Residents and their local councillor are asking the city for help curbing drivers at an intersection in the Casa Loma area that’s plagued by frequent accidents.
Standing at the corner of Bathurst and Nina streets on a weekday afternoon, cars line Bathurst Street in both directions, sometimes leaving just enough room for pedestrians to manoeuvre across the street — many pushing strollers or walking hand-in-hand with a small child, or both.
The intersection is right beside Hillcrest Community school. There are signs that warn of the school zone, but many residents say it’s not enough.
“It’s very dangerous, some drivers are very crazy,” said Yuriko Yagi, who says she was nearly hit by a car there while pushing a stroller.
Yagi is among many residents calling for a red light camera at the T intersection.
Norma Galera has worked in the area for 10 years and says the traffic has always been “crazy.”
“There are just some crazy drivers that just go — zoom!” she explained, adding the best thing would be to have an automated red light camera.
David McCue has been a crossing guard at that intersection for the past five years.
“Everybody’s in a hurry. It’s all entitlement and ‘all about me,'” he said in between green lights.
Police investigating hit and run
On Friday Oct. 23, McCue said, some kids were crossing the intersection when a car turning south onto Bathurst Street clipped one of them and sped off. It happened around 8:30 p.m., well after McCue was done for the day.
“He’s OK. Thank god he wasn’t injured,” he said.
Police confirmed to CBC News that the hit and run was reported and they are currently investigating.
McCue said incidents like that happen “regularly” and added that a red light camera would catch the culprit responsible and deter others who might think of doing the same.
There are also several Facebook community groups calling for an intervention at the intersection.
A spokesperson for the Wychwood-Hillcrest Kids at Play Facebook group wrote to CBC News that a red light camera isn’t the only change needed. A new staggered red light at a second T intersection just north of Nina Street at Alcina Avenue is key to slowing traffic going southbound on Bathurst Street, the spokesperson wrote.
Two years ago a Twitter video of the intersection went viral. It showed vehicles driving south on Bathurst, with many of them speeding through yellow and red lights over and over again. It’s been viewed more than 66,000 times.
Nina & Bathurst.<br>Hillcrest School on the left.<br>Crossing guard on the right.<br>This is the culture that kills.<br>Cc: <a href=”https://twitter.com/JohnTory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@JohnTory</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/TrafficServices?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@TrafficServices</a> <a href=”https://t.co/gscAuupBEe”>pic.twitter.com/gscAuupBEe</a>
Coun. Josh Matlow has been fighting for a red light camera ever since he started representing the area in 2018. He said he hears concerns about the intersection from constituents daily and he’s determined to do something about it.
Matlow has been told there are issues with the infrastructure in that area, which will make it difficult to mount a camera on the poles along Bathurst Street.
But he’s also been told the city is working on it and the red light camera is expected to be installed by the end of the year. If that’s not the case, Matlow said he will be looking for answers.
As for McCue, the crossing guard, he’s still trying to make sure pedestrians are safe. He worries about what could happen if nothing is done.
“Somebody could get killed, plain and simple,” he said.