Eighteen seconds might be enough time for most to cross the street, but not necessarily for the seniors living in the Broadview Manor.
Last month, 14 pedestrians were killed on the GTA roadways. That concerns the tenants at the Manor, near the intersection of Broadview and Danforth; one of those accidents just happened at the intersection in front of their building. Victor Addai-Agyekum is the on-site registered practical nurse at Broadview Manor.
“There are so many seniors with wheelchairs or canes in our building,” he said. “We cannot expect them to walk faster. The crossing time is too short for them.”
In Addai-Agyekum’s opinion, the timing on the pedestrian crossing signal should be extended from 18 to 25 seconds or more.
“If the timing is longer, they don’t have to always rush,” Addai-Agyekum said.
He is going to discuss this issue with the tenants in the next residents’ conference, and then bring up the proposal with the city councillor and MPP.
One Broadview Manor resident, May Bradley, 64, said she was nearly hit by a vehicle when she was walking back home the night before.
“I never jaywalk, but the light turned red when I was halfway,” Bradley said. “I got panicked in the middle of the street. I was so scared.”
Another resident, Dorthy Ramsay, 92, has the same concern about the crossing time, because she is using a rollator to assist her with mobilizing.
“Eighteen seconds is not enough for me; 30-second would be good,” Ramsay said.
Not every tenant supports the time extension of the pedestrian signal.
Jane Alan, the tenant representative of the building, said it would be unfair for the drivers and cause more problems.
“The longer you keep them waiting, there will be more traffic behind,” Alan said. “Once the drivers lose their patience, they might drive through the red light.”
Cheung Chi, 85, also considers being careful guarantees safety.
“For me, 18-second is OK. You just have to be careful,” Cheung said. “I never cross the road when the countdown is less than 10. I’d rather wait ’til the it turns on again.”
Peter Tabuns is the MPP representing the Toronto-Danforth riding. He wants government to examine the problem.
“At first, there must be a study by the traffic department,” he said.
There were traffic lights and accessible pedestrian signals installed at request of the residents, but no one has successfully extended the pedestrian signal timing before.
“Everything is possible,” Tabuns said. “But we have to balance the benefit and the bad consequence (of changing the status quo).”
The office of Paula Fletcher, the city councillor for Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth, explained that Toronto City Council was conducting a study on the Broadview and Danforth intersection, and the results might available in one or two weeks.