Rosedale community reverses stance on Glen Road stop signs just weeks after installing them
North Rosedale Residents' Association petitions city to remove stop signs, sparking controversy
Rosedale residents' stop-and-go attitude towards the recently installed traffic signs in their neighbourhood has left city staff "confused," a Toronto city councillor claims.
In July, says Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, two new stop signs were put up along a stretch of Glen Road at the intersections of Roxborough Drive and Binscarth Road to slow down vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit of 40 km/h.
But just two weeks after they were installed,Wong-Tam says, the North Rosedale Residents' Association requested they be taken down.
"It's a little bit unusual for a residents' association to lobby so hard for stop signs and then to ask us to take it out," she said Sunday.
CBC Toronto reached out to North Rosedale Residents' Association but did not receive a response.
Over half of drivers speed on Glen Road
The proposal for the all-way stop signs was tabled this past May, after a study by transportation services staff two years ago found 57 per cent of the 4,500 vehicles travelling the road daily were exceeding the speed limit.
The study found that stop signs weren't needed, but the city put them up anyway with the urging of the resident's association.
That's because, according to the residents' association's website, it's difficult and dangerous to cross Glen Road at various spots due to poor visibility created by badly configured intersections and speeding.
I don't think the city is acting responsibly. I don't think they're listening to the community.- John Duras , resident
"We wanted to be proactive and not wait until there is an injury or death to pursue a solution," says the website for the North Rosedale Residents' Association.
But the group has since changed its stance.
Stop sign amplified safety issues, resident says
That's in part because some residents say they weren't consulted about the change.
Blake Acton is one of them. Acton has been living in Rosedale for the last 10 year and says he hasn't heard of many who wanted the stop sign in the first place.
"Prior to this, the traffic would drive-by at a reasonable rate and they would go where their destination is. Now it seems we're clogging up the intersection and people are becoming angry, horns are honking, tires are screeching," he said.
The new congestion is created by parked cars, public transit buses routes and cyclists who are all trying to share Glen Road, he explained.
"It has become very confusing for other drivers, bicycles are going through the stop signs and vehicles are parked on the road. It's not a safe environment," said Acton.
What are the alternatives?
Instead of stop signs, he proposes Toronto police crack down on drivers.
"Police should enforce this road to send a message to those speeding," Acton said.
Wong-Tam says Toronto police don't have the resources to patrol Glen Road.
It's a little bit unusual for a residents' association to lobby so hard for stop signs and then to ask us to take it out.- Coun . Kristyn Wong-Tam
Putting in speed bumps is also "not viable," she added, because the 82 Rosedale TTC bus route prevents them from being installed to preserve the air brakes.
"We are left with very few options," said Wong-Tam.
As an alternative, she suggests exploring a redesign of the street. That could include building out the sidewalk at intersection corners, introducing on-street parking and bike lanes to create a physical barrier that will slow traffic.
'It will make it less safe'
But for other residents, the stop signs were the answer to the neighbourhood's safety problems.
Geoff Gittins, who lives near Glen and Binscarth Roads, says he is disappointed by the city's decision to remove the signs because his kids cross the street every day on their way to school.
"If anything, it will make it less safe," he said. "This is a very long straight stretch of road with no stop signs for almost a kilometre. The visibility is poor and the speed needs to be controlled."
Gittins says he hopes the residents' association will complete a broader consultation this time around.
"I'm sure that overall you'd find a significant amount of support for the stop signs amongst the people," he said.
'Not just about one corner'
John Duras, who has lived in Rosedale for nearly 20 years, also applauded the stop signs. He says the community has been trying to find a way to slow down drivers since 2007.
"I don't think the city is acting responsibly. I don't think they're listening to the community. I think it could best be described as NIMBYs, people who are just refusing to have it on the corner, but the reality is this is a busy street.
"It's not just about one corner. It's about the greater neighbourhood. It's about these kids and it's about 80-year-old people who cross the street and walk up and down the street."
While the community has hit what Wong-Tam says is the "reset button" on its plans to keep residents safe, she says she wants them to come to a consensus.
"If we do that by reducing the speed of traffic or perhaps re-introducing the stop signs then so be it," she said.
The stop signs are set to be removed Sept. 29.
With files from Adrian Cheung