Comment 83472

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 05, 2012 at 09:48:44

Unfortunately, this is the standard response of the traffic department to every request for new pedestrian crossings: claim that the crossing is either not justified (there is no safety issue or there is insufficient demand), or can't be implemented because of the need to cater to fast traffic flow.

Even the request of the Durand Neighbourhood Association to decrease the response time of the pedestrian activated light on Queen near Ryerson Rec Centre and school (currently up to 60 seconds) has been met with a straight out refusal!

This is why residents have had to resort to petitions and their councillor, who has the ability to over-rule the opinions of the traffic engineers through a vote of council.

As the writer points out, the value scale used to justify these decisions (the need for smooth and fast motor vehicle flow trumps the needs of all other road users) runs directly counter to many other officially adopted city policies. It is also counter to the principle that it is up to residents, not engineers, to identify problems and determine the value scale and it is the job of engineers to find a technical solution to fix the problem. The traffic department even sometimes claims to put pedestrians first, but can't seem to bring itself to actually make changes on the ground that could possibly impact traffic flow.

Apparently, the city will soon adopt an official plan that mandates a pedestrian first traffic hierarchy. Once it is adopted, residents should demand to know what policy changes the traffic engineers have made to prioritize the needs of pedestrians (and cyclists) above those of motorists.

For example, the time of a pedestrian will need to be valued higher than that of a motorist ... which implies no longer asking pedestrians to walk hundreds of metres out of their way to a signalized crossing just to cross the street.

In the recent Dundas incident the city was demanding that seniors walk an extra 630m just to cross the street. For an (active) senior walking at 4km/h, this would take about 10 minutes. This is like asking a motorist driving at 40km/h to take a 6.7km detour just to cross an intersection. Of course we would never inconvenience motorists like that ...

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2012-12-05 11:00:08

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