What’s it going to take …


… before pedestrians can cross Commissioners Road E. without risking their lives?

From: Gregory Fowler

To: Thomas O’Brien

Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 1:52:03 PM

Subject: 2008/09/14 Complaint


Sgt. O’Brien:

On Sunday 2008/09/14 I left the Tim Horton coffee shop which is located at Adelaide/Commissioners at approx. 12:40 pm. Waiting until there was no eastbound traffic on the south side of Commissioners, I crossed to the median without incident. I then waited to proceed until there was no westbound traffic on the north side of Commissioners. As I stepped off the median, a red pickup turned west from Leathorne St. directly into the center lane (across two closer lanes) and bore directly down on me. Stepping backwards onto the median I shouted “idiot” at the male operator as he passed by. I then crossed the north portion of Commissioners and proceeded east along the north sidewalk on my way home. As I approached the corner of Commissioners/Eagle I was approached by a younger male who objected to having been called an idiot. I asked him if he was the operator of the vehicle which had turned off Leathorne just moments previously and he acknowleged that he was. When I observed that he had put me at risk with his behaviour he accused me of having “jaywalked” and proceeded to deliver a two-handed shove to my chest, forcing me backwards. When I withdrew my cellphone from my pocket and cautioned him that I intended to call the police he returned to his vehicle (which had been left idling on the west side of Eagle just north of Commissioners) and quickly drove away. I noted that the license number was ‘168 4RR’ and managed to get the photo of the vehicle which is attached.

You are well aware that I have long complained that this arterial is unsafe to pedestrians and that this is not the first incident that I have reported to you. I have also complained verbally and in writing to local politicians and city staff about the situation, to no avail.

You must be well aware that there is no designated pedestrian crossing between Adelaide Street and Frontenac Avenue. And at Adelaide Street, the east side of that intersection is closed to pedestrians.

You must also be well aware that besides the Eagle Crescent neighbourhood in which I reside, there are also high-occupancy apartment complexes located in this area on either side of the arterial. Every day, pedestrians risk injury and/or death trying to cross this high-volume roadway.

Quite apart from whatever action you may take (or typically not take) with respect to this particular incident, I implore you to do whatever you can to influence those at City Hall who have responsibility for such things to examine this issue seriously. Before a tragedy occurs.


Mr. Gregory Fowler

962 Eagle Crescent

London, Ontario N5Z 3H7

City Hall can keep me off the Transportation Advisory Committee. They can continue to ignore the police report about Commissioners/Pond Mills. They can continue to spend millions of dollars on paving/widening roads and filling potholes while ignoring the unsafe conditions for pedestrians. But they can’t stop me from telling you about it. Not so far at least.

Stay tuned.


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20 Responses to “What’s it going to take …”

  1. Becster Says:

    *stands up and applauds*

    Keep us posted.

  2. Murfomurf Says:

    Says at least try for speed bumps.

  3. John Leschinski Says:

    Speed bumps on a major thoroughfare? Why not put up some Jersey barriers to make traffic weave in and out while were at it.

  4. Kevin Says:

    I vote for some spike belts, that will slow down the motorists for sure.

  5. William Law Says:

    Sounds like you both jaywalked and didn’t walk to a crossing. If you don’t use a crossing, you are jaywalking and hence breaking some kind of ordnance. If a crossing doesn’t exist within a block or 2, which I doubt, petition the roads department for one to be installed at an appropriate area.

  6. Gord Harrison Says:

    when I think of how much time, energy and money we spend accommodating (accommodating, accommodating!) over-priced, over-sized and over-powered vehicles – risking our individual and collective safety all the while – my blood boils.

    GF – be careful out there.

    Gord H.

  7. fowgre Says:

    William: “Jaywalking” does not exist in Ontario legislation. Cities have the power to pass by-laws, but London does not have a jaywalking by-law. London Police Sgt. Tom O’Brien has asked for one, and I have indicated to ETC that I am opposed to it. Bottom line … you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  8. Kevin Says:


    There is a cross walk within a block (either way) of this location, however, it is not practical for someone to walk to either of these. The one is located some distance away, nor a normal block length, and the other is uphill. Taking this into consideration we must wonder why there isnt a cross walk here at all. There are a number of apartments in the area, the one shown in the picture, three more to the left of it, and even more to the right of where Greg was standing when he took the photo. The number of school aged children that live in the area is very high and I can assure you that they themselves do not walk to the nearest crosswalk, for it is out of their way and actually (I would argue) more of a danger.


  9. John Leschinski Says:

    Instead of spike strips, can’t we just use pedestrians to aide in the slowing of motor vehicles at unmarked crossings?

  10. Kevin Says:

    John: possibly, but how do we decide what pedestrians to use? Surely they wont all speed down traffic the same amount.

  11. fowgre Says:

    Becster: Thank you.

    Murfomurf: Speed bumps on an arterial don’t make sense. What’s required is a pedestrian crossing about mid-way between Leathorne and Eagle. Also… the site URL you provided returns a 404 error. Please submit a valid URL.

