Articles / Game Changers

Innovative pop-up solutions to road safety issues

By Aviva Canada on

8 80 Cities demonstrates safer streets with human centered design. 

8 80 Cities has joined Aviva Take Back Our Roads, as a collaborator, with the shared mission of making Canadian roads safer.

The organization has been busy in Toronto, Ontario over the Summer/Fall of 2019, with three separate safe street design pop-up projects. The first on Danforth Avenue., the second on Pineway Boulevard., and the third on Mountview Avenue. The pop-up demonstrations that 8 80 Cities undertook were intentionally conceived to showcase a variety of evidence based interventions that can quickly improve safety for pedestrians on different types of streets and in different neighbourhoods.Danforth Avenue – showcased proven design solutions that can save lives of vulnerable road users.

On Danforth Avenue. 8 80 Cities redesigned the entire street to create wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, a street mural and parklets with community programming furnished with street furniture, greenery and inviting lighting. For more on this pop-up project, check out coverage on BlogTO, The Globe and Mail and Global News.

As a result of the pop-up, 8 80 Cities reports that there was a 78% increase in pedestrian traffic, 77% increase in cyclist traffic and an 89% increase in mobility device user traffic. There was also a 97% increase in weekday travel activity during the pop-up. Most importantly, almost every person on the street who was asked about their feelings of safety said they felt very unsafe before the pop-up. In contrast, almost every person asked said they felt safe or very safe during the pop-up.Pineway Boulevard – prototype of safe residential street that exemplifies the City’s vision to get to zero fatalities.

On Pineway Boulevard, 8 80 Cities created temporary bump-outs, to reduce illegal speeding. A bump-out is an extended section of curb that narrows the road way and forces a driver to reduce their speed. For more on this pop-up project, check out coverage on CTV News and The Globe and Mail.

8 80 Cities’ work on the street, reduced speeds throughout the day. In the morning, speeds dropped from 35 km/h to 24 km/h, in the afternoon speeds dropped from 37 km/h to 26 km/h and in the evening from 42 km/h to 24km/h. In engagement polls of people using the street during the pop-up, 75% reported being dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with how safe the street was to cross or travel. During the pop-up, 89% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their safety while travelling the street.  87% of people who used the street during the pop-up felt that the changes on Pineway Boulevard encouraged people to drive more safely.Mountview Avenue – car-free streets so students can safely walk, bike or wheel to school.

On Mountview Avenue, 8 80 cities implemented Toronto’s first pop-up of “School Streets”, showing how a street surrounding a school can be safe for everyone, whether it’s for commuting to and from school or for play. During the 4-day pop-up event, for one hour at the start and end of the school day (8:00 – 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.), Mountview Avenue was car-free, in front of Keele Street Public School, so that students could safely get to and from school.

8 80 Cities notes that the street was immediately made safer when it became car free, but also the chaotic and stressful nature of school pick up and drop off period was eased as pedestrians and drivers were no longer in conflict.

To learn more about this 8 80 Cities project check out this video from CTV News.

"These pop-up demonstrations will function as a test that will help us understand what other steps we should take in future to ensure even more success and greater safety" - Amanda O'Rourke, Executive Director, 8 80 Cities

Who is 8 80 cities?

8 80 Cities is a non-profit organization that brings together citizens to enhance mobility and public space with the goal of creating vibrant, healthy and equitable communities. 8 80 Cities believes that if cities are designed for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people.