The Toronto Taxpayers Coalition reacted with shock and a little bit of sadness to news that Toronto City Council would be spending $100,000 of taxpayer money to study the possibility of employing Transport Assistance Personnel (TAPs) to stand at crosswalks in downtown Toronto and remind pedestrians to finish crossing the street before the light changes.
“It’s rare that we come across an idea that is this bad,” observed Toronto Taxpayers Coalition president Matt McGuire. “This would be one. Research is always important, but at the end of the day, what is the best they could come up with? That we need someone to literally nanny us across the street?”
According to traffic management officials, these personnel would not be given any authority to issue tickets for jaywalking or to stop anyone who begins to cross too late, but it is possible that they would be issued fliers to hand out to slow-moving citizens, which would remind them to speed up.
To make matters worse, council is likely to accept this recommendation as they already approved the Downtown Transportation Operations Study, which contained the TAP proposal along with other recommendations to reduce gridlock in the downtown core.
“How many of these money-wasting studies are there?” asked McGuire.
As of now, there is no information available that suggests the people involved in this study considered practical issues such as how elderly or disabled pedestrians could be induced to cross the street faster by these personnel, or whether they would be required to communicate in the many languages spoken by downtown Toronto residents.