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Pedestrian crossing curbs need to be cut down to size: The Fixer

Some curbs have yet to be leveled with the surrounding pavement, even though it is city policy and a provincial requirement.

The curbs on each side of a pedestrian crosswalk on Packard Blvd. have not been cut down level with asphalt, even though it is city policy to do so, and a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

By Jack Lakey
Staff Reporter
Mon., May 9, 2016

Rules are meant to be followed, unless they are an inconvenience that can be avoided because the transgressor is also the enforcer.

That would describe the situation on Packard Blvd., where the curbs at both ends of a pedestrian crosswalk have not been cut down level with the road, even though they’re supposed to be.

We’ve come a long way since the days when curbs were not “dropped,” or cut down to the same level as the road in front of a sidewalk, to make it easier for people to get over them.

A level curb allows people who use wheelchairs or motorized scooters for transportation to mount the curb with their mobility device, not to mention people pushing baby strollers and bundle buggies.

Dropped curbs are not only city policy in Toronto, but a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

That may be why we got a complaint about curbs at a crosswalk on Packard, between Stanwell Dr. and Hurley Cr., which seems to have been overlooked when almost every other curb in the city has been cut down to size.

A reader named Hana pointed out that the curbs “lack a slope for people to get to the road. It is not accessible to those with a stroller, in a wheelchair, with a walker or on a bike.

“It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

We checked it out and confirmed that curbs on both sides of the crosswalk, which connect to a path leading to St. Andrews Public School, on Brimorton Dr., have not been leveled to make them accessible.

While it’s not an issue for the able-bodied, or even those who can simply step over the curb, it is a big obstacle to people who use a wheelchair or a motorized scooter to get around.

STATUS: Steve Johnston, who deals with media for transportation services, emailed to say that dropped curbs have for years been city policy. Trevor Tenn, who’s in charge of road operations in that area, said that before the city made dropped curbs an official policy, “we were very concerned with cyclists heading into the intersection without stopping. Now, with heightened concern about AODA, we are reviewing these differently. I will have the location investigated to see if we can accommodate the curb (cut) this year.”

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