    John: The only traffic-calming measures needed is some increased police enforcement. Also, I didn’t understand your reference to using pedestrians at unmarked crossings. Can you rephrase please?

    Gord: Thanks again.

    Kev: Right on!

  12. William Law Says:

    As I did not know that jaywalking does not exist I will rescind that comment, although the police officer in question and the article on which Mr Fowler’s comment was made is HERE and yes I dismay that it is on the London Fog site. As the article clearly states there is no Jaywalking law, however there IS a law which covers Jaywalking in a roundabout fashion and were the fine not so large, $130, police would be less disinclined to hand out tickets for the offence of interefering with public travel or use of a street.

    The crossing is less than 50m from the Tim Hortons in question, I know as I went there today to see for myself and I have photographic evidence of the crossing with its relation to the Tim Hortons (3 photos taken from the same spot just camera pointing in different directions).

    On a further note, Mr Fowler’s crossing of the street appears to have been entirely to fit his personal comfort at the expense of checking the street for oncoming traffic in every direction. I understand that the weather yesterday was quite attrocious, however one would assume one’s own safety would come first.

    The street in which Mr Fowler is a middle class residential street (from my cursory look) and I assume that the majority of the residents there have cars, something that Mr Fowler is dead set against considering his anti-vehicular agenda.

    On a final note, you are taught as a child that when you cross a road you should look in both directions and watch for traffic before you cross. When you cross onto a median, you have to be even more careful to look in 4 directions, left, right, behind and in front. Failure to do so could cause you to be almost hit by a vehicle attempting, legally, to merge onto a busy highway (commisioners and adelaide are 2 of the busier streets in London).

  13. fowgre Says:


    To begin with, my action did not interfere with public travel. As I clearly described, my actions were above reproach. The driver of the vehicle in question appeared to wait until the exact moment that I began to step off the median even though he had opportunity to make a right-hand turn before the incident, and which caused me to think that he was waiting to turn eastward. Moreover, as I described, he crossed two lanes and bore down directly at me. Whether it was his intention to hit me, or simply to throw a scare into me, I cannot say. But it did appear to be deliberate. And being new to Canada, you may also not be aware of it, but it is a contravention of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act to make the kind of right-hand turn that I described.

    I assume that “the crossing” you refer to is the Commissioners/Adelaide intersection. Which is in the opposite direction from the Tim Horton’s. You also ignored the information which I provided, that the east side of that intersection is prohibited to pedestrians. So in order to use it, even if I could reasonably have been expected to use it, would have necessitated waiting for a light change to cross to the west side of the intersection, then another light change to cross to the north side, and then another light change to return to the east side. And all of that extra distance may not seem like much to you, from inside your car, but I have damaged cartilage in my left knee. Which is sometimes a lot more trouble in inclement weather than at other times. Which is completely besides the point. The point is this… it is completely unreasonable to require pedestrians to go out of their way in the fashion that you have suggested, because WALKING IS A NATURAL RIGHT.

    Photo evidence? Proving what, exactly? Hell, I’ve posted photos of that intersection before in order to show the way that it’s prohibited to pedestrians! Not to mention the fact that the city treats the exit from the commercial plaza as if it was a city street, and interferes with pedestrian travel while doing so!

    What difference can it possible make that a majority of the residents on my street own vehicles? What does that have to do with the incident in question?

    Your inference that I didn’t exercise care is completely without foundation and contrary to the information provided in my posting. If you have any factual evidence which contradicts my testimony, then I challenge you to present it. The fact is, you don’t have. You weren’t there.

    Again, the driver of the vehicle did not act legally. He acted illegally. Read the HTA with respect to the proper way to make a right-hand turn and change lanes.

    One thing that you did manage to get right… Adelaide and Commissioners are both high-volume streets.

    Thanks for contributing.

  14. Kata Says:

    I like how you chose to respond to the most carefully selected of Will’s comments. He was correct about the London “jaywalking” bylaw. It may not be CALLED jaywalking, but its still illegal for a pedestrian to interrupt the flow of traffic by walking in places they shouldn’t be (which you were doing because its more convenient to you). You lie by ommission of the truth, that doesn’t make what you say the be all and end all because YOU ARE WRONG.

    The fact that you HAVE a bad knee means you SHOULD be using the crossing, because it makes it EASIER for you to cross the road (ie, when the traffic is stopped), which is one of the busiest streets in London. Sure, its a minor inconvenience for you to walk at most FIFTY METERS in the opposite direction, but at least there is a crossing there at all! Just because its not in the direction you want it to be in, doesn’t mean its not there for a reason. (And for the record, Will has TWO bad knees, and he still cycles and walks everywhere. Thats no excuse for laziness.)

    It really annoys me that you say you’re trying to make London a better place. You’re trying to make it a better place FOR YOURSELF and not at all for the community. If you wanted to make it better for the community you’d be volunteering at a charity instead of standing on your soap box writing assanine rants and raves about how “wrong” this city is, when you could be doing something so much better with your time and helping the people that actually need help instead of being a selfish twat who clearly only cares about yourself.

