Members of Jewish community upset over blocked sidewalks during Yom Kippur
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, October 12, 2016 7:13AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016 8:39AM EDT
The City of Toronto has reopened sidewalks along Bathurst Street today following a complaint from members of the Jewish community who said the construction was making it difficult to get to temple during the holiest holiday of the year.
Several stretches of sidewalk were closed along Bathurst Street between Glencairn and Lawrence avenues last night and this morning due to construction, a project that Evan Kosiner said was a big inconvenience for thousands of people in the area who are trying to get to temple during Yom Kippur.
“Along Bathurst Street is one of the most predominant stretches where Jewish people come,” Kosiner told CP24 Wednesday morning.
“So last night and this morning, there is anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 people walking along here and primarily on the road given that Transportation Services decided all of a sudden to pave about 20 different areas along this stretch of the road on both sides of the sidewalk.”
Kosiner said members of the community were upset that the city’s Transportation Services department didn’t consider the holiday when they decided to undertake the construction project in the neighbourhood.
“(Last night) was a bit of mayhem… there were a lot of people with walkers and strollers and lots of kids going along the street, also wheelchairs,” he added.
“It’s traditional to go to synagogue over five times today so (people are) walking back and forth to the temple because on a holy day like today, you are supposed to not work and that means that you can’t drive either.”
Steve Johnston, a spokesperson for the city's Transportation Services department, told CP24 that no further work will be taking place today and crews could be seen Wednesday morning removing barricades along sidewalks in the area.
Kosiner said he is pleased the city listened to the concerns of area residents.
"We are just happy to have the street reopen and safe for people to walk today," he said.