Opinion | In all the places where Torontonians are dying, I could see motorists speeding. Why do we let this keep happening?

Last Tuesday, when a vigil was being held on Parkside Drive and Spring Road in the late afternoon, around the time that Fatima and Valdemar Avila were killed at this location when another driver collided with their car at high speed la The previous week, I sat on a nearby curb and pointed my radar gun at traffic in this 50 km / h zone.

Driver speeds were typically 50s and 60s on this residential street next to High Park. A large truck was doing 77. This kind of thing is typical. During the vigil, traffic was stopped and the silence was profound: Cities have a noisy reputation, but they are mostly vehicles. Afterward, the dozens of flowers and candles that formed a makeshift memorial blew and flickered in the wind from speeding cars.

The radar was a present last Christmas from my partner, who has seen me wave my arms pathetically at speeding drivers and red light runners. Residents near Parkside have long documented and warned politicians, police, and city personnel about how dangerous the street is. However, Parkside is the same as ever, unchanged. Local councilman Gord Perks has been in office since 2006. Nothing has been done.

However, Toronto police showed up on Spring Road to control traffic after the deaths. This is what it took for them to do their job for a while.

There were two more deaths on the streets of Toronto on the day of the vigil. A third in Brampton. For some, this is acceptable collateral damage.

On Wednesday, I went to Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive to see where an 81-year-old man was struck by a Porsche and then trapped under another car. Passersby tried to rescue him but he died. There were still no flowers or candles when I visited, but I pulled out my radar gun. O’Connor is at 50km / h, but it was difficult to find signs to indicate this, despite drivers exiting the nearby DVP, still in a highway state of mind.

I checked in to a lot of drivers in the 1960s on this wide, fast residential street, although a neighborhood resident told me that’s “downright sleepy” for O’Connor. The road looks like a highway, so drivers treat it as such. Everybody knows O’Connor is bad. The local councilor, Paula Fletcher, has held the position since 2003.

Not far from here, on the same day, a driver killed 17-year-old Nadia Mozumder on Birchmount Road and Danforth Avenue. This intersection, surrounded by residences and schools, has a highway-like median, a relic of traffic planning from the 1960s. Since 2014, it has received more than 40 “personal injury” emergency calls. Everyone knows that it is a problem. Local councilman Gary Crawford has been a councilor in these parts since 2010.

I headed back west to the Dupont racetrack. Standing next to Bartlett Avenue around 7 pm after dark and next to a crosswalk, I looked at a driver going 70. The limit here is 40. Everyone knows this is how Dupont Street works.

Then I sat on a bench across from Dufferin Mall, across from Dufferin Grove Park, next to an intersection used by children and the elderly throughout the day and near where 23-year-old Alexandra Amaro died riding her bike on December 2. . year. Here I scored a car doing 71. The limit is 40.

After Amaro’s death, the local councilor, Ana Bailão, in office since 2010, promised to make changes. Almost a year later, the road is exactly the same as when Amaro was murdered, her monument next to Sylvan Avenue silently watching the cars pass by.

During two days of pointing a radar at cars, I noticed that many Toronto drivers stick to their limits and drive safely. When critics of speed cameras say this is “money theft,” I am now reasonably sure that they are snatching it from the right people and changing their behavior in the process. Cameras must be on every block.

There will always be people who say “accidents will happen” but willfully ignore the road design and improvements in law enforcement that could have prevented these deaths. This position also willingly accepts that avoidable death is okay, a final moral choice.

This week Mayor Tory, responding to two deaths in one day, said that “his heart sinks every time one of them is reported,” but that it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility. That is immoral evasion. The mayor listed some of his timid efforts to control speed and behavior, such as the pathetically few speed cameras on the streets moving through this huge city, which took months to deploy.

All of these councilors also list the self-indulgent bureaucratic levers they are pulling, as they always have, but the streets will look the same and be just as deadly.

Innocent people are being killed and maimed. No more thoughts, prayers, or bureaucracy. Do something. Do nothing. Do it now.


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