Another Winter Storm ... is it April Yet?
Jan. 27 2023
How did the snow affect you during Wednesday’s storm? We knew it was coming and many people I spoke to were ready for it to blast into the city, however, I think most of us thought it would get bad later in the evening and that the bulk of it would make the morning the time to hide! As the afternoon progressed I started to wonder if sending my kiddo to school was a bad idea and maybe we should have had a family snow day!
Most of the time when I hear about storms I don’t tend to worry too much UNLESS it is expected to hit during a school day! If its overnight then at least I can make a judgement call in the morning and in reality it takes a lot for me to keep my kiddos at home for weather because really; most storms in recent years are not as bad as expected. I walked in a lot worse back in the day and I know how old that makes me sound, but in the 80’s and 90’s we had a lot of snow and that was just winter. I also think that we were not bothered much by those storms because drivers were used to the snow and ice and they mostly drove for the conditions. This is the part that has really changed in recent years.
Yesterday I watched the snowflakes begin to fall around noon. At first it was light and I figured we were okay for at least a few hours. I popped out to get a few extra things just to in case at around 12:45pm and by the time I got home around 1:30pm it was getting heavy. I caught myself glancing out the window many times throughout the next hour because the only one not home was my youngest, who of course was at school. I knew that if we tried to go get him in the car we were asking for problems because the school pickup is a nightmare in even the best weather. When it rains or snows the double and even triple parking becomes even worse (and did I mention the school is on a 2 lane road)! So that was out of the question as the roads were slippery and that was just an accident waiting to happen but watching our street was scary too. The traffic was busy, the snow was heavy, and the drivers were going way to fast for that simple little factor…conditions!
As the clock ticked on I saw more kids wandering to the crosswalk and our crossing guard blowing her loud whistle while cars drove by ignoring all the people standing in the storm getting soaked as they sped by in their warm vehicles. At one point, right around the time I expected my kiddo to show up at that crossing I watched from my bedroom window a car that I could see was driving faster than the others; as it neared the crosswalk a lot of cars were starting to bunch up due to traffic further down at a set of lights that was causing a back up. The whistle was blown and the stop sign was being held high up in the air for all the drivers to see. I could see one little kiddo trying to get out in front of the adults and was being held back by their mother as they were about to put a foot onto the street. For reasons that at first I could not figure out, I saw all of them jump back on to the sidewalk. I heard yelling and a loud bang ….. NO ONE WAS HURT…but they had all gotten out of the way because the car I had been watching drove up onto the curb BECAUSE HE COULD NOT STOP IN TIME!
My husband ran down and was able to confirm with our neighbourhood crossing guard that no one was physically hurt and that the shaken pedestrians did cross and head home. The driver got out and checked to see that no one was hurt and once those affected yelled at him and told him to slow down, he got back in and proceeded to leave. I saw that while our crossing guard walked the others across safely, that careless driver quickly backed off of the curb and drove away as soon as he could and that was it.
So close to an absolute traffic disaster (a human disaster is a more fitting description) because of speed and he gets away with no real care while terrifying multiple other people, including a young child.
The snow was falling so much at this point it was hard to see but the traffic remained steady. My son was a bit slow getting home and both my husband and I waited for him at that crosswalk because by that point there was no way were leaving anything to chance! He got there and pressed the button for the overhead lights but cars kept driving by! He pointed as we were all taught in the 1980’s and a habit I have passed on to my kids and no surprise, no one stopped! We got a few smiles from drivers with “oh sorry I didn’t see you but I am still not stopping” look and one gave us a certain finger for having the nerve of trying to make them stop! My husband walked out and yelled at one car and got my son to crossover. At that point I was on our side making a stop sign with my hand while the two of them walked across. It was ridiculous the lengths we went through but its even worse that this was the only way to stop the traffic at that official crosswalk WITH and overhead lights!
This driver behavior needs to stop and our roads needs to be redesigned to make them safe for everyone and not just those in cars! This is something I write about a lot and I advocate for all the time. That was such a scary sight and I feel others need to know about it and so I will make sure our City officials do hear about it too!
I love snow. I love to go for walks in the snow. The unsafe roads in my neighbourhood have a habit of ruining my love of snow!
But when I woke up this morning and saw clean roads and cleanish sidewalks I was able to breathe just a little bit easier.
Road Problems Are An Issue All Over The City
The roads are not an issue just here in Etobicoke, we have neighbours on the other side of the Humber River, in Warren Park, who are trying to have an unsafe area of road in their area made safer for the community and they are thinking outside the box in the approach! I came across an event on Facebook and I recognized the road being discussed because I have been on it before and even in the summer it has made me nervous. The area is known to many in Etobicoke Centre as it is near Dundas St on the east side of the river.
The road is St. Mark’s Hill and it is the only road that acts as an entrance point to Jane Street from the Humber Valley. This hill is used by residents of all ages and is a busy road which was the scene of a six vehicle crash on the morning of February 22, 2022. The incident occurred in the morning just before the school day and could have been so much worse if it happened just a bit later. This was not the first time an accident happened on this roadway and the community was not going to ignore the problem and so a Facebook Group was formed. That group was named St. Mark’s Hill which has become an advocacy group that focuses on advocating for pedestrian and cyclist safety on the hill!
The group works along side the Warren Park Rate Payers Association and this has lead to a huge local event happening THIS WEEKEND!
Everyone who want to see better roads in the city and who might like to try their hand at being an urban planner should come out to Winter(safety)Fest this Sunday Jan. 29 2023.
The event begins at Florence Gell Park at 85 Varsity Rd with outdoor fun and entertainment and then moves to Lambton House at 4066 Old Dundas St for some fabulous speakers on informative urban planning topics. Beyond being a great way to spend a winter afternoon the event has an important purpose for the community, the event has an urban planning focus to create a safer walk to school for the kids who live in the community!
The event will be highlighting a larger project the community is launching and one that will hopefully bring attention to the need to create safer walk-able neighbourhoods for all of our kids! While this particular project reflects the issues facing the Warren Park community, this type of even could easily reflect the problems in other communities across the City of Toronto, including here in Etobicoke!
The Urban Design Challenge is now open to kids, teens, and post-secondary students to design a solution to the problems affecting St. Marks Hill (teachers can also enter as a classroom project). This weekend those who are interested can take a site walk and then listen to speakers who will provide more knowledge on both urban planning and the history of the area. For those who wish to participate in this competition, Winter(safety)Fest will act as a great starting point for the work they will be doing over the next couple of months.
Next week I will tell you more about the project and what comes next!
For now check out the website for all the info and if you have time this Sunday, stop by and learn what others are doing and think about how you can make a change in your community. We can all learn from one another when a problem is universal!
Next week I will look at how one strong and organized Tenant Association here in Etobicoke make a point of looking after everyone in their community and at how what they do can and perhaps should be done throughout all parts of our community!
As always if you have comments, story ideas, events you would like to see posted, or local issues you would like The Etobicoke Voice to investigate you can feel free to leave them in the comments or email us at TheEtobicokeVoice@gmail.com
Until next time take care and stay safe,