The family of a 72-year-old pedestrian hit and killed Sunday evening in Scarborough is calling for safer streets, with one mourner saying drivers’ indifference to seniors’ security is “like a sickness.”
Police say the man was struck on Kingston Rd. just east of Morningside Ave. Nestor Duque identified the man on Monday as his sister’s longtime partner, Miguel Candia. Duque said drivers in the area treat Kingston Rd. “like (Hwy.) 401. They don’t have patience for old people … We have to get something done.”
Candia is the second senior pedestrian killed in Scarborough within a week, the fourth pedestrian over the age of 60 to die in the city in the last 30 days, and the 16th person over age 60 killed this year, out of a total of at least 23 deaths by the Star’s count.
The driver who hit Candia was travelling east in a Toyota Camry around 8:30 p.m. on Kingston Rd. Const. Victor Kwong of Toronto police confirmed he remained at the scene and is not facing any charges.
But something is wrong when so many people are dying, Duque said at a nearby Tim Hortons that Candia visited nearly every day.
“We have to learn from maybe another country, how they do it for the old people,” he said. “Probably the killing of people in the streets is less than here.”
Candia, a political refugee from Chile who loved soccer and was a retired auto-parts factory worker, lived nearby, said Duque. He often took walks around the neighbourhood, and sometimes frequented the bar across from where the crash happened.
Duque and his wife, Teresa, were already in bed Sunday evening around 10 when they got the call no one wants. Later, they were shocked to learn how many other families have received similar terrible news.
A 76-year-old woman was killed in two separate hit-and-run collisions minutes apart while crossing Midland Ave. at Sheppard Ave. E. last Thursday.
Candia, who was not crossing at the crosswalk, is the 80th pedestrian over age 60 to die on Toronto streets since June 13, 2016, the day Mayor John Tory announced the initiative that would become Vision Zero — a plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2021.
This June, Tory announced a revamp of the plan, dubbed “Vision Zero 2.0,” in part calling for lower speed limits, which the mayor said he wants implemented quickly, with stickers placed over existing signs if need be.
The plan also calls for the implementation of short-term design changes using paint, bollards and other safety features.
In the case of Candia, police are asking local residents, business and drivers who may have security or dashboard camera footage of the incident or area to contact investigators.
From where the death on Kingston Rd. occurred, a Star reporter found it took about 15 minutes to get to the nearest crosswalk (at Morningside) and traverse the street — it would likely take longer for a senior or someone with mobility issues. What’s more, the traffic light at Morningside gives pedestrians less than a minute to cross, something Duque called “ridiculous.”
“It’s difficult. It’s not enough time,” he said.
Pedestrian advocates have long been calling for more safe crossing points and lower speed limits, and the city has been adding some as part of the updated Vision Zero plan, said Dylan Reid from Walk Toronto. But it can be especially difficult for seniors and people with mobility issues simply to reach a crosswalk.
“It’s just not realistic or reasonable to ask people to do that, especially the elderly who maybe move slowly,” Reid said.
“That’s why we need safe crossing points at really regular intervals. It’s like saying that humans shouldn’t be humans.”
Even if pedestrians do attempt to cross safely at a crosswalk, they may not make it in time.
“Especially as our population ages, I think we all need to start thinking and understanding that we may need to be more patient in our lives,” Reid said. “Because these are our parents and our grandparents and they need this space, and we may need to start making allowances for that and we need to start obviously designing our city around that, too.”
Duque would like to see both lower speed limits and more police to enforce them. The speed limit on Kingston Rd. was marked as 60 kilometres per hour a few blocks northeast, although the area where the accident occurred is in a construction zone — the city is resurfacing the road.
Candia and his partner had been getting passport pictures ready for a trip back to her native Colombia or maybe to Cuba, Duque said. They also went often to Niagara Falls. Now, Duque says, his sister is left all alone.
“It’s a big loss for us,” he added. “Because we got close to him, and he to us.”
Every morning Candia would bring her coffee from the Tim Hortons, said Teresa, and stop to have one himself.
“He took care of her,” she said. “He was a good man.”
Senior street deaths of 2019
Including Candia, 16 of 23 pedestrians killed by Toronto vehicles so far this year were over the age of 60. The others were:
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- A 69-year-old woman who was hit while walking across O’Connor Dr. north of St. Clair Ave. E. on Jan. 8. She died in hospital on Jan. 16.
- A 75-year-old man who was hit by the driver of an Infiniti while crossing the intersection of Dufferin St. and Eglinton Ave. W. on Jan. 16. He died in hospital a week later.
- A man in his 60s who was killed in a hit-and-run collision near the intersection of Bathurst St. and Bloor St. W. on Jan. 17. Police said reports indicated he was hit by a garbage truck.
- An 89-year-old man who was hit crossing Warden Ave., south of Bamburgh Cir. on Feb. 16. He died in hospital almost three weeks later, on March 7.
- A 62-year-old woman who was hit and killed by a TTC bus near the intersection of Bloor and Sherbourne Sts. on March 29.
- A 67-year-old man who was killed on Hwy. 401 after being hit by a transport truck that failed to remain at the scene on May 29.
- A 62-year-old woman who was hit by a vehicle at near Jane St. and Finch Ave. W. on July 10. She was later pronounced dead at hospital.
- A 68-year-old woman who was struck by a garbage truck in North York on Cliffwood Rd. at Barkwood Cres. on July 16. She was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
- A 71-year-old man who was struck by a car in North York at Islington Ave. and Millwick Dr. He was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries on July 28 and was pronounced dead two days later.
- A 69-year-old woman who was struck and killed on Aug. 9 by a vehicle in North York. She was pronounced dead on scene at Doris and Finch Aves. shortly before 10 a.m.
Scarborough saw more than 40 per cent of Toronto’s pedestrian deaths last year, with many also occurring on wide, busy roads.
According to statistics compiled by the Star using police and media reports, five cyclists and 42 pedestrians were killed on Toronto streets in 2018, the highest annual total in data going back to 2007.
Since 2007, 230 pedestrians over the age of 60 have been killed in the city — nearly 60 per cent of all pedestrians killed.