News / Toronto

Scarborough intersection where mom and daughter killed a 'trouble spot'

A 34-year-old mom and her five-year-old daughter were hit while trying to cross the road at Warden Avenue and Continental Place near Ellesmere Road on Wednesday night. It's the second serious incident there since 2015.

A 34-year-old mom and her five-year-old daughter were hit while trying to cross the road at Warden Avenue and Continental Place near Ellesmere Road on Wednesday night.

Victor Biro / Torstar News Service Order this photo

A 34-year-old mom and her five-year-old daughter were hit while trying to cross the road at Warden Avenue and Continental Place near Ellesmere Road on Wednesday night.

A mom and her five-year-old daughter who were killed while crossing the road at Warden Avenue and Continental Place near Ellesmere Road on Wednesday night are not the first pedestrians to be hit there.

According to police data on a new open portal, another pedestrian was struck in March 2015 and suffered serious injuries. Yet another pedestrian was killed just over a kilometre away at Warden and Manhattan Drive in 2007.

Safe-streets advocate Maureen Coyle called the site "a trouble spot" that, like many suburban roads in the GTA, is designed for cars and not people.

"The infrastructure has failed, and the driving culture has failed," she said, noting the lack of a crosswalk or even adequate lighting. The crash site is about a four-minute walk from the nearest safe crossing.

Coyle said drivers on wide suburban roads like Warden often treat them like highways instead of streets where people could be crossing. She'd like to see lower speed limits and noted that suburban bus stops are often hard for pedestrians to reach.

"This is not built with pedestrians in mind at all," said Coyle, co-founder of pedestrian advocacy group Walk Toronto, adding she "can't imagine" what the family of the woman and child are going through.

According to police, the 34-year-old mom and her daughter were hit around 9:30 p.m. after leaving the Silver Spoon restaurant. A different vehicle hit the woman a second time and did not remain at the scene. Police are still looking for the driver of the second vehicle, described as a 2006 or 2011 black Honda Civic. The woman's husband and another child who were crossing at the same time escaped unharmed.

Ward councillor Norm Kelly said his office was contacted seven months ago by a resident concerned about the need for a crosswalk at the intersection, but transportation staff told him it wasn't a good fit. He asked them to report on whether a traffic light was needed.

“Today, as a result of the tragedy, we contacted staff to see where that report was," he said.

"Even if you made a decision right now to put in lights, for example, there’s a long list of locations that have already been approved. You’d be placed in that queue."

City spokesperson Bruce Hawkins wrote in an email that the results of a pedestrian crossing protection study for Warden and Sylla Avenue should be available by mid-November. The study is considering traffic lights, as the road is too wide with too many lanes for a crosswalk.

A total of twenty five pedestrians and cyclists have now been killed on Toronto's roads so far this year, says Toronto Police's Clint Stibbe. Last year the total was 43 pedestrians and 1 cyclist, according to publicly released numbers from police.

For Kasia Briegmann-Samson, whose husband Tom Samson was killed while riding his bike in 2012, it's hard to keep seeing people die.

"I'm heartbroken," she said. "People have that attitude of pedestrians and cyclists just being in the way, and that's not OK."

Without a proper crosswalk, "I think most of us would have made exactly the same choices that this mother and child made," she added.

Late Thursday afternoon, a male pedestrian was struck and killed in Scarborough at Birchmount Road and St. Clair Avenue E. A fourth person was killed Thursday evening while waiting for a bus near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue. 

With files from TorStar News Service. This article has been corrected with updated statistics on the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists killed this year; the initial information provided by Toronto Police was incorrect.

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