  15. fowgre Says:


    Sorry that you don’t like the way that I responded to William.

    You want to talk about ommissions, then how about your failure to disclose the fact that he’s your partner?

    I don’t believe that I carefully selected portions of his comment to respond to. It seems to me that I addressed everything that he said. Other readers can decide for themselves.

    It is NOT illegal for a pedestrian to cross a street directly mid-block when there’s no opposing traffic. When I began to step off the median, the vehicle in question was NOT on Commissioners Rd. In other words, I was completely within my legal rights.

    You want to talk about the safety of crossing at the Commissioners/Adelaide intersection for pedestrians? I’ve posted about channelized intersections many times, and the danger that they pose to pedestrians. In fact, I’ve posted about an incident AT THAT VERY INTERSECTION.

    Don’t presume to know how difficult walking can be for me under certain conditions simply because you know somebody who has bad knees. You know nothing about my physical disability other than what I’ve alluded to.

    Laziness? My, you certainly do like to toss around the compliments, don’t you? Again, you presume to think that you know more than what you do.

    Sorry that you’re annoyed, but I really am trying to improve things. For myself? Yes, no doubt about it. For other people as well? Absolutely.

    Volunteering? Oh my God! Again with the ridiculous assertions that have no foundation in fact! Just because you may not know about the community work that I do, doesn’t mean that I don’t do any.

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

  16. Kata Says:

    I didn’t fail to omit that hes my partner. You already knew that, so why would I have to point that out for anyone else? I’m responding to YOU, not anyone else that reads your blog.

    Will was actually excited with the allusion of writing for you/your blog on plurk when you first mentioned it, but then nothing came of it. I was excited when I found your site through plurk because wow, for once someone had an opinion… but then I noticed a little (and then a LOT) that when someone doesn’t agree with you, you act like you’re the smartest person in the world, and start to talk to them like they’re an idiot, which clearly isn’t the case. Both Will and I know what we’re talking about. We don’t talk out of our asses, and in the past you’ve treated us both like we do. Shall we bring up the spam discussion again? Oh right, maybe not because CLEARLY I don’t know what I’m talking about. (And that was YOU making an assumption on that, because oh no, I disagreed with you on the point you were making. How awful!)

    Maybe you should READ the articles you link to, or refer to. Will found in the VERY SAME ARTICLE that you quoted (about there being no “jaywalking” bylaws) that what you wrote isn’t the whole truth.

    [fowgre: the rest of this comment has been deleted]

  17. fowgre Says:


    You DID omit mentioning that William is your partner. It doesn’t matter that I already knew it, because contrary to your assertion, you WERE NOT simply responding to me. This is a public forum, readable by everybody who visits here. Still, I likely wouldn’t have mentioned it had it not been for the fact that you called me a LIAR BY OMMISSION in your first comment. Kettle black?

    I’m not going to get into your perception of how I act. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

    You want to muddy this dicussion and cast further aspersions upon my character by alluding to something that other readers of this thread know nothing about? If anybody’s interested they can visit http://www.plurk.com/fowgre and review all of my posts there because I’m not hiding anything. I’ll talk about those posts there. But not in this thread. This thread is about the incident that I described.

    You posted your “jaywalking” link and readers can go there and read for themselves what’s said and decide for themselves whether it’s relevant based upon my comments to you. I turned the URL into a hyperlink when I published your comment. Did you notice?

    I deleted the defamatory portion of your post. Being called a liar ‘by ommission’ is as far as I’m prepared to let you go. If you’d care to rephrase the remainder of your comment and submit it again then I’ll be pleased to give you that further opportunity to express yourself.

  18. Kata Says:

    For the record, by editing my post, you’re leaving stuff out. Its my opinion and you’re editing it, then you go on to say that that I’m entitled to my opinion. Hypocrite, much?

    And no. I wasn’t leaving out the fact that Will is my partner, because as I ALREADY said… YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT. This is a public forum, sure, but, AGAIN, as I already said, I’m responding to YOU through it, not anybody else.

    Again, very much like a politician. Editing things to try to make yourself look better. Good job, keep it up.

  19. fowgre Says:


    This is a public forum. If you want to send me something that’s only meant for me then I suggest that email might be a better choice.

    “If you’d care to rephrase the remainder of your comment and submit it again then I’ll be pleased to give you that further opportunity to express yourself.”

    If you can’t express what I deleted in different words (without defaming me) then I guess that you’ll just have to moan about it.

  20. fowgre Says:


    For your information, I’ve known for many years that there’s no such thing as ‘jaywalking’ – because I got a registered letter from the Police Chief saying so, in response to a complaint that I laid.

    Also, I make it a time-consuming habit (and public service I hope) to attend as many of the City Hall committee meetings that I can. That is how I knew about Sgt. O’Brien’s effort to have London adopt a ‘jaywalking’ by-law.

    So, contrary to your assertion that this article was based upon a London Fog article, you are simply incorrect.

    Having said that, it’s possible that I may have read it previously, and it may even be true that I’ve linked to it. If that’s the case, can you identify the post which links to it please?

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