February 29, 2024

A Call to Action for Scarborough

All right, folks! We need to talk about Scarborough’s dangerous streets.

On Sunday, February 11, a memorial ride was held for a 66-year-old female cyclist killed at Brimley & McNicoll. If that wasn’t bad enough, another crash in Scarborough this month killed a 47-year-old male cyclist on Monday near Birchmount & St. Clair. While it didn’t happen right on Birchmount – which had bike lanes removed in 2011 – the consequences of refusing to build safe streets still apply across Scarborough. Finally, despite the Danforth-Kingston complete street being part of the 2022-24 Bike Plan, there still has not been a public consultation held which had been delayed due in part to last year’s by-elections for Mayor and for Council in Scarborough Southwest.

Memorial ride held at Brimley & McNicoll on Sunday, February 11

During the memorial ride at Brimley & McNicoll, Councillor Jamaal Myers attended and mentioned how Scarborough has a disproportionate share of traffic fatalities at about 40% of the citywide total. While it was great to see a councillor attend a memorial ride and demonstrate his support for Vision Zero, we need all councillors in Scarborough to take road safety seriously. The best way we can accomplish this is for Scarborough residents to speak up and let their councillors know they want safe streets. For those who don’t live in Scarborough – myself included – we have an obligation to encourage our contacts in Scarborough to do so. After all, councillors have the obligation to represent their constituents and if enough constituents speak up in support of an issue such as safe streets, even those councillors who may not have been supportive initially will realize they need to take it seriously or risk being voted out of office.

Given the recent tragedies and the lack of progress with Danforth-Kingston, there are a few calls to action we should call on all six Scarborough councillors and Mayor Olivia Chow to take.

  1. Ensure public consultations for the Danforth-Kingston bikeway are held as soon as possible so approval and installation can happen this year.
  2. Support the Ellesmere Complete Street when it goes to IEC and City Council later this year.
  3. Demand that the upcoming 2025-27 Bike Plan – also due at IEC and City Council this year – prioritizes Scarborough and ensures meaningful consultation.

I encourage you to e-mail the following regarding these calls to action (plus CC your councillor if not listed).

mayor_chow@toronto.ca, councillor_kandavel@toronto.ca, councillor_thompson@toronto.ca, councillor_mantas@toronto.ca, councillor_myers@toronto.ca, councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca, councillor_mckelvie@toronto.ca, danforthkingston@toronto.ca

While I’m sure there are more actions we can demand from Scarborough’s councillors in the months ahead, there are a few other things we can do to help improve road safety east of Victoria Park.

  1. Attend Sunday’s Memorial ride for the fallen cyclist. It will leave Bloor & Spadina at 12:00 PM while people can also choose to meet 1 PM at Warden Hilltop Community Centre near Warden station.
  2. Sign the petition supporting Danforth-Kingston 4 All which over 800 people have done.
  3. Volunteer for groups like Toronto East Cyclists, Scarborough Cycles, and Danforth-Kingston 4 All.

No matter the setbacks we face, let’s stay focused on our goal of ensuring safe streets for everyone!

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