Safety on our Streets – Letter from Hintonburg Resident to the Mayor & Council

Safety on our streets is becoming increasingly problematic. Please read below an important plea to the Mayor and City Council to better protect residents and visitors to our streets from Hintonburg resident and HCA board member, Matt Whitehead sent June 13th, 2019.

Mr. Mayor,

I am disappointed by what I perceive to be a lack of leadership & urgency from yourself and a majority of Council to ensure safety for all users on our streets and sidewalks .

My family lives in Kitchissippi Ward on Hamilton Avenue North (one house north of Tyndall Avenue) and every day we witness a callous disregard for the basic rules of the road. 

I walk my son to Connaught Public School and we see cars running red lights, blocking crosswalks, speeding, rolling through stop signs, ignoring signage etc.  Gladstone & Parkdale is particularly bad but I am sure you are aware of the problem spots throughout this specific area of town (Parkdale & Wellington, Holland & Tyndall, Holland & Wellington, Tyndall & Parkdale).

Yesterday, the crossing guard at Gladstone & Rosemount was visibly shaken as he filled out an incident report for a driver who had driven through the intersection & crosswalk despite the guard standing with his stop sign.  My wife had to yell at a car to stop that was rolling towards her and my youngest daughter (the car was trying to turn right from Gladstone onto Parkdale) as they crossed. This morning I witnessed a child on a skateboard, with the right of way through the crosswalk, come within a metre of being hit by a car that completely ran through the red light going south on Parkdale at Gladstone.

Two months ago my wife and daughter were in a serious car accident that caused our SUV to be written off.  My wife was driving south on Holland to take my daughter to her school on Broadview Avenue.    A driver, going west on Ruskin, drove into the side of our car (directly where my daughter was sitting) at such speed that our car was spun around and destroyed.  The driver “didn’t look right” when she tried to race across Holland.  We are extremely fortunate that my daughter was not hurt.  I believe the behaviour of the driver – too fast, not being careful – is partially a result of not being held to account for all the other tiny infractions that we have allowed to become commonplace for those driving automobiles (rolling through stop signs, not adhering to speed limits, etc).  

I bike year round from my home to my office at Bank & Catherine.  I follow the rules of the road: complete stop at stop signs, don’t advance until light turns green, hand signal for all movements, etc.  The behaviour of drivers that I see every day is astounding and often puts me, and other users,  in unsafe positions.  Gladstone is a signed bike route, is almost entirely residential, and is almost entirely 40km/hr.  

These are just some recent examples of my family’s experiences as pedestrians/cyclists/drivers of the roads in our city (specifically in our neighbourhood). It is only a matter of time until someone else is hurt or killed.  What is the plan to make the streets safer to use?  What is the plan to enforce the rules of the road? 

While I believe that all users should follow the rules to ensure their safety, those who drive automobiles are in a different position since they are afforded the safety of being inside a car but also have a greater responsibility since their actions can, very easily, kill someone.

I look forward to hearing your plan so that residents can walk/bike/drive throughout our city without fear of grievous bodily harm.

Appreciate your support in this matter.

Matt Whitehead

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