dvp closure

People in Toronto had the most awful reactions to the DVP closure for a person in distress

Trigger warning: This article discusses topics of self-harm.

The Don Valley Parkway, our main artery into and out of downtown Toronto, was completely shut down during peak rush hour Thursday afternoon due to a police investigation that turned out to be regarding a person in distress.

Reports of the highway being closed for "police activity" began shortly after 4 p.m., with the force advising the public that all lanes of both the northbound and southbound DVP were blocked off — near the Bayview/Bloor and Don Mills Road exits, respectively — as well as the Leaside Bridge.

A portion of the Lower Don River Trail was also shuttered to cyclists and pedestrian traffic. "Expect delays in the area," the force wrote on Twitter at 4:16 p.m.

As frustrated as drivers were by the disruption, one would think they might change their tune after discovering the cause for the delay, which was allegedly a person contemplating jumping from the bridge and into speeding traffic below to end their life.

But, many chose to respond with cruel and negative comments instead.

People took to social media to flippantly complain of "a potential jumper" who was "causing some huge 3 hour traffic delay," noting the individual's inconvenient timing during their commute.

As surrounding roads also came to a standstill from residents trying to find alternative routes, some of those stuck in the mess appeared to let their anger get the best of them, with more concern about when the area would reopen than if the person was okay.

Tweets bemoaning the fact that the man "had to do it in rush hour," calling him "dumb" and joking about more jumpers to come given the current economy were not outliers in a flurry of replies to the news.

Others were incensed that such a busy route would be closed for so long, regardless of the reason.

"Why is NO ONE talking about one of the busiest highways in the country being closed and causing a massive cluster f for drivers? The person threatening to jump is apparently still up there. Honestly," one person wrote, annoyed.

Some remarks were far worse.

A few witnesses on the scene speculated that the person on the edge of the bridge, who was up there for a number of hours, was a man who had done the same thing in the same spot a few days ago, though this claim is unconfirmed.

Some were able to turn their exasperation more rightfully toward a city whose quality of life is in rapid decline, a province whose healthcare system does not offer nearly enough mental health supports, and a country whose inflation rates and overall economic landscape has most of its population struggling to get by.

There was also discussion about potential suicide barriers like those on the Bloor Street Viaduct, and questions of why such a move isn't already in the works.

Amid all of the chaos and conversation online, it appears that at least a few expressed sympathy for the victim and their family.

Some stuck in the gridlock also took the opportunity to get out of their cars and socialize, a few of them even participating in a game of soccer with strangers on the empty side of the freeway.

Meanwhile, further north of the incident, cars on the DVP were spotted reversing up the highway, driving in the wrong direction and off-roading it to avoid the blockage.

All roads were reopened around 3 a.m. Friday after lengthy talks between the individual and crisis intervention teams. According to the CBC, authorities said the road closures were also for the safety of drivers, and the person was eventually taken to hospital.

If you or someone you know might be going through a difficult time, there are resources available. You can call Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566, Distress Centres of Greater Toronto at 416-408-4357, Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310.

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