Har­bord res­i­dents take to the streets

Fifty in­stances of ve­hi­cles driv­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion were noted dur­ing study

Annex Post - - NEWS - By George Redak

Amidst a sum­mer that has seen a num­ber of pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists crit­i­cally in­jured or killed on the streets, the Har­bord Vil­lage Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion (HVRA) has taken street safety into their own hands.

On June 12, 30 vol­un­teers were sta­tioned at eight dif­fer­ent res­i­den­tial street cor­ners to catch the morn­ing and af­ter­noon rush hour pe­ri­ods and recorded their find­ings.

Dur­ing the sur­vey pe­riod, there were 54 in­stances of ve­hi­cles ob­served driv­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion. At Har­bord Street and Robert Street, the HVRA wit­nessed about 35 per cent of cars fail­ing to stop at the cross­walk when it was oc­cu­pied by a pedes­trian.

“The cross­walk was the shocker to me,” said Sue Dex­ter from the HVRA. “I was out at Har­bord and Robert.... I was sick­ened by it af­ter about an hour.”

Ac­cord­ing to City of Toronto’s road safety ini­tia­tive Vi­sion Zero, one pedes­trian is se­ri­ously in­jured or killed ev­ery three days on Toronto’s roads. Fif­teen per cent of those in­ci­dents take place at pedes­trian cross­walks.

In re­sponse to the find­ings, lo­cal coun­cil­lor Joe Cressy in­tro­duced a mo­tion to re­place the cross­walk with a full sig­nal. How­ever, in­stalling a traf­fic light on a ma­jor ar­te­rial such as Har­bord re­quires full Toronto City Coun­cil ap­proval. The pro­posal went through an ini­tial re­view fol­low­ing Cressy’s mo­tion. Al­though it passed the first round of votes in com­mu­nity coun­cil, a fi­nal round will be held at the end of July.

“If the City of Toronto was se­ri­ous about Vi­sion Zero, we would look to im­ple­ment any im­proved safety mea­sure quickly as op­posed to a pro­longed and pro­tracted fight at city coun­cil,” said Cressy.

The study has be­come a call to ac­tion for other res­i­dent groups.

“[The An­nex Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion] are form­ing their own com­mit­tee along with Seaton vil­lage,” said Dex­ter. “The other day, coun­cil­lor Mike Lay­ton was out in Seaton vil­lage sit­ting with peo­ple do­ing a count [of il­le­gal car ac­tions]. And he was shocked. It is one thing to know there is a prob­lem, it is an­other to see it with your eyes.”

How­ever, Cressy is dis­heart­ened that it was up to vol­un­teers to push the nee­dle on this key city is­sue.

“The fact that you have a neigh­bour­hood as­so­ci­a­tion go­ing out on their own to iden­tify prob­lems, as op­posed to [coun­cil] proac­tively ad­dress­ing them, demon­strates that our ap­proach to Vi­sion Zero is not am­bi­tious enough,” said Cressy.

Our ap­proach to Vi­sion Zero is not am­bi­tious enough.

L-R: Sue Dex­ter and Carolee Orme from the Har­bord Vil­lage Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion

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