Toronto

Toronto man who stood up to aggressive drivers frustrated city won't put speed humps on his street

Alex Weaver stood in the middle of his North York street to slow down speeding drivers last summer. But he’s not sure what he’ll have to do to get city hall to install speed humps.

Toronto has added fewer than 200 humps since launching Vision Zero road safety plan in 2016

Alex Weaver doesn't block traffic on Park Home Avenue anymore, but says he has set up a camera to record speeding drivers. However, the city has denied his request to install speed humps. (John Rieti/CBC)

Alex Weaver stood in the middle of his North York street to slow down speeding drivers last summer.

But he's not sure what he'll have to do to get city hall to install speed humps.

Weaver, who lives on Park Home Avenue in the Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue West area, says more than half of the residents on his street signed a petition requesting the common traffic-calming measure. However, five months after Weaver filed it, city transportation staff rejected the request, noting in a report that while speeding is common in the area, humps shouldn't be added because Park Home doesn't have a sidewalk.

Weaver, who now has a videocamera trained on the street to record speeders (Toronto police told him to stop walking out into traffic), is frustrated with the response.

"I'm worried about somebody getting killed, because it's going to come to that," he told CBC Toronto.

Transportation staff are recommending adding a sidewalk to the suburban-style street, but Weaver says his neighbours have told him they "absolutely" don't want that. 

The city offers these slow down signs, but Weaver says they've been ineffective. (John Rieti/CBC)

Local Coun. John Filion, who is currently fighting for a major redesign of Yonge Street a few blocks from Weaver's home, says he supports the idea of a sidewalk, and his office is surveying residents about that option now. He didn't rule out adding speed humps, but says the city's official traffic-calming policy requires the presence of a sidewalk before humps can be added.

Filion also says adding humps aren't always the best solution.

"There's a lot of better, more effective, more comprehensive ways of creating safety," he said.

With speed humps, "you get all kinds of unintended consequences. Like people literally do things like drive with two wheels up on a sidewalk."

Filion suggested he's also open to looking at other measures, like lowering the speed limit, which is currently 40 km/h — the city report notes most vehicles operate between 6 and 13 km/h faster than that, though Weaver says he's seen cars travelling far faster.

Should city change speed hump policy?

While Weaver's dispute with city hall is ongoing, it points to a larger issue.

Coun. Mike Layton, who wants more capital funding put behind the city's Vision Zero plan to eliminate road deaths, says it takes too long for the city to review requests to add speed humps and the barrier to putting them in may be too high as well. Since adopting Vision Zero in 2016, the city has installed fewer than 200 humps in just over 50 locations to slow down aggressive drivers.

Layton suggests it may be time to revisit the city's policies around installing speed humps.

"The reality is, if we want to build a safer city, maybe our warrants are incorrect," he said.

Toronto has seen a spate of pedestrian deaths in 2018. While many fatal collisions have been on major roads, others have occurred on smaller streets, including the one that claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy. In that case, the local councillor moved to temporarily close a laneway until transportation staff can evaluate speed humps in the area.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Rieti is the senior producer of digital at CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country. In Toronto, he's covered everything from the Blue Jays to Toronto city hall. Outside of work, catch him cycling in search of the city's best coffee.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now