Don’t drink and drive. Pay attention while you drive, even if your head is clear.

Updates: Regarding the switching of lanes on Lake Shore Blvd. West at Fortieth Street, I’m pleased to share with you the following Nov. 27, 2013 message from Councillor Mark Grimes’ office:

  • Staff have reviewed the collision history Eastbound on Lake Shore Boulevard West between Brown’s Line off ramp and Fortieth Street, for a five year period, January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2012. The Toronto Police Service collision records indicate that there have been one reported collision where a vehicle travelling on the curb lane changed lanes onto streetcar lane and collided with another vehicle.
  • Based on investigation, staff do not recommend any changes to the pavement marking on this section of road.

[End of text]

A Sept. 30, 2014 CBC podcast is entitled: “A Deadly Wandering: How texting and driving killed two rocket scientists.”

An Oct. 7, 2014 CBC article is entitled: “Talking cars actually more dangerous, studies find.”

[End of updates]


This is valuable information I much appreciate the response from the Councillor’s office. One accident every five years or so is better than my anecdotal recollection, which was inaccurate.

Dec. 9, 2013 update: I’ve also noticed, in recent days, that the two traffic islands on Lake Shore Blvd. West between Fortieth Street and Thirty Ninth Street have been eliminated, as part of the TTC roadway reconstruction project that has recently been under way. This means that the chances of a collision, between a car making a right-hand turn at Fortieth Street, and a car simultaneously making a lane change from the inner to the outer lane on Lake Shore Blvd. West, has been markedly reduced. If a driver changing a lane needs to make a last-minute correction, that will be more easily accomplished without the presence of a traffic barrier.

 [End of updates]

A CityNews video shows the aftermath of a two-vehicle accident in Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey) at 2:00 am on Nov. 8, 2013 in which both drivers were charged with impairment.

Two vehicles collided at Lake Shore and Long Branch on Nov. 8, 2013. CITYNEWS.

A Nov. 8, 2013 article at 680 News is entitled: “2 drivers face impaired charges after Lake Shore-Long Branch crash.”

A Nov. 23, 2013 Metro News article is entitled: “Crash kills driver, splits car in half in Mississauga.”

A Nov. 23, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “SIU probes fatal crash after man flees R.I.D.E spot check.”

A Nov. 24, 2013 CBC article is entitled: “Distracted driving crackdown kicks off Monday in Calgary.” The subhead reads: “Police say public still not getting the message about dangers of distracted driving.”

Speaking of getting hit, a Nov. 25, 2013 CBC article from CBC’s Go Public underlines that it’s handy for consumers to have an accurate assessment of gas consumption, before they buy that new car. According to a recent interview on CBC’s Metro Morning, you can do online search regarding gas mileage by visiting American websites that deal with this topic. Among those sites is Consumer Reports. The CBC Nov. 25, 2013 CBC article (see link above) notes: “Canadian government-approved tests have been panned by critics for several years, for not being as realistic as U.S. tests done by the same automakers there.”


I’ve noticed, after 45 years of driving, that bad driving habits can creep up on a person even when perfectly clear-headed and sober.

Here is what I’ve learned:

  • Be clear about where you’re going, especially when wearing sunglasses on a bright sunny day, when backing up your car from the driveway. You’re doing a manoeuvre that you’ve done countless times before – yet you might just run into a surprise, such as a car illegally parked on the road across from your driveway.
  • Take care driving when visibility is reduced, such as at night during a rainstorm or snowstorm.
  • At the first sign of drowsiness while driving, stop to assess your situation. Stop the car, take a break, have a coffee. Don’t drive when drowsy.
  • Avoid distractions. Focus on the job at hand, which is the driving of your car.

A possible related topic may eventually also come to mind, namely: How old is too old to drive?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the potential consequences of collisions.

Making a right-hand turn when travelling north on Fortieth Street in Long Branch can be dicey

Roughly once in 18 months, based on my anecdotal evidence, a collision occurs when a person seeks to make a right-hand turn at the corner of Fortieth Street and Lake Shore Blvd. West where the Fair Grounds Café & Roastery is located. I’ve been making turns at this corner just about every day for close to twenty years.

[Please refer to update at the start of this post. My anecdotal recollection, as the update notes, is not accurate. Better to go with the evidence rather than my anecdotal memory of events.]

The dynamics and physics of the turn are of interest. Vehicles travelling from the west at this point have two lanes. Drivers in the inner lane (the north side of the two lanes) travelling east often switch to the outer lane – to the southernmost lane – at around Fortieth Street.

In the event a driver travelling from the west has switched into the outer lane, and a driver at Fortieth Street and Lake Shore is making a turn to the right, you have an interesting funnelling situation.

The double lane just east of Fortieth Street splits into two separate lanes because of the TTC transit island. About once every 18 months, according to my anecdotal estimate, a driver who has just switched lanes on Lake Shore Blvd. West, and another driver who has just made a right-hand turn at Fortieth Street, will find themselves both seeking to enter the single lane on the south side of Lake Shore Blvd. West.

Only enough room for one vehicle

There’s only enough room for one vehicle, at that point. If two vehicle compete for the space, a collision occurs.

An interesting feature, of the scenario that I’ve described, is that if two drivers make simultaneous decisions to proceed, they set the stage for a likely collision.

Often one or the other driver can make a last-minute correction. When such a correction isn’t possible, a collision occurs.

Would it be helpful or possible to have a solid white line in the section of roadway between the Brown’s Line ramp and Fortieth Street? With a solid white line at that location, drivers would be alerted to the danger of switching lanes between the Brown’s Line ramp and Fortieth Street.

