Posts Tagged ‘design’

Typically London – Shut Out Again

May 10, 2008

The Friday LFP article which described this weekend’s sessions at Museum London about ‘well planned’ urban design failed to mention that the planning which went into the sessions may have been less than ideal. 01

natalie dee
Let’s pick up the story where I left the house at 12:10 PM. I arrived at the bus stop at 12:15 PM and proceeded to stand there (no seating provided) until 12:40 PM. It only took the Adelaide northbound #406 10 minutes to get me to the major connecting point at Dundas/Adelaide, but of course the eastbound bus that had also arrived just a moment earlier didn’t bother to wait for any transferring passengers. Another 10 minutes waiting for the Cherryhill westbound #416 and a short trip along Dundas and I disembarked at Queens/Ridout at 1:11 PM.

Presented myself at the Museum London reception desk at 1:14 PM and inquired about the location of the presentation. Imagine my chagrin when I was told that “the Director” had just decreed that the room was “at capacity” and that I could not attend the event. “What’s the venue’s capacity?” asked I. A shrug of the shoulders and a laugh was my reply.

Such is life for those of us who try to live an alternative transportation lifestyle in London, Ontario CANADA. With the full understanding (and closed eyes) of City Council and the LTC.

That’s the London, Ontario CANADA that the city’s new urban planner, Sean Galloway, has yet to become acquainted with. And needs to, if he’s going to do a good job.

From: Gregory Fowler
Date: Sat May 10 11:13:01 2008
To: Brian Meehan
Cc: Sean Galloway
Subject: Entry RefusalSir,Upon arriving at 1:00PM at Museum London for the first urban design presentation of the afternoon, I was refused admittance by the receptionist, and it was explained to me that the venue was “at capacity.”

Kindly answer the following questions prior to my taking this up with City Hall:

  • which of your rooms was the venue held in?
  • what is the capacity of said room?
  • who determined that the room was at capacity using what mechanism?
  • who booked the location?
  • what is the rationale for refusing entry to individuals with backpacks and electronic devices?
  • are there allowances for disabled persons like myself who use them as assistive devices?
  • how much financial assistance did Museum London receive from London last year?

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler.

Stay tuned…

Fortunately, KevBo made it to Museum London before they tiled the doors. Click HERE to read what he’s had to say about the goings-on that I missed.

Stay tuned…

Sources:
01. 2008/05/09 – LFP: Urban design program creating framework…

Advertisements

Is LTC really ‘On Board’?

May 8, 2008

The London Transportation Commission rolled out an advertising campaign last year entitled ‘We’re On Board.’ But at least one local designer is less than impressed with the effort.

LTC mockup

Urban Design Work Program

May 2, 2008

Planning Committee is holding a public participation meeting in Council chambers at 5:15 PM on Monday, with respect to the Urban Design Work Program that is being spearheaded by London’s new urban planner, Sean Galloway.

According to the proposal, what’s envisioned is the development of “a design culture within the City of London that assists in creating liveable neighbourhoods and employment areas that build a strong community identity and are predicated on an integrated transportation network, quality public realm, an enhanced landscape, mix of land uses, safety, walkable and active streets, a diversity of housing types and a high standard of architectural design.” 01

Mr. Galloway referred to the plan during a presentation at the Central library last evening:

“On Monday night, going to Planning Committee, is the new Urban Design Program. And this program has 40 projects which is going to change your lives, going to change the way the city develops. And the type of public transportation infrastructure that we have in place, the type of built form that we have in place, the experiences you’re going to have on the street… It’s going to have quite an impact on our lives.” 02

Much of what Mr. Galloway said during his presentation touched all the right notes with me:

“The automobiles aren’t going to leave our life, but we do and should have choices for transportation. It doesn’t have to be automobile-dependent. We can walk, we’ve got two legs. We can take the bus.” 02

But Mr. Galloway is mistaken if he thinks that simply identifying better lifestyle choices is going to get the job done. Because we’ve heard it all before. The Transportation Master Plan and the city’s Official Master Plan are full of flowery rhetoric. But when it comes time to put that rhetoric into practise, this city hasn’t done anything. Except posture.

