Toronto City Council backed a $52-million boost for road safety over the next five years, beating back an attempt to speed up the plan and in the process calling for a ban on pedestrians using electronic devices while on the road.
Council also voted to request the head of the transportation department "consider" accelerating the five-year plan to two years, rejecting a motion by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam that effectively instructed him to do so.
The road-safety plan is Toronto's version of Vision Zero, a Swedish approach that aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. It calls for about $80-million in safety-related spending over five years, up from the $68-million proposed by staff a few weeks ago.
The plan is bulked out by the addition of efforts that would have happened anyway, though, with about $52-million of the funds being new money.
"This council has spent billions of dollars ... to get people from A to B five minutes faster," Ms. Wong-Tam said. "We're struggling to find a little bit of money to keep people safe."
The plan comes amid a worsening toll for pedestrians in Toronto. A recent Globe and Mail investigation into the more than 160 people run down since 2011 found that seniors were disproportionately affected, and that drivers were at fault in the majority of cases.
Cycle Toronto executive director Jared Kolb said the current road safety plan has "some good building blocks" but that it remains too hesitant and has too little funding.