A woman is dead after being struck by a cement truck in Toronto's downtown core on Thursday morning, police say.
Police were called to the intersection of Sherbourne Street and Dundas Street East just before 10 a.m. for reports of a woman in her 60s who had been hit by a vehicle. Photos show the cement truck stopped on Sherbourne on the north side of the intersection.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The traffic services unit has taken over the investigation. Witnesses said she was wheelchair-bound.
Social worker Sarah Ovens said she started emailing Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam about safety issues in the intersection about six years ago after a fatality at the same corner.
"We said this is not the first and it's not going to be the last time somebody is in traffic here and what can we do about it," she said, but added little has changed.
"There's a seniors' building right across the street and there's just a lot of vulnerable people around here that need some extra help and some extra protection."
Trish Sommerfield lives nearby and said the woman often pandhandled in the street. "We always told her, 'Get off the road, you're going to get hit.'"
Sommerfield agreed the city should do more to make the area safe.
'Considerable safety risks'
Michael Petroniuk has lived in the area for the last three years and said he was also worried for the woman's safety.
"This was an accident waiting to happen, I'm sad to say."
In a statement, Wong-Tam, who represents Toronto Centre-Rosedale, said the woman was "well known to neighbours, community leaders and service providers in the Downtown East."
"This intersection has long been an issue which I have worked to address as it poses considerable safety risks to pedestrians in the area," Wong-Tam said.
The Dundas and Sherbourne area has a significant homeless population either living in the neighbourhood's shelters or visiting its services, she added.
"We have seen for years that [homeless people] are at added risk to vehicular injury if they are left to fend for themselves without sustained and appropriate social support."
Wong-Tam added the woman's death was "a tragic outcome" of systemic barriers not being addressed, adding Toronto must renew its efforts to increase affordable housing and road safety measures throughout the city.