News GTA Pathway closed after 11-year-old struck, killed by vehicle
“After consultation with all concerned stakeholders (the resident association, representatives of Kennedy Public School, parents and residents), the pathway on the south side of Kennedy Public School leading to Canongate will be closed as a mitigation measure until further notice,” Coun. Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt) wrote in a newsletter to constituents.
Last Tuesday, Xu was on his way home from Kennedy Public School in Scarborough when he was struck at Canongate Tr. and Purcell Sq., near Kennedy Rd. and Steeles Ave. E. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and later died of his injuries.
Karygiannis tweeted that parents, residents and the school want the pathway closed “until mitigating measures are put in place to safeguard kids.”
Speaking outside the school Monday afternoon, he said he was open to anything to make the area safer for pedestrians.
Sean Marshall, co-founder of Walk Toronto, called the pathway closure “an easy fix” that doesn’t address the problem of traffic in the neighbourhood.
“Closing these cut-throughs only discourages pedestrians from walking in the first place,” Marshall said.
“The whole goal of Vision Zero, the whole goal of traffic safety, should be to make it easier and safer and more comfortable for pedestrians to be able to walk, rather than cut the accesses where a student might have crossed at a location where that pathway comes out,” he added. “There’s a sidewalk there; it’s not as if the pathway leads right into the street.”
In the newsletter, Karygiannis said that “we are taking more measures to make sure that our school community is safe,” and asked constituents to drive safely and obey traffic laws.
“If everyone follows the laws, it will go a long way to ensure that our children can go to and from school safely.”
Karygiannis told the Star Monday that he wanted to close the path two years ago but did not have community support — but that changed at a meeting last Thursday.
“We closed the pathway temporarily until we come up with some mitigating measures in order to make sure what is happening on the street is not happening,” like three-way stops or speed bumps, Karygiannis said.
Those measures will likely require community council approval and a bylaw, Karygiannis said, and the next meeting isn’t until April.
“The fastest thing we can do right now is, number one, make sure that no kids dash out,” he said.
The school currently has a crossing guard at the end of the road, a Kiss ‘N Ride monitored by teachers and a sign notifying drivers that the school’s street only allows one-way traffic during drop-off and pick-up times.
School principal Frank Liu told the Star last week that Elmsfield Cres., where the school is, is often used as a shortcut.
“I think we’re getting some through traffic, not necessarily residents, cutting through this neighbourhood to avoid a left-hand turn at Kennedy and Steeles during rush hours,” he said.
Monday was the first day the pathway behind the school was closed.
“Certainly we’re going to support anything that improves safety for students,” Liu said Monday while supervising student pick-up at the end of the day.
When asked about the pathway closure, Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario Safety League said “anything that encourages kids to go through controlled access to the school – sidewalks, cross walks, et cetera – is always positive.
“And it’s important, often, that both the school and parents look at what are really secondary routes of travel, where people are crossing … and see about mitigating that behaviour.”
The Ontario Safety League suggests that students look both ways before crossing the street and then look again, only cross at a controlled crosswalks and don’t play adjacent to the roadway.