MACKINTOSH: Death by street – Toronto’s ongoing problems with the automobile

Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in The Conversation about pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries in Toronto’s busy streets.

Mackintosh writes:

It seems every day, another pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed in Toronto. In this respect the city is living a historical déjà vu: interwar Toronto (1919-1939) witnessed similar numbers of walkers and bikers — especially children — dying on its streets by the same cause: Automobiles.

Yet, like their earlier cousins, today’s Torontonians hear the same platitudes voiced by police and community leaders: Cyclists and pedestrians must actively defend their own self-interests. In other words, cyclists and pedestrians must ultimately construct ways to protect themselves — by themselves — on thoroughfares full of dangerous motor vehicles.

How odd that in 2018 the best Toronto’s policymakers and enforcers can do is to rehash a century-old idea that in practice failed catastrophically in the past? Historical fatalities involving children give us a glimpse into Toronto’s remarkably unimaginative approach to the street.

Toronto’s leaders alone created this intolerable street-policy circumstance. Their virtual indenture to the car since the 1910s effectively renders them policy-impotent.

Continue reading the full article here.


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