The City of Toronto has installed temporary traffic lights in the Queensway two weeks after a “horrifying” video of a female pedestrian being struck by the driver of a minivan at a button-activated crosswalk went viral.
In the video first obtained by Newstalk 1010, the woman can be seen pressing the button on the pedestrian crossover — the kind of dedicated crosswalk marked with yellow lights and an overhead black “X” — on the Queensway near Milton St. in broad daylight on May 22. She looks both ways and points to where she’s headed, then she enters the crosswalk and is hit by the minivan.
The video, which was posted a day after the crash, went viral and sparked alarm from many, including outrage from Mayor John Tory who called to replace the crossover with traffic lights.
In a 2017 report, city staff said the button-activated crossover at that intersection and as another a few blocks west had failed safety audits and were “no longer environmentally suitable for pedestrian crossovers,” citing the high speed of vehicles on the Queensway.
Council later approved a plan to replace both crosswalks with traffic lights.
“When the video came out, I said I wanted the traffic lights done because it had been recommended before by Council and I said I was talking about weeks not months and, in fact, they did it in days not weeks,” said Tory in a statement to the Star.
“When it is a safety-related matter we should be moving quickly like this and I’m just glad it is done,” he said.
Toronto police said a 56-year-old driver was charged with careless driving and causing bodily harm following the incident. At the time, police said the pedestrian’s injuries were not life-threatening.
There have at least six collisions at the intersection since January 2018, police said.
City spokesperson Brad Ross said there are 10 pedestrian crossovers around Toronto that are currently approved for conversion to traffic lights.
In a video first obtained by Newstalk 1010, the female pedestrian appears to follow all the rules as she starts to walk across a crosswalk in Etobicoke. But that didn’t stop her from being hit by the driver of a minivan Wednesday afternoon.
“Staff are taking action at nine of those locations within the next few months, plus immediate action that was taken at the Queensway location” following the viral video, Ross said.
While the new traffic lights on the Queensway are temporary, the city said plans are in progress for permanent ones to be installed.
Source: The Toronto Star