I wouldn’t know if it’s feasible. I’ve been meaning to bring the attention of Councillor Grimes’ office to this question. I’ll forward a link to this blog post to the councillor’s office. Who knows what can be done? Anyway, if you read this, and live in Long Branch, you will perhaps be extra attentive at this corner.


4 replies
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Colleen M. O’Marra writes:

    Very good point about the 40th Street right-hand turn but a more
    remarkable and incredibly dangerous turn east or west is at 36th
    Street and LakeProm. Cyclists and cars are speeding through what I
    like to call The Eye of the Needle as if there’d just been a
    declaration of war.With no sidewalks on either side,dog walkers, moms
    with baby carriages ,pedestrians,cyclists and drivers are surely
    tempting fate. It’s every man for himself. What is the blasted hurry ?
    ( Colleen M. O’Marra)

  2. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    That’s a corner that I will pay special attention to, next time I’m there.

    I’ve learned over time that often the safest route to anywhere is along Lake Shore Blvd. West as contrasted to the back streets. There’s plenty of traffic but much of the time there aren’t any big surprises.

    On the other hand, there are also some routes, such as along Horner Avenue, that are much easier to travel – in the morning, for example – than Lake Shore Blvd. West, because there’s less traffic and less traffic lights. Over time, I guess that people learn all types of routes to get them to their destinations with the minimum of hassle.

  3. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Anna Lafoyiannis writes:

    Your point about that intersection at 40th is well made. We’ve had several close calls there especially when leaving the parking spots in front of fair grounds. I really wonder if those diagonal parking spots are safe for drivers And cyclists along lakeshore.

  4. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Backing up blind onto Lake Shore Blvd. West from one of the angled parking spots can indeed be a challenge, as I’ve noticed over the years.

    People have commented, in recent years, that the parking situation at the corner of Forty First Street and Lake Shore Blvd. West and in the general area is indeed a source for concern, given the increase in traffic in the area.

    I recall overhearing an animated late-night conversation, accompanied by plenty of cussing, at the corner about a month ago, when I was walking home from the GO Station. Somebody was saying that they had missed a collision – by a fraction of inches – involving a U-turn at that corner. Thus U-turns are another thing to watch out for.

    Which reminds me – on occasion, over the years, I’ve seen a car get flipped over, onto its roof, following a high-speed encounter with a ramp-like structure that used to be in place at either end of the TTC transit islands. It will be of interest to see what kinds of structures are built at the end of the redesigned traffic islands.

    I’m also reminded that when cars travel from Mississauga toward Long Branch, there’s a stretch of road where some drivers choose to proceed at 80 kilometres per hour in a 50 kph zone. That means that when they round the corner, at the traffic lights by the Brown’s Line exit ramp, they can easily be travelling at quite a clip.

    At that point, it’s not easy for a driver at Forty First Street and Lake Shore Blvd. West, especially if there’s reduced visibility, to judge the speed of cars careening around the bend at Lake Shore. I’m pleased that the Toronto Police Service has regularly set up radar surveillance at the corner of Forty First and Lake Shore Blvd. West, to remind drivers approaching from Mississauga of the posted 50 kph speed limit along that stretch of road.

    The physiographic history of the area accounts for the fact that from Dixie Road in Mississauga to Etobicoke Creek in Toronto you have a gradual downward slope along the road, which is conducive to the build up of speed for quite a few drivers. By the time the upward slope occurs in the road, from Etobicoke Creek to the Brown’s Line exit ramp between Forty First street and Fortieth Street, cars are often proceeding at a speed well in excess of 50 kph.

    The bend in the road, readily apparent on a map or aerial photo, has an interesting history. In the days before the British settlement of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey), a First Nations trail proceeded through the area. People walking through the forest would have made a point of keeping the shoreline of Lake Ontario in sight as they proceeded along their way. The shoreline takes a turn in this area, and consequently the trail through the forest also made a turn. The bend in Lake Shore Blvd. West occurs where it does because the roadway follows the route of the original forest pathway.

    In the days when South Etobicoke was covered in forests, the mouth of Etobicoke Creek, south of what is now Forty Second and Lake Shore Blvd. West, was celebrated as a scenic beauty spot. The mouth of the creek was known as one of the finest wetlands and wildlife habitats along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

    Unless a person knows the area well, and has perhaps had some prior close calls, it’s not easy for a driver positioned at the corner of Fortieth Street and Lake Shore Blvd. West to notice when a car travelling west to east switches lanes to access the south lane of Lake Shore.

    The traffic lights on Lake Shore Blvd. West at the Brown’s Line ramp (the ramp to the west of Fortieth Street) also occasionally give rise to collisions involving cyclists travelling on the bike lane from Mississauga. On one occasion, some years ago, I saw the aftermath of a situation where a car had been making a routine turn, with the intention of travelling west to east, onto Lake Shore Blvd. West from Brown’s Line. A cyclist travelling at high speed from west to east ignored the red light and went flying through the air on encountering the turning car. Both car driver and cyclist were pretty shaken up by the collision, which was attended to by the Toronto Police Service.

    My references to the good work of the Toronto Police Service do not imply support for everything the police service does. Some of the training provided for front-line officers regarding use of force appears to be highly questionable, according to a number of knowledgeable observers. By way of example, recent police shootings of mentally ill Toronto residents are a source of strong concern for many people. As is the case elsewhere in Canada, the issue of racial profiling by the Toronto Police Service also warrants mention.

    It is encouraging, in my view, that ways to address such issues are being explored. With regard to these topics, the wider context is of relevance. The context includes world military history. For all such topics, what matters is what can be done now to make things better. A knowledge of history is of value to the extent that we can apply its lessons in the present moment.


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