Off-campus walking paths rarely safely lit

Humber North Campus at night The outer ring road on North campus is the last lighted path available to off-campus students walking home. Caution is urged for anyone walking through the Arb or local parks. (Nick Jean/Managing editor)

Krysten McCumber
Queen’s Park/City Hall Reporter

Walking home after class can be an unnerving time of day for students who choose to walk through dimly lit paths in the Arboretum and parks around Humber College North campus.

Rebecca Morency, 19, works at LinX Lounge as a floor staff member. When her shift is done, she knows better than to take the quick walk through the Arboretum to get home, and instead calls a taxi.

“It doesn’t have any lights or security at night. I have heard many stories of assaults at night in the Arb,” Morency said.

Walking down paths that are poorly lit is discouraged, especially by such Arboretum staff as Jimmy Vincent, coordinator of the Centre for Urban Ecology in the Arboretum.

“The Arboretum is closed at night, so no student should be walking in there,” Vincent said. “All natural areas in the Arboretum are closed at night and are use at your own risk.”

The only path that is ideal for nighttime walking is a yellow line along Arboretum Boulevard, which is well lit and visible to security. All other paths are meant for daytime activities, and should be used cautiously at night.

“If [students] choose to go through the Arboretum, particularly at night, have a flashlight and brightly coloured clothing would be wise,” said Rob Kilfoyle, director of public safety at Humber. “Also walk with a partner. Walk in pairs at least.”

Public Safety’s Campus Walk program only allows security to take students to the edge of campus property.

There are many parks around Humber College, making a trip home quicker for students, but not necessarily safer. Public spaces like Windwood Park are barely lit, meaning students need to be on high alert when walking through them alone.

“By having [security] go off campus, it’s too vulnerable. We can’t control it or manage it,” Kilfoyle said.

Even if security were around to patrol the Arboretum, Morency still wouldn’t use it.

“I don’t think I will ever feel safe walking through the Arb alone at night,” she said. “Even if there was more lighting and security, I still don’t think I would feel comfortable walking after it’s dark.”

Students who choose to walk through the Arboretum at night, or through any surrounding parks with poor lighting like Windwood Park, should remember to keep a flashlight with them and their phone ready to call 911 in an emergency.