Torontonians have a love-hate relationship with speed bumps. In their own neighbourhood they are life-saving, civilization-restoring child-protecting humanitarian structures. In other parts of the city, they slow down emergency vehicles and are a shock absorber-destroying menace that keep people from getting home to their families. They bring traffic to a crawl and because of this, allegedly reduce accidents and injuries. There is a political process for the installation of these traffic calming devices and part of that consists of a residents’ survey to determine if the bumps are actually desired by a majority.
The ball started rolling on this project in 2007 but nothing much seemed to happen until this year for some reason. Eventually, a survey was held last September and tellingly, the issue wasn’t deemed important enough by residents for a majority of them to make the effort to respond. In fact, out of 378 eligible voters, 55 stalwart citizens mustered the indignation needed to participate: 52 voted in favour, one was opposed and two people were somehow able to spoil their ballots.
So the project was doomed to fail you might think. Not so. Mathematical wizards at City Hall turned these dismal polling numbers into a positive by saying that even though the threshold of 50% of resident participation wasn’t met, 94% of those voting actually wanted speed bumps. In the real world though, there’s no disguising the dismal reality that only 14% of affected residents were sufficiently motivated to vote for speed bumps.
As is often the case, regardless of the rules and the survey’s validity, our fearless leaders at Etobicoke York Community Council consistently propose and vote in favour of speed bumps regardless of the process. In spite of Transportation Services recommending no speed bumps on Hickory Tree Road, Councillor Nunziata and her colleagues didn’t fail to disappoint. Cost to the taxpayer: $12,000. Plans are here.
Democracy at work; gotta love it.