Bypass: Toronto’s infamous missing crosswalk is locked tight

Written by Janel Knight, CNN It’s difficult to find the object under the cars that regularly meander past where the street is closed. But what’s odd is that it remains completely open — and…

Bypass: Toronto's infamous missing crosswalk is locked tight

Written by Janel Knight, CNN

It’s difficult to find the object under the cars that regularly meander past where the street is closed. But what’s odd is that it remains completely open — and for weeks at a time — even though there are signs on the city’s traffic signs warning drivers of the closure.

“It is closed indefinitely,” reads a sign on the street in front of the Toronto’s Etobicoke Community Library on Eglinton Avenue. “Don’t be fooled.”

But time and again drivers — including some well-known entertainers — have found themselves having to dodge the closed crosswalk or detour off the road.

“It’s worse than I thought, but I guess that’s going to happen in a big city,” photographer Gwen Welch told CNN as she manoeuvred past the street while scouting locations for a photography project.

Canada’s busiest auto expressway

The road in question is a section of Eglinton Avenue West, a major route through one of Toronto’s most densely populated neighborhoods. It’s also called “Mushroom Avenue,” because it crosses the busy Weston Highway — Canada’s busiest auto expressway.

Welch, who’s lived in the area since 1998, told CNN she’s encountered the blockage multiple times since she set up her camera equipment in May.

“I understand traffic is tight in Toronto, but it’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “People regularly pass me on the side of the road to get to their houses.”

Despite the written warnings, some cars continue to use the road, which borders the library.

“There have been no crashes or major incidents,” city spokesman Sarah McNaughton told CNN. “We are working with the community and we are monitoring this situation.”

How safe is crossing the road?

Driver Amrani Rajkumar, however, said he’s witnessed multiple close calls.

“I’ve been waiting at a red light at this location for eight to 10 minutes,” Rajkumar said. “The road is so narrow, and cars constantly beeping or honking at the time of my red light. People miss the stop light.”

The local councillor tells us the road is technically closed to traffic, but traffic continues to be heavy. Gwen Welch and her team find people digging at the city’s busy intersection.

‘Nothing wrong’

“Sometimes, people call the police, and the police tell us the road is closed,” suggested Sanjana Tom, Welch’s creative producer.

“There’s nothing wrong with the sign, and we are just trying to get people to be aware of the sign.”

It’s not clear exactly when the closure began, but if it were closed before June there would have been a 25% chance pedestrians could have crossed safely, according to data on the Canadian Automobile Association’s website.

“Drivers need to be aware of that, in case of a disaster like this,” Tom told CNN.

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