November 18, 2021

Statement on the Pedestrian Death at Dundas St. East & Sherbourne St.

I am deeply saddened to hear about the tragic collision that occurred earlier today at the intersection of Dundas St. E & Sherbourne St. The loss of a Toronto Centre community member will be mourned as the resident was well known to neighbours, community leaders and service providers in the Downtown East. Another member of the community was taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained in the collision. This intersection has long been an issue which I have worked to address as it poses considerable safety risks to pedestrians in the area. It is monitored by the recent installation of CCTV cameras and the applicable video footage will be reviewed by the Toronto Police as a part of their ongoing investigation.

The Dundas & Sherbourne area has a significant homeless population either living in local shelters or visiting the area daily for services. We have seen for years that they are an added risk to vehicular injury if they are left to fend for themselves without sustained and appropriate social support.

Our ability to support vulnerable populations and limit their risk includes the critical need to create new affordable and supportive housing. We know this will increase the opportunity for structurally vulnerable and marginalized individuals to access healthy and adequate homes. Access to decent, affordable housing is a key social determinant of health and safety. This is also why I have activated a revitalization plan for the Sherbourne and Dundas neighbourhood.

Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise across the City and highlight the ongoing need to expedite the City’s Vision Zero initiative. At City Council last week, in the wake of other pedestrian deaths, City Council voted to direct City of Toronto Transportation Staff to present options to accelerate the roll-out of Vision Zero through the 2022 budget process, to improve safety for the most vulnerable users of our transportation system — pedestrians, school children, older adults, people living with disabilities and cyclists.  

We must continue to invest every available resource to address traffic safety concerns and understand how other structural inequities impact road safety for different communities, especially in the Downtown East. Today we have seen first-hand the tragic outcome when these systemic barriers are not addressed. Let us renew the call for new affordable and supportive housing and road safety measures in every neighbourhood of our city.

Robin Buxton Potts

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