Duncan Xu's death fuels demands for Queen's Park to move faster on school zone photo radar

There's a renewed push to install photo radar near Toronto schools following the death of an 11-year-old boy.

Vision Zero chair says hitting drivers in their pocketbooks will change behaviour

The city is hoping if signage doesn't slow drivers down, the threat of an automatic speeding ticket will. (Tina MacKenzie/CBC)

There's a renewed push to install photo radar near Toronto schools following the death of an 11-year-old boy.

Duncan Xu was struck and killed by a driver near his Scarborough school shortly after classes finished on Tuesday. School officials say the well-liked child was laughing as he headed home.

Police haven't said what led to the fatal collision, but the city's Vision Zero plan to eliminate road deaths calls for the installation of photo radar near schools, complete with the ability to automatically ticket speeders.

"We do think it will have a significant impact in reducing fatalities and injuries," said Coun. Jaye Robinson, who heads the initiative.

However, there's a problem. Robinson says provincial officials have told her it will be mid-2019 before the city can implement automated speed enforcement, attributing the delays to selecting a vendor to provide the technology.

Mayor John Tory used his Thursday morning meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to press Queen's Park to get that moving, and says the premier vowed to look into the matter.

Mayor John Tory says the Premier Kathleen Wynne understands the urgency of the situation. (John Rieti/CBC)

Wynne's office offered no timeline for the rollout of photo radar in an email statement to CBC Toronto, but said it is something the premier is committed to doing as soon as possible.

"Our government passed the Safer School Zones Act last May after extensive consultation with municipal partners, police boards and road safety advocates who asked for stronger tools to keep our roads safe, particularly in areas with children and seniors," said Wynne's spokesperson, Jennifer Beaudry, in an email statement.

"We are working hard with our municipal partners, who are in the process of determining their implementation plans right now."

Mayor says photo radar will address problem spots

Tory, who decried the "carnage" on Toronto's roads this year — 11 pedestrians have been killed in two months — says he believes photo radar can help.

"I want to implement photo radar in school zones soon and I want to pick the ones that have the greatest history of problems with speeding and maybe with accidents," he told reporters.

Tory says he's hopeful the technology will arrive in the city long before next summer.

Robinson suggests there's a reason photo radar will work more than warnings from police or city hall.

"When you hit people in their pocketbooks, it shifts their behaviour," she said.

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.