“It’s just a little tiny cement strip,” Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker said. “It wasn’t really made as a sidewalk.”
That cement strip, a pedestrian sidewalk on the north side of Corporate Drive near Hwy. 401, has been deemed too narrow for safe pedestrian crossing by city staff and removing the crossing signals servicing the sidewalk was approved by Scarborough Community Council on Sept. 11. It’s now set to go to city council for final approval on Oct. 2.
“City of Toronto staff was frightened … that a person could walk along that little strip and get hit by a car because there’s not enough room,” De Baeremaeker said.
But removing the crosswalk isn’t the right answer, he said.
“The solution is to fix the sidewalk; the solution is not to tell people not to walk there because we all know that people cross the road when they’re not supposed to,” De Baeremaeker said. “Let’s try to make the walking to the shopping mall as safe and convenient as possible.
“My suggestion is the lanes of the road are very wide so it is possible that we might be able to narrow the lanes a little bit and give people more room to walk on the sidewalk.”
Widening the sidewalk is a possibility down the road but it is financially better to remove the crossing signal, said Peter Noehammer, Toronto’s director of transportation services.
“In the future, if we were to provide some kind of a wider walking area or sidewalk on the north side of Corporate Drive, that would involve reconstruction of the curb and roadway area to get a proper sidewalk,” he said. “That would be likely tens, if not $100,000 or more, to reconstruct the curb and area so that a sidewalk could be constructed there. It is something that we are still looking at.”
Though Noehammer said he’s not aware of any accident involving a pedestrian there, he said he feels it best to remove the signals for now so nothing bad happens in the future.
“In the meantime we basically wanted to avoid a situation where it might become dangerous if the signal heads were to remain on the north side with people walking on the north side,” he said.