“This is a tough bridge if you’re not a car,” said local Toronto-Danforth Coun. Paula Fletcher, who persuaded the Toronto and East York community council to support the installation in 2017. “We keep trying to make improvements for pedestrians on the viaduct. It’s a fantastic piece of infrastructure in the city — we’re just bringing it up to modern times.”
Fletcher noted that the signalized crossing comes as the viaduct — formerly known as the Prince Edward Viaduct — turns 100 years old this year.
Fletcher said she has been working on improving the bridge for pedestrians and cycling for about eight years. The signals came at the request of the City Adult Learning Centre and the Toronto District School Board. Students at the school had complained about the un-signalized crossing.
Cycling and pedestrian advocate Vivien Leong was on hand for the unveiling as a representative of Walk Toronto and Ward 30 Bikes.
“I think it’s great for pedestrians and especially for accessibility,” she said. “For someone with low vision or who is blind, who cannot be sure a car will stop for them, having an accessible pedestrian signal makes them feel comfortable — makes it an accessible intersection for them to walk across.”
But she noted that the signal does little for cyclists, who currently must cross the sometimes-busy lane of traffic heading toward the on-ramp.
“We’ve been advocating for co-ordinating bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian infrastructure. One possibility would be to have a cross-ride adjacent to the pedestrian crosswalk, so a cyclist who isn’t comfortable with the merge can stop and can make that left turn in an area designated for them,” she said.