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article imageIs Toronto's Eglinton & Laird a 'danger zone' for pedestrians? Special

By Andrew Moran     Jan 10, 2012 in Travel
Toronto - With pedestrians continually complaining about reckless drivers turning at a Leaside intersection, DigitalJournal.com decided to investigate the southeast corner crosswalk at Eglinton Ave. East and Laird Drive.
According to recent statistics, it seems that intersections with traffic signals are dangerous areas for pedestrians. Traffic statistics suggest that 119 pedestrians were struck by vehicles and 70 percent of those were at signalized intersections.
One of the most recent incidences of a driver striking a pedestrian was in June. A car hit three pedestrians at the Toronto intersection of Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue – one pedestrian was killed.
A road where drivers head north and usually either make east or west turns onto Eglinton Avenue.
A road where drivers head north and usually either make east or west turns onto Eglinton Avenue.
Sometimes a pedestrian doesn’t have to get injured by a vehicle, but even by a bicycle. In the summer, a cyclist received a $400 fine after striking a 56-year-old woman when the cyclist was traveling the wrong way on a one-way intersection.
After hearing many complaints from residents in Leaside, this reporter decided to watch the southeast corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Laird Drive. At this intersection, there is a traffic signal and crosswalk for pedestrians. When the light turns green for north drivers, pedestrians are immediately permitted to walk.
Unfortunately, a considerable number of drivers who turn east when driving north tend to ignore pedestrians and immediately turn. One of the most common instances is when both the driver and pedestrian are waiting and instead of letting the pedestrian(s) walk, the driver immediately turns.
The  danger zone  pedestrian crosswalk  as one pedestrian called it.  This is the southeast corner o...
The "danger zone" pedestrian crosswalk, as one pedestrian called it. This is the southeast corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Laird Drive.
On Monday afternoon, three pedestrians were waiting to cross and proceeded to walk when it was their turn, but a SUV driver actually drove around the pedestrians instead of waiting.
Another time, a lady and her dog were walking when a driver turned and slammed the breaks. The lady gave the driver a look, but it is unclear if the driver acknowledged the resentment that the bystander had.
Speaking with a couple of pedestrians during the research, one resident called the crosswalk a “danger zone” for pedestrians because several times a week she experiences drivers ignoring pedestrians. The woman, who did not want to provide her name, noted that she has lived here for more than three years and believes Leaside and St. Paul’s – an area just west of Laird – have it the worst.
“Eglinton and Laird and Eglinton and Bayview [Avenue] are the worst places to cross,” said the lady, who was carrying two bags of Sobey’s groceries. “An accident is bound to happen because drivers do not let us walk. I don’t understand why this continually happens.”
A glimpse of how busy the Eglinton Avenue East and Laird Drive intersection can be.
A glimpse of how busy the Eglinton Avenue East and Laird Drive intersection can be.
Another pedestrian explained that he has taken precaution when crossing. “Before I even cross, I make sure that there are no cars within 25 kilometres,” said an elderly man in jest.
What about the other corners of the intersection? There doesn’t seem to be any trouble at all – except rush hour traffic.
Some believe it’s going to get worse, though, for a couple of reasons.
- The frequency of Toronto Transit Commission buses will decrease, which means more transit riders will run for the bus to and from any of the corners.
- A Starbucks is opening soon at the northwest corner.
- Leaside is a growing community, which means more pedestrians and more drivers.
More about Toronto, eglinton avenue, laird drive, Leaside, Pedestrians
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