Raquel Barrillo says the mysterious closure of her lane on Wellington Street West is a direct obstruction to her daily commute
A spokesperson for the Toronto city council said city engineers are aware of the incident, but it has not come up in the public discussion. She also offered no clues as to the possible reason for the closure.
“At this point it’s still under investigation,” she said.
Rena Sarris, a spokesperson for the city of Toronto’s transportation department, said the city has no insight into the closure and it’s not clear why it is needed.
“We know it’s blocking the sidewalk but we don’t know what service it was taken for,” she said.
For northbound drivers Barrillo and family say the closure is a direct obstruction to their daily commute and since it happened in February, they have been waiting months for the city to explain what it’s doing.
“It’s crazy. It’s unacceptable,” said Barrillo. “I can’t just decide, I have to go from stop to stop but it’s the shortest route to work.”
Barrillo, an executive assistant to the CEO of a technology company, walks her 14-year-old son to and from school daily and said it is very time consuming and sometimes risky for the boy, who is verbally aggressive and doesn’t always manage to control his anger.
“They need to open it up so we can get on with our day and just get on with the rest of the day,” said Barrillo.
She said the entire street was closed for quite a long time, and it’s not the only time that closing the lane has disrupted her daily routine.
“There have been times when I have to physically push [my son] across this lane and say, ‘breathe. I’m here’.”
For Abdus Sattar, a sales manager who commutes down from Mississauga to his job in Toronto every morning, it is especially disruptive.
“I’m used to driving down the street and I have seen it blocked by a fence for awhile,” he said. “I’m used to it being up and open for my daily commute, not having to exit this lane and enter the other lane.”
A spokesperson for the Toronto city council said engineers will come out to Barrillo’s street at 10am on Thursday to assess the situation, and if it is necessary, will open the lane.
In March, the city closed Wellington Street West at the foot of the Danforth for two months as a part of infrastructure improvements, but Barrillo says that did not cause any problems, and they need to think of a different reason for the closure.
“I wouldn’t trust this reason again,” she said.