5-vehicle crash on Parkside Drive prompts fresh calls to restrict speeding in residential area
‘Unless you live here, you can't really get a true sense of just how dangerous it is,’ resident says
A five-vehicle collision at Parkside Drive and Spring Road on Saturday has prompted fresh calls for the city to build streets in the area that will force drivers to slow down.
Police say that around 7:20 a.m., a driver lost control of his vehicle and struck four vehicles that were parked on the east side of Parkside Drive in a residential area. The driver has been charged with careless driving.
On Monday, police said another driver was stopped going 85 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. That person was charged with stunt driving.
One resident, Faraz Gholizadeh — a father of a two-year-old and a 10-year-old — says "it's very scary" to use sidewalks in the area, which is at the eastern edge of High Park.
"It's quite narrow. The cars … they go very, very fast. There's not much of a buffer between them and us and our kids," Gholizadeh told CBC News.
Gholizadeh says a few weeks after his family moved to the area, he saw a car crash into the front lawn of a house at the intersection of Parkside Drive and High Park Boulevard.
"It was quite shocking to see and that was our first taste of what the street is really like because unless you live here, you can't really get a true sense of just how dangerous it is," he said.
Gholizadeh says he wants the city to do more than just put up speed limit and warning signs.
"Signage is not infrastructure, it's not going to slow people down," he said.
"You need to build streets where cars can't reach these crazy speeds. Right now, you look at Parkside, it's not a 40 km/h street, no matter what the sign says."
'It is fast and furious down Parkside Drive'
Lawyer David Shellnutt, who lives in the area, says there were also three serious cyclist injuries in the area between July and September alone.
He also pointed to the tragic deaths on that stretch of road last year.
On Oct. 12, a 71-year-old man and 69-year-old woman died, while three other people were injured, in a crash involving five vehicles near High Park. Police said the crash happened in the area of Spring Road and Parkside Drive, north of The Queensway.
"I run my dog in that area … and even at 6 a.m., it is fast and furious down Parkside Drive," Shellnutt said.
Radical changes needed
Shellnut says he has been "hearing a lot of frustration" from advocates of cycling, pedestrians [and] vulnerable road users, who have been calling on city councillors to find a solution to speeding drivers.
"If all we've got so far are a couple signs, that just simply isn't going to do it," Shellnut said.
"Radical changes in road safety are needed, and we need solutions that are impactful — changing the structure of the road itself, including introducing traffic calming measures, speed cameras on there and then handing out tickets."
Coun. Gord Perks, who represents Ward 4, Parkdale-High Park, says he and fellow councillors have been working closely with city transportation services to make Parkside Drive safer.
Late last year, Perks submitted a members motion for improved safety measures in the area. The motion passed with the support of the majority of city council.
Perks says the approved recommendations will enhance safety measures in three main areas:
- New signs, a new traffic light at Geoffrey Street and reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h.
- Implementing automatic speed enforcement.
- A long-term "complete street" redesign that includes wider sidewalks, safer crossing, and bike lanes.
"A short-term change that will have a significant impact is the addition of parking on the west side as well as other physical barriers," Perks wrote in an email to CBC News.
"This will remove a lane of traffic for much of the length of Parkside and will make drivers in the remaining lane slow down."
With files from Jessica Ng and Muriel Draaisma