The City of Toronto yesterday officially launched its new Traffic Agents program which will help keep people moving through busy intersections while also improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and drivers.
Mayor John Tory who has championed the establishment of the program, secured the necessary permissions from the Province of Ontario, and, according to a news release from the mayor’s office, Toronto is now the first city in Ontario to deploy Traffic Agents on its streets.
“These agents have been proven as an effective way to keep traffic moving by ensuring motorists, cyclists and pedestrians comply with the traffic signals, by helping reduce potential collisions and by reducing the blocking of intersections,” Tory explained.
No fewer than 16 full-time traffic agents have been hired and will be available ” to actively manage intersections during peak morning and afternoon rush hour periods.”
There are eleven key intersections initially identified for traffic agents to manage. They are:
Front Street West and Bay Street
Front Street West and Simcoe Street
Front Street West and University Avenue/York Street
Adelaide Street West and University Avenue
Adelaide Street East and Jarvis Street
Queen Street West and Bay Street
Wellington Street West and Simcoe Street
Lower Jarvis Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East
York Street and Gardiner Expressway (on-ramp)
Bloor Street West and Bay Street
Bay Street and Richmond Street West
“Traffic agents will be placed where they are needed most based on evolving traffic demands and the need to improve safety and congestion, ” said the news release.
” As the program evolves, and potentially expands, it’s expected that other locations across the city will be identified and included. One or two agents will be deployed to a single location depending on the size and complexity of an intersection,” it added.
Under the Province’s Highway Traffic Act, only police officers are allowed to manage traffic at signalized intersections in Ontario. Mayor Tory, the Toronto Police Services Board, the City and the Toronto Police Service worked with the Province to ensure traffic agents could receive special constable designation and make the program possible.