North York neighbourhood demands stop signs, lower speed limits after vehicle flips

·3 min read
Jenya Farris, who lives in the Stanley Greene neighbourhood, is one of many community members calling for safer road infrastructure in the area. (CBC - image credit)
Jenya Farris, who lives in the Stanley Greene neighbourhood, is one of many community members calling for safer road infrastructure in the area. (CBC - image credit)

People living in a North York neighbourhood are calling for speed bumps and stop signs after a car flipped over and took out a light pole on a residential street last month.

Toronto police say the driver lost control on a turn near Downsview Park Boulevard in the Stanley Greene neighbourhood on June 24. The driver was taken to hospital and was later charged with careless driving.

Jenya Farris lives nearby and says the crash is just the latest in a series of speeding incidents near her home in the last year.

"It's not okay that there isn't a basic stop sign in this intersection to have that vehicle pause before making a turn," she said.

Farris says she voiced her concerns to her local city councillor on numerous occasions.

She's just one of many community members who are fed up. People living in the area created an online petition, calling on the city to do more to make roads safer by adding all-way stop signs and speed bumps.

Situation is 'complicated'

Coun. James Pasternak, who represents Ward 6, York-Centre, agrees there are "speeding challenges" in the area but says the city is limited in what it can do.

That's because the Stanley Greene neighborhood was originally built on a Canadian Armed Forces base, which is federal land. It was later sold to private developers.

"We support all these measures to keep the community safe," said Pasternak. "There's one problem, and that is the road itself is technically still under federal jurisdiction."

Most of the roads in the area have been taken over by the city, but not Downsview Park Boulevard.

"That makes it more complicated for municipal road safety measures to be implemented," he added.

Bella Roberts
Bella Roberts

The city requires community members to file a petition and participate in a city-conducted poll to have speed bumps installed. To request an all-way stop, people can call 3-1-1 or speak to their local councillor.

In both cases, requests must be approved by community council and a traffic study must be done before any infrastructure can be installed. However, requests can only be made for streets owned by the city.

Pasternak is hoping to have the roads transferred to the city's by next year.

In the meantime, he wants to implement measures the city can enact without the permission of the federal government, such as lowering the speed limit and installing radar speed signs.

150 km/h in 40 km/h zone

Brian Patterson, CEO and president of the Ontario Safety League, says drivers have been caught going over 150 km/h in the area, despite the 40 km/h speed limit. He says the pandemic has created opportunities for speeders.

"One of the things we learned with COVID is congestion kept speeds down in a lot of areas that are now less congested," Patterson said. "People are choosing to take advantage of it and placing the entire community at risk."

Bella Roberts
Bella Roberts

Meanwhile, Farris says she feels apprehensive about even walking in the area with her family. She fears there will be more crashes and says the city has to take action before somebody gets hurt.

"It really worries me that we've already had an incident of a car flipping over, going so much faster than what is posted in this area, and I'm still not seeing any movement," said Farris.

"As a community, I think that we would all be really grateful if we could see the safety being put first and foremost for us."

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