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Residents temporarily redesign unsafe intersection to get city's attention

Last Updated Dec 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm EST

Members of the Regal Heights community in the Dufferin Street and Davenport Road area are taking matters into their own hands, attempting to show an intersection needs to be redesigned because it’s unsafe for pedestrians and vehicles to navigate.

It’s referred to as guerilla style community action, that saw residents banding together to use chalk outlines and dry leaves to temporarily redesign the intersection at Regal Road and Springmount Avenue.

On Sunday, Dave Meslin and his neighbours drew a chalk outline delineating a parkette in the intersection, to demonstrate how the city can improve the intersection and make it safer. They say there’s 2,000 square feet that can be redesigned and used to incorporate much safer crossings.

“There’s no white lines telling you where to stop, the stop signs are almost 100 feet apart, and there’s no reason for it,” he said. “You can turn this into a normal three-way intersection, and what we wanted to do with the leaves and the chalk was to show how safe it could be.”

Meslin posted a series of photos on social media:

One showed the intersection in its current state.

The intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue as it stands today
The intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue near Dufferin Street and Davenport Road in it’s current state. FACEBOOK/ Dave Meslin

A second photo showed what it looked like when it was temporarily re-designed.

The intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue redesgined with leaves and chalk outlines.
The intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue near Dufferin Street and Davenport Road as temporarily redesigned by residents. FACEBOOK/ Dave Meslin

And a third photo-shopped image shows how green space can be incorporated in the area.

An artist's rendering of the intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue
An artist’s rendering of the intersection of Regal Road and Springmount Avenue near Dufferin Street and Davenport Road, shown incorporating green space.

The installation was completely removed by Tuesday.

 

Meslin says he’s received support from the residents in the area, and now he hopes he can get the city on board.

“We weren’t trying to actually change it permanently. It was just trying to help neighbours imagine how it could act differently as an intersection, and then to use that public support to get the city to take real action,” he explains.

Meslin says he has yet to hear from the city.

The city’s Transportation Services tells CityNews it takes this issue very seriously, and is committed to maintaining safe and efficient roads for all users.

“City staff will investigate what has occurred at this intersection. It is important that members of the public not make adjustments to roads,” a city spokesperson said in an email.

“Any changes to the road system must go through a rigorous engineering and design process to ensure the safety of all users. The city regularly works with community members across Toronto to review requests for road adjustments, such as traffic calming measures. Communities that are interested in traffic calming or other changes to the road system should start the process by calling 311.”

The Regal Heights community members did however receive the support of the area’s city councillor, Cesar Palacio.

“With regards to the potential of creating the sidewalk connectivity here and to create some additional green space, we are going to do that,” said Councillor Palacio.

“I’m going to bring a notice of motion to city council and then I will engage the City of Toronto Transportation Service so we can work with the community and advance their vision.”

The Ward 17 Councillor says nothing will be done without community engagement, adding he will ask city staff to develop a conceptual design that would show residents what the intersection could look like.