Commissioners & King Edward Intersection – 2007/09 Update


This just in…

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 10:01:34 -0400
From: “Mark Ridley”
To: “Gregory Fowler”
CC: “John Lucas”;”Roger Caranci”
Subject: Commissioners & King Edward

Mr. Fowler

As promised earlier this year the intersection of Commissioners and King Edward was counted once the new building on the corner was occupied to determine if traffic signals are warranted. The count determined traffic signals and pedestrian signals are not warranted at this location.

The volume of traffic on King Edward only met 35% of the warrant and the delay warrant met 42%. In order for traffic signals to be warranted one of these two warrants has to meet 80%.

The count also only registered 26 pedestrians crossing at this location; a minimum of 200 is required for a Pedestrian Signal.

If you have any questions please contact me.

Mark Ridley

Senior Technologist
Transportation Division

And my reply…

Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2007 08:05:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
To: “Mark Ridley”
CC: “John Lucas”;”Roger Caranci”;”Betty Mercier”
Subject: Re: Commissioners & King Edward

Mr Ridley,

I’m not prepared to accept that traffic/pedestrian volume ought to be the only criteria used in determining whether signals or some other remedy (like traffic calming) be used to improve intersection safety. The physical configuration of this particular intersection, and the behaviour of many of the drivers who use it (particularly those making left-hand turns) are also important factors. The city’s decision to remove the crossing guard from this intersection is also contentious.

Can you tell me when the count was taken and why I wasn’t alerted before that was done? Did you take the count just once, or is it an average of counts taken on different days and at different times of day?

What’s clear to me is that pedestrian safety is not of a very high priority for City Council or staff when compared to movement of automobiles. The approach taken in dealing with this intersection must be examined in light of other things. Like the failure to act upon the police report which identifies channelized intersections (like Commissioners/Pond Mills) as being dangerous to pedestrians. Like the secrecy with which Council dealt with my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee. Like the height of fences bordering upon pedestrian walkways and the city’s failure to properly restrict the intrusion of foliage onto pedestrian walkways. Like Councillor Caranci’s failure to respond to my communications. Like the failure of the secretary of TAC to respond to my communications. To name just a few.

Nevertheless, thank you for following up on your promise to keep me informed about this single issue.

Greg Fowler
BookCrossing… books just want to be free!

Inquiring minds would like to know… will Councillor Caranci and the Transportation Advisory Committee ignore this communication also?

Appended 2007/09/20:

Something that I neglected to include in my communication, but important enough to note here. Regardless of the traffic volume on King Edward, the volume/speed on Commissioners warrants special consideration. And even if the number of pedestrians crossing during one arbitrary time period doesn’t meet some bureaucratic minimum threshold. Those pedestrians who do have to cross here, regardless of the number, ARE at risk.

And another thought that just occurred to me while I’m ranting. London has a TDM (Transportation Demand Management) Co-ordinator who is paid BIG BUCKS but who is virtually never heard from. How well informed is Allison Cook about pedestrian safety issues and the way that they impact alternate modes in London?

Appended 2007/12/19:

I just happened to come across this article which describes a group of Massachusetts’ students who were hit by a vehicle “just days after their headmaster asked for better snow removal on nearby sidewalks and crosswalks.” Refreshingly, a spokesman for the snow-clearing department accepted responsibility “unconditionally” and was reported to say: ”There are some questions about the placing of those pedestrian crossings…Human nature being what it is, you don’t travel the extra steps to get to the safest point; you cross where it is the most convenient. It remains an operational failure…to not recognize that and correct that, whether it means moving the pedestrian crossing light or putting in a pedestrian bridge.”


2007/09/10 – Better Engineering Equals Increased Safety/
2007/09/07 – Flaherty Speed Limits Referral/
2007/08/28 – Transportation Policy Doublespeak/
2007/08/18 – Anybody Seen This Missing Councillor?
2006/02/23 – Closed to Pedestrians!


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