Bus crash in my old neighbourhood

30 08 2011

Sad news today: a passenger died when a TTC bus crashed into a truck near Railside Road and Lawrence Avenue in North York. The location of the crash caught my attention, as that’s in the neighbourhood in which I grew up. (Google Maps now calls this the Parkwoods – Donalda neighbourhood.)

I don’t know who was at fault in the accident – I don’t know the details. Looking at the Google street view of the area, the on ramp for the Don Valley Parkway northbound doesn’t appear to be clearly indicated to be a separate lane. So anyone changing lanes might be expecting the vehicle in front of them to exit when in fact it isn’t. Drivers also tend to speed up on this stretch of road – it’s a fairly steep downhill slope into the East Don River valley. A bus driver who was behind schedule might be tempted to speed up to make up lost time – the next stop is at the other side of the Parkway, just east of the Donway East, which is quite some distance away. I can recall being on buses, way back in the day, that sped up on this stretch. Many things could have gone wrong; sadly, some did.

By the way, I did a web search on Parkwoods – Donalda, and found a Wikipedia entry, a City of Toronto neighbourhood profile, and a Toronto Life profile. Apparently, the neighbourhood  has “long been overlooked and underpriced”. Having grown up there, I can say three things about the ‘hood:

  • You’d better like the sound of car traffic. The Don Valley Parkway is just west of there, and it is extremely noticeable. (For me, car noise became normal. And I now live near it again, as I live near Danforth and Broadview now. I don’t think I would ever want to live anywhere quiet – the silence would be unnerving.)
  • Almost every income group is represented: there are low-rent apartments and townhouses, and there are some really pricey houses. (I grew up in a house that was halfway between the two, pricewise.) It was a nice neighbourhood, but very suburban.
  • Public transit is a bit of a hassle from here. The Lawrence East and York Mills buses take a while to get to the subway, and the north-south routes are either slow (the Woodbine 91C) or far away (the Victoria Park 24). The TTC figured this out – during rush hour, a special express bus route runs up to the neighbourhood. If, when you die, your soul goes to where you spent a lot of time, mine might wind up at the bus shelter at the corner of Lawrence and Underhill.

There were lots worse places I could have grown up, but I never want to live in a suburb again.

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One response

31 08 2011
Bill

I was shocked too when I saw the story of the crash. I remember buses speeding up on that stretch, and a lot of dodgy lane-changing to get out of the DVP onramp.

Parkwoods-Donalda eh? New one on me… and the Toronto Life profile claims it’s a high crime area… WTF

lol at spending eternity in a TTC bus shelter

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