The appallingly dangerous driving practices of many travelling on Leaside roads and the corresponding concern for pedestrian safety has generated many requests to increase the number of crossing guards at busier intersections.
Staff Sgt. Moyer of 53 Division has been very supportive and once the police receive my formal request, they will conduct a “real time” investigation, counting vehicles and pedestrians to verify that a crossing guard is warranted.
Last spring the police carried out their site inspection at Bessborough and McRae and deemed that the traffic to pedestrian ratio was not high enough. However, local resident Jennifer Avveduto wasn’t convinced so she asked me to put in another request in the fall.
Jennifer’s determination is appreciated; after their second investigation the police agreed that a crossing guard was warranted. Unfortunately, we still don’t have one. The problem? The police can’t find enough crossing guards. On a recent drive through the community, I noticed that two of the existing crossing duties were being performed by uniformed police officers.
It would seem that a major issue is the poor pay. Currently, crossing guards are paid just a pittance more than minimum wage and while they work before school, at lunch and after school – in reality the entire day – they are only compensated for three hours work.
This needs to change. While the city has serious budget issues, a lack of funds can’t be an excuse when we are trying to ensure pedestrian safety, especially where children cross every day to go to school. At the very least we need to provide TTC Metropasses so those who need to travel to their post don’t incur the $6.50 daily cost of doing so.
I’ve been advised that this is a city-wide issue and it’s definitely one that I will be pursuing.
In the meantime, if you know anyone who might be interested in crossing guard duties please contact my office (416 392-0215) or Staff Sgt. Moyer of 53 Division (416 808-5354).