers created a dedicated bike lane on Danforth between Woodbine and Woodmont Avenues. They painted it green and protected it from traffic with blocky planters full of flowers. Between the bike lane and the street was space for little tables and “parklets.” One little parklet was dedicated to fitness, one was a game area for kids, and another was set up as a stage for performances.
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Toronto’s government expressed support for safer roads in the past, committing to a campaign called Vision Zero in 2016, but officials are wary of any changes that might slow traffic and anger commuters. But if cars, pedestrians, and bikes can all share the road and make the city safer, isn’t that a win for everyone?