The city is launching a new pilot project at one of its busiest intersections, hoping to improve road safety and traffic flow around construction zones.
The Construction Hub Coordination Pilot will start in December at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue West, where multiple construction projects including the Crosstown LRT are happening.
Mayor John Tory and several councillors made the announcement Friday morning.
“I think it's a first important step in terms of trying to make this community and the community surrounding this intersection safer,” Tory said.
During the pilot, a "hub co-ordinator" will be deployed in the area to conduct logistical planning of right-of-way, review construction management plans, connect travellers with real-time information, communicate impacts and changes to businesses and communities in the neighbourhood, and collaborate with enforcement officers.
“The co-ordinator will literally be the city's eyes and ears and everybody's eyes and ears on the ground every single day to make sure that these areas are first and foremost kept safe,” said Tory.
The pilot comes after renewed calls for pedestrian safety in the wake of a woman’s recent death.
A 54-year-old woman was struck and killed by a cement truck near the busy intersection on Sept. 10.
"Her death was a tragedy as is every death on our roads, but we got together in the immediate aftermath of that and promise to take actio," the mayor said.
The pilot, Tory said, will provide a roadmap for the city on how to manage areas in the city that are seeing huge growth.
“I'm confident that this pilot is going to see better planned projects in the public right away, which is going to help to keep people safer, save money, and protect public assets in addition to reducing construction-related impacts in the city,” Tory said.
The mayor said the same pilot project was implemented in Seattle in 2016 following unprecedented construction growth.
“When we set up this pilot, we made sure from the very beginning to think of everyone who was living in, working in, or traveling around this area and that's why there has been a coordinator already appointed to serve as the single point of contact for everybody involved,” the mayor said.
Councillor Josh Matlow calls Yonge and Eglinton home but he said it feels like living in a work zone with the recent boom of construction projects.
He said one of the primary concerns that people have had in the area are trucks that are too big on some small local streets.
“And when you have so many of these in the dumpsters, all of them at the same time, it makes it incredibly scary for those of us who walk here every day to be able to navigate safely,” Matlow said.
The councillor for Toronto-St. Paul said the pilot is critical to improve safety in the area.
“And on behalf of this community, I'm very grateful for the work that all of you are doing to make this a safer community.”