The proposed pedestrian crossings are projected to be completed by summer of 2021. Courtesy of City of Toronto

Students trying to cross Queen’s Park may be able to walk with more security as Toronto’s Transportation Services (TS) has proposed three new pedestrian crossovers at popular jaywalking spots. If the measures receive final approval on December 17 from City Council, construction is estimated to begin during the summer of 2021.

Following consultations, the university proposed crossings at areas around Queen’s Park where pedestrians naturally tend to cross. The points of interest were an area at the north roadway of Queen’s Park on Queen’s Park Crescent East; a point on Queen’s Park Crescent West, south of Hoskin Avenue; and a point on Queen’s Park Crescent West, slightly north of the south leg. The study was conducted in April by the TTC, where it observed pedestrian traffic in those three areas during the busiest eight-hour period of weekdays.

The study found that all but the third noted area of concern justified installing a pedestrian crossover, since they had high pedestrian volume and consistent pedestrian delay. Queen’s Park Crescent West, south of Hoskin Avenue, had the highest amount of pedestrian crossings, with 1,323 crossings in the eight-hour period.

Based on these findings, TS recommended installing crossovers in all areas, despite none of the areas meeting all of the standards for pedestrian crossings, as Queen’s Park has nearby driveways and turning movements, alongside three lanes of one-way traffic on both Queen’s Park Crescent East and West. The areas are also in close proximity to other pedestrian crossovers and driveways.

A 2017 investigation by The Varsity found four major road accidents around Queen’s Park in a 10-year period.

Should City Council give final approval during the December 17 meeting, the time between approval and activation would be around 18 months, according to the city. “Traffic control signal installation could be reasonably expected during the summer of 2021,” wrote a city spokesperson in an email to The Varsity. The cost would be about $360,000, depending on the availability of funding.

A report by TS cited U of T traffic as the main reason for requesting the crossings, to improve connectivity and safety. U of T constitutes a “distinct region of urban parkland in the city’s downtown core,” according to the report, which also cited the Ontario Legislative Building, which is built on Queen’s Park, along with its numerous historical monuments as reasons for the new crossovers.

The crossings at Queen’s Park are part of a larger effort by U of T to make the campus more friendly to pedestrians, according to Christine Burke, Director of Campus & Facilities Planning.

“The university proposed these new crossings and we’re very pleased they are moving forward,” wrote Burke in an email to The Varsity. “From consultations, we learned that these crossings are all natural routes for pedestrians, including people travelling back and forth from the University of St. Michael’s College and Victoria University on the east side of Queen’s Park.”

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