News / Toronto

Pedestrian challenges Tory to cross Queen and University without breaking the law

Ev Delen say it's "ridiculous" that the Ontario law says people shouldn't start crossing before the red hand appears.

Toronto resident Ev Delen is challenging the Toronto mayor John Tory to cross at the University and Queen intersection without breaking the law.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Toronto resident Ev Delen is challenging the Toronto mayor John Tory to cross at the University and Queen intersection without breaking the law.

Forget about walking a mile in his shoes, Ev Delen just wants Mayor John Tory to walk 33 metres.

That’s the distance across the intersection at University Avenue and Queen Street, which Delen has challenged the mayor to walk across without breaking the law.

Delen threw down the pedestrian gauntlet to the mayor via Twitter Monday, after Tory urged people not to cross the street once the crosswalk countdown has begun.

“It’s legally impossible to cross it in a single phase,” Delen told Metro, adding he usually only makes it to the pedestrian island in the middle before the flashing hand appears.

Tory’s comments came as he was touting a police blitz aimed at easing congestion.

Officers were out at busy intersections downtown Monday, preventing cars from blocking crosswalks and pedestrians from crossing late.

Tory spokeswoman Keerthana Kamalavasan said the mayor crosses Queen and University “almost daily” and appreciates the challenges pedestrians face.

“The mayor is committed to making sure all those who use our roads – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – are safe,” she wrote in an email.

Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, pedestrians can finish crossing during the countdown but are not supposed to step out into traffic when the hand is flashing.

Delen called the law “ridiculous,” noting New York City recently introduced a new bill that would allow pedestrians to cross during the countdown.

The 31-year-old public policy consultant understands the mayor did not create the law, but said “encourage[ing] enforcement is another thing altogether.”

Delen said the mayor’s comments are another example of pedestrians and cyclists coming second to drivers in Toronto.

“Respectfully, the mayor’s priority is to speed up traffic, not to protect pedestrians,” he said.

Const. Clint Stibbe of the Toronto Police Service said pedestrians stepping out during crosswalk countdowns were an issue at “every intersection” police were at during the second phase of their blitz.

“I think it comes down to an education, not just on the pedestrians but on all road users,” he said.

A spokesperson for the provincial Transportation Minister told Metro there are no plans to revisit the provincial crosswalk law.

This summer, mayor John Tory accepted commuter Bianca Spence’s twitter challenge to ride a Bloor-Danforth subway car without air conditioning. Spence issued the invitation to draw attention to the lack of AC on many line two cars.

 

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