Passing the hat to pay for radar signs in school zones

Some residents in a midtown Toronto ward are so concerned about speeding traffic in their neighbourhoods that they're offering to pay for radar signs out of their own pockets.

City says radar displays slow down drivers

City staffers say research has shown drivers will slow down when they see their speed displayed on radar signs. (CBC News)

Some residents in a midtown Toronto ward are so concerned about speeding traffic in their neighbourhoods they're offering to pay for radar signs out of their own pockets.

Coun. Christin Carmichael Greb (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence)  said she's fielded calls from school councils, residents' associations and individuals offering to pass the hat, so the city can buy more of the pricey portable radar signs —which city staff say have been effective at getting drivers to slow down,

"These signs that show how fast you're driving actually slow people down up to 10 kilometres per hour," she told CBC Toronto. "I'd like to see them around school zones because that's where the greatest concern about speed is."

Coun. Christin Carmichael Greb would like to see a radar display sign in each of the city's 44 wards. Currently there are 14. (Gary Asselstine/CBC News)

Carmichael Greb's motion to have staff look into the feasibility of accepting donations from the public for the signs was approved at last week's council meeting.

One of the groups that's interested in donating is the Avenue Road Eglinton Community Association.

"It's clearly a safety issue," association president Jim Baker said Tuesday. "We have two schools right here that face onto Avenue Road and if the city can't do it, maybe this is the sort of thing that people can rally around because it's all about safety."

Baker said he'd like to see fundraisers held in every ward. Once the radar devices are purchased by the community, he said they'd be managed by the city, which could rotate them through that ward's school zones.

Jim Baker, president of the Avenue Road Eglinton Community Association, says his members are willing to pay for their own radar sign because of an increase in traffic and speeders. (Gary Asselstine/CBC News)

In less affluent wards, he suggested people in other parts of the city could chip in to help pay for a radar sign.

​Currently the city has four large trailer-mounted radar signs, which rotate throughout the city weekly. There are another 10 smaller radar signs which are affixed to poles.

The trailer signs cost about $12,000 a piece, and the smaller pole-mounted signs cost about $7,000, said transportation services director Miles Currie.Tuesday.

Carmichael Greb's motion is new territory for Currie's department.

"I'm not aware of citizens actually funding programs.That's part of the motion. We're working with purchasing and legal to determine the feasibility of that request," he said.