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November 13, 2012
Toronto pilot project will test ways to make sidewalks safer for visually impaired pedestrians
The City of Toronto has begun a pilot project to test different sidewalk surfaces designed to make it easier for pedestrians who are visually impaired to know when they are approaching an intersection.

"It is our goal to make pedestrian travel as safe as possible for all residents and visitors to the city - especially for those who are visually impaired," said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, (Ward 34 Don Valley East), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. "Testing different options at the same intersection will give us an opportunity to perform a side-by-side comparison of the cost, ease of installation, durability and effectiveness of each treatment."

Four surfaces featuring different treatments and colours have been installed at the corners of the intersection of Victoria Street and Shuter Street in downtown Toronto.

"Pedestrian safety is one of our top priorities," said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), who represents the ward where the project is taking place. "This pilot project is a wonderful step to make our sidewalks more accessible to those with visual impairments, especially at key areas like intersection crossings. I hope that many members of the public will provide feedback on the testing surfaces."

During the next few months, City staff will evaluate the four surfaces to assist them in preparing recommendations for installations at other Toronto locations. Members of the public are invited to provide their opinions about the different materials and colours by email at or by calling 311.

The City chose the Victoria/Shuter intersection for the evaluation of the treatments because it has considerable pedestrian traffic and the entire intersection, including the sidewalks, is scheduled for reconstruction at the end of the pilot project in 2013.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Steve Johnston
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