Toronto traffic fatalities trigger renewed calls for safer streets
The question of safety on Toronto streets has once again reared its head after two traffic fatalities earlier this week.
Fifty-year-old Isabel Soria was fatally struck only metres from her Dufferin Street home. She was walking to the Service Ontario located inside a plaza across the street.
Her family issued a plea to the driver responsible to turn himself in. Surveillance video released by Toronto police shows a grey Dodge Ram pick up truck coming to a stop after driving through the intersection of Dufferin Street and Briar Hill Avenue.
Police said the driver got out of the vehicle, approached Soria, talked to her and then quickly fled.
On Tuesday at around 12 p.m., a 58-year-old woman was cycling in the area of St. George Street and Bloor Street West. She was hit by a large flatbed truck.
Investigators said the vehicle was travelling northbound on St. George Street and was turning east on to Bloor Street West when the collision happened.
Mayor John Tory was asked about the recent spate of deaths on Toronto roads at an unrelated media event on Tuesday.
“Of all the things that give me sleepless nights and has me needing to see us do more — it is this matter of people dying on the streets,” he said.
“Cyclists have to take more care too, as do pedestrians. But the principle onus for change and to get better results heading toward Vision Zero must rest with people who are drivers and they have to slow down.”
Tory told reporters the city is working hard to achieve vision of zero traffic fatalities.
“What we’ve got now is a bunch of talk and it’s time to do something,” said Richard Florida, professor of urban development at the University of Toronto.
Florida said he recently stopped cycling in the city because he the streets are too dangerous.
“This is in the category of patently insane. Cars are to our killing fields what guns are to American cities.”
Traffic services Const. Clint Stibbe told Global News this year alone 32 people have been killed on Toronto streets. That number is up from where we were this time last year.
Stibbe said they receive an average of 70,000 collision calls a year.
“Is it a public health crisis? I believe it is,” he said.
“We are needlessly losing lives on our streets because of actions of other people: Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Former Toronto city planner Jennifer Keesmaat voiced her disappointment on Twitter.
“Tragedy on Toronto’s streets, again. It’s too much to take. It’s unbearable. It’s time to declare a state of emergency,” she wrote in her post.
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