What: The site of Toronto's first pedestrian death of 2007
Where: Victoria Park and Hare Gate After the deadliest year on record, pedestrian advocates greeted 2007 with a sense of foreboding.
On Tuesday, January 2, a collision at Vic Park and Hare Gate (north of Finch) claimed the year's first pedestrian fatality, a 40-year-old woman whose family has requested that her identity not be made public.
There's no delicate way to put it. The carnage continues. An average of 75 pedestrians yearly have been killed by cars in Toronto since 1995 - more than have been murdered by gunfire.
The city at least recognizes there's a serious problem when it comes to pedestrian safety. A $3.6 million plan to replace crosswalks with controlled traffic signals has been green-lighted.
But that plan only covers major arterials (that is, roadways of four lanes or more). Replacement and upgrades of crosswalks on minor roadways (of four less than four), on which more pedestrian deaths will probably occur because crossing them doesn't seem as daunting, isn't set to begin until 2008.
Nor will that revamp be comprehensive. Only 37 of 253 crosswalks on minor arterials will be completely replaced by traffic lights. The remaining 216 will get enhanced flashing beacons, signs and pavement markings.
How long can we afford to wait? City transportation staff acknowledge that all over the city, particularly in the old burbs, there are stretches of road that should be equipped with controlled signals because they are either too wide to be crossed safely or the speed limit or volume of traffic on them is too high.
The city's pedestrian committee says staff aren't going far enough. Besides pushing for more zebra striping and higher fines for speeders, the group would like to see more radical steps, including wider crosswalks and more traffic-calming measures like pinch points.
The committee has also asked the city to review the 200-metre minimum now required between traffic signals.
Meanwhile, pedestrians who venture into traffic-filled streets are literally taking their lives in their hands.