And if you don’t think so, you only have to review some of the many posts on this blog.

Sources:
01. 2008/05/05 – CityLondon: Rec. to Planning Committee
02. 2008/05/01 – Sean Galloway’s library presentation

Pedestrianizing Montreal

March 10, 2008

A 15-block stretch of of the Montreal ‘Ville-Marie’ borough’s Sainte-Catherine street will be ‘pedestrianized’ this summer (June 17 – Sept 3), making it the city’s longest pedestrian mall. 01

“…all things considered, it can be looked at as a good test case. It will probably be some fun too.” 02

The “plan’s creator, Ville Marie Mayor Benoît Labonté, says the mall will be the longest in Canada. And he says it will cost taxpayers only $50,000.” 03

Sources:
01. 2008/03/05 – Edge: Montreal’s Gay Village goes car-free
02. 2008/03/06 – SpacingMontreal: The pedestrianization of Sainte-Catherine
03. 2008/03/08 – Montreal Gazette: I’m looking forward to pedestrian mall

Activists Of Interest

February 2, 2008

I have no reservation about using this blog to profile an individual, a group, or even another (competitor?) blog that has done something that I respect.

“I have a lot of respect for activists. If it were not for them, we would not have had a civil rights movement or same sex marriage. The words Fair Trade would not be part of our vocabulary. Activists made known many of our objections to the Iraq War and continue to work hard to see that the environment remains a priority, poverty one days becomes obsolete, and that women be treated as equals in all ways. I have several friends who are activists and they always have the best intentions in their hearts and always look to see that people, especially those in their community, get a fair shake and that profits aren’t always put before people. Despite some claims to the contrary, we are all better off as a result of social justice and environmental activism.”
Here in London, there’s been considerable talk in our recent history about ‘communities of interest,’ a perspective that I personally find attractive. Over on Dodosville, there’s an interesting post about activists (which I consider myself to be) and whether they might not have more success if they were to unite.

Over on my London Commons blog, I’ve already suggested that same thing. That perhaps what needs to be done here in London is a concerted effort by pedestrian, bicycle and public transit activists in order to achieve some parity with the large, vociferous community of SOV adherents.

I would be most grateful if you would have a look at the discussion that’s taking place there and give it your thoughtful consideration. Because we all occupy this space, and we all have a vested interest in it’s future.

Because they’re allowed to?

January 20, 2008

Some interesting pedestrian-related questions posed by ‘Steve’ in the ‘Friday free-for-all’ thread on Dan Brown’s LFP blog. The LFP doesn’t offer hyperlinks or formatting capability and my response is fairly long, so I’ll post it here.

“Why do people park their cars so that 1/2 of it is over the sidewalk when they have several feet of free space in their driveway?”

A lack of respect for pedestrians and an expectation that they’ll get away with it? Have you spoken to the property owner? Failing that, have you tried calling the police and asking that they attend and lay a charge of obstruction?

“Our 2 neighbours have a wooden fence on the side of their properties, as they have a walkway to a school between them. Kids…sprayed graffiti on it but the homeowners are told by the city that they must clean it. The city however will not agree to clean the graffiti off the sidewalk of the walkway. The kids are not supposed to be able to buy spray cans and yet, more graffiti. Couldn’t we just ban these cut through walkways and sell the existing land back to the home owners?”

Banning walkways is a terrible idea, unless the streets are laid out in a grid pattern. Otherwise, you’re unfairly interfering with the mobility rights of pedestrians. The way that some neighbourhoods are designed, removing a walkway would necessitate having to walk significant extra distance simply to go from one street to the adjacent one. Remember that, unlike driving a car, walking is a natural right. Why should pedestrians suffer because of a vandal?

If it’s a privately-owned fence there’s no reason that the city should have to clean it. But it should be removed as quickly as possible, because allowing it to remain simply invites more of the same. Is it a plain fence? Perhaps painting a nice landscape on it would be a disincentive. Or invite neighbourhood kids to come up with an acceptable design and then provide the materials for them to paint it?

The sidewalk is a different matter. It’s publicly owned, and it should be up to the city to maintain it. Care to identify who it was that said the city wouldn’t remove it? Has your ward councillor been contacted?

