Kingston city council will be asked to approve $20,000 in order to develop a road safety plan, the first of it’s kind for the township.
Local media has reported that the lack of such a plan is a big complaint among residents. The plan would be based on Sweden’s Vision Zero policy and would provide short and long-term priorities for a 20-year action period.
It appears as if Kingston officials are taking the right steps towards road safety, focusing more so on safety initiatives like traffic calming and engineering solutions to collisions. It will also include recommendations for new guidelines, policies, procedures, programs, and technologies that could contribute to better safety. This is vastly different to the plan in Toronto, which appears to focus more on educating the public as to the dangers of distracted driving.
A Road Safety Advisory Group will be created with a target completion date for a study by September 2019. Areas of study include developing targets for reduction towards zero collisions and fatalities, studying specific areas for vulnerable users, pedestrians, and school zones, and reviewing road safety initiatives across Ontario.
SafeDrives will be reaching out to Kingston shortly to find out if the auditing and replacement of safety mechanisms will be included in the study. If the township wants to make a real difference, they should analyze road engineering in a way that encompasses all aspects of road safety. Most safety mechanisms on Ontario’s roads are incredibly below standard, using crash-testing policies from the early 90s. Some mechanisms like guide rails may be rusted or damaged. It’s important to review those mechanisms and ensure they are safe in case of potential crashes. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is following the newest crash-testing policies, and have updated their guidelines to include only MASH-adopted safety mechanisms. They are encouraging all provincial municipalities to use those products.
It’s great to aim for zero collisions, but no one can adequately prepare for simple human error. The best thing the town can do is make sure the roads themselves are as safe as possible. If a guider ail malfunctions and impales a vehicle, harming or killing the occupants inside — whose fault is it really?
Better be safe than sorry — which is what these road safety plans are all about anyway, wouldn’t you say?