Toronto

'It's a huge issue': Latest crash on Woodbine Ave. strip has residents demanding change

Residents who live on Woodbine Avenue are fed up with the number of crashes on what they say is a dangerous stretch of their street, where Lakeshore Boulevard turns into Woodbine Avenue. 

John Beales has had his car hit 3 times on the same stretch. On Friday, it was totalled.

Police say a van, seen here in the background, struck the guardrail, hit a hydro pole and slid into oncoming traffic. John Beales's car was among those damaged in the process. (Submitted by Kelsey Dawe)

Residents who live on Woodbine Avenue are fed up with the number of crashes on what they say is a dangerous stretch of their street, where Lakeshore Boulevard turns into Woodbine Avenue. 

Since January, there have been four crashes on the bend, prompting residents to call for traffic-calming measures, some even starting a petition. The residents say drivers, sometimes impaired are often speeding, hitting parked cars and houses — and they are afraid it will only get worse.

Those fears were renewed early Saturday morning when a grey-coloured van transformed into a mass of snarled metal fragments, and shredded the side of another vehicle.

Toronto police say the driver of the van lost control in the eastbound lanes, struck the guardrail before shearing off a wooden hydro pole, then continued into the southbound lanes of traffic, striking a parked car head-on along with another parked car, before finally coming to a rest.

'The door is gone'

One of those parked vehicles belonged to John Beales.

"It's a complete write-off. All three wheels have been torn apart, the door is gone, my mirrors that I just got are gone," he told CBC News.

Friday was the 3rd time John Beales's car has been hit on the stretch of Woodbine Avenue. (Angelina King/CBC)

A 23-year-old man now faces four charges in connection with the crash including: impaired driving, having a blood alcohol level over 80 milligrams and two counts of failure to comply with probation.

Somebody is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. - Len Yarmo

Friday was the third time Beales's car has been hit on the stretch of Woodbine Avenue where he lives. 

"I parked my car across the street hoping to avoid this situation, but it's unavoidable," he said.

Longtime resident Erika Faulkner is frustrated too. Her car was totalled in May when a driver lost control, hitting her vehicle. But as frustrated as she is, she's also fearful.

Fix could be tricky 

"I call it the autobahn. After rush hour clears up, people just let 'er rip. And I worry because my son's school is just a block over. He walks to school and he walks home."

"It's a huge issue and I think it should be taken care of," her son Tristan said.

Erika Faulkner has lived in the area for 16 years. She and her son, Tristan, spoke with CBC News about their concerns over road safety in the area. (Angelina King/CBC)

Len Yarmo, who has lived in the area for 10 years, agrees. 

"With the frequency of these accidents and the constant speeding that goes on here, it just seems that somebody is going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

But city councillor Brad Bradford says because the stretch falls on what is an arterial road, a fix could be tricky. Extra signage has been added and there's been extra enforcement as well. But the problem persists. 
The latest incident on Woodbine Avenue ended with a grey-coloured van transformed into a mass of snarled metal fragments. (Submitted by Kelsey Dawe)

"Some people have suggested rumble strips. That's not something the city is currently permitted to do, so I'll be asking the province to take a look at that," he said. 

The same goes for speed bumps, says Bradford, adding he's been waiting on city staff for alternatives.

"We actually need to take steps to make it safer. That hasn't happened yet," he said. "And it's not OK." 


 

With files from Angelina King