Memorial and rally for the victims of the fatal Parkside Dr. accident in October 2021

A memorial and rally is being held in a High Park area today for two victims killed in a multi-vehicle crash more than a year ago.

It was October 12, 2021 when a dark-colored BMW was traveling south at high speed on Parkside Drive before hitting a Toyota Matrix waiting in traffic, causing a chain reaction that led to several vehicles crashing into each other against each other.

Two people aboard the Toyota – Valdemar Avilaman, 71, and his wife, Fatima, 69 – were killed in the crash.

Artur Kotula, 38, of Burlington, has been charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death.

Following the crash, there have been calls for improved safety along Parkside Drive near High Park, which many locals say is a hotspot for speeding. They have long been calling for photo radar and a redesign of the roadway.

A motion was presented to Toronto City Council last November calling for an overhaul of the road between Bloor Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, including better lighting and the installation of speed cameras, among other measures.

Com. Gord Perks, who represents 4-Parkdale High-Park, advocated for the speed limit on this section of road to be reduced to 40 km/h from the current 50 km/h. However, he points to the city’s « outdated road classification system » which identifies Parkside as a major thoroughfare and as such must have a speed limit of at least 50 km/h. In addition, provincial regulations currently limit photo radars to streets around schools.

The city installed pedestrian protection barriers at the underpass at the south end of Parkside, eliminated the right turn at the northeast corner of Parkside Drive and Howard Park, and ended the parking ban evening rush hours on the east side of Parkside. A permanent sidewalk on the west side of the south part of Parkside is also part of future improvement plans.


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