Steps to nowhere?

Tantalizingly near completion after being out of service since last June.

Work on the steps from Hickory Tree Road and Bellevue to the Lions Park soccer field has once again ground to a halt. A call to 311 uncovered that citizens can call directly, and the name to call was temporary supervisor Nick Ovington. After two unreturned calls to Mr Ovington, it emerged that he no longer works in this area. According to Councillor Mike Ford’s Constituency Advisor, Jennifer Couto, there is a new temporary supervisor, Phil Jarow. Bottom line; the stairway “is in place waiting for the final testing procedures and final finish grading. A timeline for completion will be forwarded early next week.”

As soon as word comes from Mr. Jarow, readers will be updated.

Toddler killed in fall identified

The three-year-old boy killed in a terrible accident on the weekend has been identified. His name was Wallace Passos. He fell from the 17th floor of 3 Hickory Tree Road on Sunday afternoon.

Wallace Passos was celebrating his sister’s 14th birthday with family and friends when he died. It is not yet clear quite what happened, but several newspapers are saying that the building does not have balconies and that he fell from a window. The police are not investigating.

You can help the family with a donation. More than 100 people have donated $5500 towards the family’s expenses in only 8 hours.

Speed bumps to nowhere.

Hickory Tree Road looking towards Lawrence Avenue West.
Hickory Tree Road on a typical afternoon looking towards Lawrence Avenue West.

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.

Traffic calming on Hickory Tree Road to be debated

Now here’s a question: should the city break the rules when a small and vocal minority wants something?

Should it break the rules if nobody objects? What if the small and vocal minority is right?

On the one hand, your correspondent detests special pleading. On the other hand, 95% of respondents on Hickory Tree Road want speed humps. On the other other hand, only 15% of the surveyed voters responded, far short of the 50%+1 the city requires. But on the other other other hand, speed humps are fantastic things, a delight to children, pets, pedestrians, park-users and bicyclists everywhere, and an irritation to planet-killing and neighbourhood-destroying eroto-autocists, who probably take Hickory Tree Road as a shortcut past the busy intersection at Weston and Lawrence.

Etobicoke York Community Council will have to decide on the 13th of January. Ah, screw democracy—the majority of the minority should win.

Hickory Tree

The community council will also decide whether an all-way stop should be installed at Walwyn and Limerick, even though there is not nearly enough traffic to warrant one.

walwyn and limerick