Dozens march down Parkside Dr. in push for safer streets

Daughter of two killed in Oct. 12 accident says it has been “devastating”

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Under grey skies, Ashley Avila and her husband Socrates marched in a solemn community procession along Parkside Dr. to remember her parents who died in a five-vehicle crash.

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Her parents, Valdemar, 71, and Fatima, 69, died on Oct. 12 when their car was rear-ended and badly crumpled by the driver of a BMW.

“For them to work their lives so hard and to be taken out just like that — it’s devastating,” Avila said.

“I have already in my heart forgiven the driver because I know my dad would have wanted that,” she added. “But I want there to be justice. This was needless. It wasn’t necessary.”

It was a chain reaction collision that had the local community frustrated and fearful about how safety measures are not being beefed up along a busy Parkside Dr., which runs adjacent to the eastern border of High Park.

Dozens of people walked 1.6 kilometres in misty rain from the corner of Bloor St. W to the intersection of Parkside and Spring Rd. where the crash happened.

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The force and velocity of the crash propelled the Avilas’ vehicle through the intersection into a hydro pole.

Marchers arrived at  4:40 p.m. — roughly the same time the collision took place.

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Bouquets of flowers mark the spot where the Avilas’ red Subaru stopped after being pulverized.

“I have seen cars out of control and jump the curb,” said Mary Stinson, who marched with the group.

“For me, it feels unsafe being on that sidewalk,” said Kevin Riley.

Residents along and near Parkside started a Facebook group in the spring, called “Safe Parkside,” which is demanding a series of measures to make the road safer.

Protesters marched to demand the imposition of safety measures on Parkside Dr. after two seniors were killed in a crash.
Protesters marched to demand the imposition of safety measures on Parkside Dr. after two seniors were killed in a crash. Photo by Scott Laurie /Toronto Sun

“Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike should be able to use the streets,” said Genevieve Lacroix, who has helped organize the group and a petition demanding changes.

“I would like to thank the community who have rallied,” Lacroix said.

An emotional Avila said Tuesday’s gesture meant a lot to her, adding, “there’s a great cause; it’s not just about my parents.

“It’s great to have the community supporting SafeStreets because something needs to be done about Parkside Dr.”

She also spoke Tuesday with the police investigating the deadly crash.

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