Better Engineering Equals Increased Safety


With the continued deterioration of our community’s only daily newspaper, I’m thankful for alternative local sources of intelligent opinion.

A reasoned article in the Hamilton Spectator (“Better Engineering May Cut Pedestrian Deaths“; Evelyn Myrie; 2007/04/17) makes the case that safety can be substantilly improved as a result of better city planning.

The article speaks of the growing number of pedestrians killed in that community while crossing the street and says: “Police attribute the growing fatalities to the fact that pedestrians are not using designated controlled crosswalks. They also recommend that pedestrians wear lighter coloured clothing.” How often have we heard London police make similar comments following vehicle/pedestrian incidents here?

And there’s considerable validity to those comments. One doesn’t have to spend much time observing pedestrian behaviour to note many examples of what can only be described as plain stupidity. But is that the end of it? A few bad apples and the rest of us have to be tarnished by the same brush? And are automobile operators any better? Given the lethal nature of the machine that they’re operating, isn’t the greatest onus on them? And on police, and the city, and the province?

The Spec article correctly points out that “Speed is a major factor in fatalities. The faster a vehicle is driven the more deadly it can be if an accident occurs. According to researchers…the risk of death increases exponentially with increasing speed. Below 25 kilometres an hour, the death rate rapidly approaches zero.”

The Spec article argues that “a safer city…will be achieved…through engineering” and describes a group that is calling for “two-way traffic flow, narrow lanes, non-synchronized traffic lights and tree-lined roadways.”

Do we have good engineering here in London? In a word, NO. We have a city engineering department which seems bent on increasing the number of dangerous channelized intersections, increasing the number of 4-6 lane arterials, shortening signalized crossing times, closing intersections to pedestrians

We have a City Council that, when approached by me with respect to the formation of a Pedestrian Committee, referred the matter to staff for “study” which it appears never took place, made no decision throughout all of the 2006 election year, and immediately after commencement of this new term of office secretly dismissed the proposal instead of dealing with it in public.

We have a city engineer in the person of Mr. Shane Maguire who, when notified of the police report which identifies engineering problems at the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection that are dangerous to pedestrians, apparently sat on that information and took no action (based upon the city’s response to my Freedom of Information appeal).

We have members of City Council (every single one of them) who, when copied my public letter (about that same police report,etc) have not responded to that communication even though 8 months have now passed. BTW, that letter to LFP Editor Paul Berton was ignored by him and the newspaper as well (ie, you only get the news they want you to know about).

poster; Roger Caranci, missing in London, OntarioAnd I have a ward councillor, Roger Caranci, who has been particularly unresponsive to my communications about these things.

In the absence of any sign of concern for pedestrian safety at City Hall, it’s vitally important to document as much as possible:

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 11:01:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
To: “MPP Khamil Ramal”
Subject: Pedestrian Safety Inquiry


As a result of my own personal advocacy, Sgt. Thomas O’Brien did commission an investigation into the intersection of Commissioners Road E. & Pond Mills Rd. The investigation was conducted by Const. Riley, and a copy of the report was provided to you in January by Sgt. O’Brien.

It is clear from this report, that the design of said “channelized” intersection (and others like it) is dangerous to pedestrians.

Will you please describe what actions you have taken since receiving that information?

Mr. Greg Fowler (
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ont; N5Z 3H7

Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 09:24:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
To: “Betty Mercier”
CC: “Roger Caranci”
Subject: Info Request

Betty Mercier
Secretary, Transportation Advisory Committee
London City Hall

September 07, 2007

Ms Mercier,

I wonder if you would kindly assist me by providing the URL for the city’s website where I might find the agendas and minutes for the TAC. All that I’ve managed to find are the TAC reports which are attached to ETC agendas.

Also, since Ward 1 Councillor Caranci has been unresponsive to my communications (see:, I wonder if you might be able to address my inquiry for information with respect to any review of the Transportation Master Plan which might be taking place? I have a number of concerns to express, not least of which is the manner in which my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee was handled by ETC and Board of Control, the safety risk to pedestrians from channelized intersections, maintenance of pedestrian walkways, the accuracy of LTC ridership numbers, etc.


Greg Fowler (
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ont; N5Z 3H7


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