When a woman pushing a baby stroller can barely squeeze past a sidewalk barricade — with speeding traffic just inches away — somebody dropped the ball.
Regular readers of this column know I can’t stand utility contractors who dig up our roads and sidewalks but fail to repair excavations to a standard that minimizes the impact on pedestrians and drivers, as required by the city.
Cutting corners is one thing, but a hole in a sidewalk that forced pedestrians to skirt the edge of the curb, on a four-lane street with a 60 km/h speed limit, is ill-considered and just plain dumb.
Last week I was driving south on Kennedy Rd., south of Lawrence Ave., when I spotted two people walking single-file along the curb, less than a metre away from traffic in the southbound curb lane.
Fencing around an unfinished sidewalk excavation extended most of the way across the boulevard, leaving a strip of grass barely half a metre wide as the only way for pedestrians to get around it.
I pulled over to take a look and rounded the corner in time to see a family of three adults, a teenager, a small boy and a baby in a stroller skirting along the curb, with a TTC bus bearing down on them in the curb lane.
The wheels of the stroller couldn’t have been any closer to the edge of the curb without going over. The woman pushing it looked like she was walking a tightrope.
One the other side of the dig was a residential laneway with a vehicle in it. Anyone using a motorized wheelchair or mobility scooter would have been stopped cold; there wasn’t nearly enough room to get by.
The large hole was covered with plywood and well-fenced, so the contractor got that right. But it was as if they didn’t think about the dangerous situation it created for pedestrians.
Who knows how long it had been left that way? Likely not more than a few days, at most. But if the wheels of that stroller had gone over the edge of the curb as the bus passed, it could have been hair-raising for mom, at least.
I went back Tuesday to find the hole patched with asphalt and the sidewalk reopened. But the asphalt, which couldn’t have been more than a day old, was already collapsing, with cracks and holes forming along its edge.
The material used to fill the excavation had settled enough to cause the asphalt on top of it to collapse. More evidence of shoddy work.
STATUS: We sent photos of the barricaded excavation and the family tiptoeing around it to transportation services, as well as the collapsing asphalt patch, along with a question: What’s wrong with these pictures? Here’s the reply: “City staff have investigated and confirmed the work is a result of a Bell Canada permit. We have made them aware of the concern with repair and requested the go back out to improve the temporary repairs as it does not meet with City standards. Staff have requested this be addressed as soon as possible.”
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