Is the walkway in a Neighbourhood Watch area? If not, have you considered trying to start one?

Final thought… people who are interested in pedestrian-related issues should consider contacting me about supporting my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee. Our politicians aren’t going to pay much more than lip-service to them until they feel public pressure to do so.

Drive-Thru Design

January 16, 2008

If Mississauga’s Mayor Hazel McCallion ever feels like a change of scenery, I’m ready to roll out a welcome mat for her here in London. Especially after reading her opinion about the design of drive-thru’s which mirrors my own .

“McCallion said she’s tried to have them restricted in the past because of concerns over…bad designs that put pedestrians at risk…[new] guidelines, five years in the making…frown on designs that force pedestrians to walk across drive-through lanes to get into the restaurant.” (‘Mississauga takes aim at drive-throughs‘; Phinjo Gombu; Toronto Star; 2008/01/16).

Placemaking Design Issues

December 7, 2007

I note with considerable interest, the direction given to city administration by Planning Committee at it’s 2007/11/26 meeting, with respect to the “integration” of certain “design issues into the planning process in the future.”

Administration was directed to “prepare a report which describes how new forms of parks, such as parkettes, commons areas, and urban parks may be incorporated into new communities in London. At a minimum, this report should consider the costs of such park spaces (both capital and operating) and describe how such parks could impact municipal budgets relating to parks operations.”

Administration was also directed to “prepare a report which investigates opportunities and costs of enhancing the public realm in new communities – including widened boulevards, planted medians, enhanced landscaping, decorative street lighting, community entry features, gazebos, hard surface plazas, decorative street crossings, street furniture and other amenities.”

This is all very well and good, and I’m keen to see what the reports have to say when they come back to committee. But where is the pedestrian community in all this investigation and planning? Isn’t this just one more good reason why it’s important that London have a Pedestrian Committee?

Where Are Our Woonerfs?

November 25, 2007

street signDescribed as an exploration of “new ways of thinking in the community design process,” the 2nd of 3 ‘Placemaking‘ meetings will be held at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Monday, 2007/11/26) in Council chambers.

Having been fortunate enough to attend a similar presentation by Mr. John Fleming (Mgr. Planning & Development; City of London) at the White Oaks Community Centre last year, I unreservedly recommend that you consider attending this.

Links:
Wikipedia: Woonerf
City of London: Placemaking in the City of London
PedSafe: Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasures
KnowledgeJump: Learning Woonerfs
2004/05 – City of London: Smart Growth & Placemaking in London
2004/05/05 – ArchitectureWeek: Streets for people too
2004/05/27 – WorldChanging: Anarchy the key to safe streets?
2005/08 – Roads&Bridges: Care to Share?
2005/10/31 – Portland Transport: Beyond the Woonerf, Evolution of Cycling…
2006/05/30 – HereWeAre: Have you ever seen a woonerf?
2006/09 – TEC: Shared Space, the alternative approach…
2006/11/20 – Planetizen: Smart Growth Safety Benefits
2007/11/25 – Toronto Star: What a ‘city of neighbourhoods’ can learn…
2007/11/26 – City of London: Placemaking Information Report

London Transportation – My Public Response to Paul Berton

January 6, 2007

Hold onto your hats… this is a long post…

Mr. Berton,

To begin with, a note of appreciation for today’s “Back transit plan before it’s too late” editorial. Public transit is hugely important towards safe and healthy cities, and as I’ve written to you before and despite all of City Hall’s posturing, sadly ignored (as evidenced by per-capita mode share stats). Had it not been for significant transfer payments from the province and the feds in recent years, I hate to think what sad shape public transit in London would now be in.

LTC ridership was 18,761,000 in 1988. But thanks to the political pressure of the 0%-tax increase coalition, Council’s attitude toward increased support of public transit and other necessary services became very negative. The result was that LTC made a decision to increase user rates, the results were predictable. Ridership decreased year after year for the next 8 years! From a ridership level of only 11,905,000 in 1996, we are only now in 2006 finally getting back to that 1988 level.

But even that stat is deceiving, because the city has grown considerably since then. Whereas the 18,761,000 riders in 1988 represented a very modest mode share of 10%, the 18,276,000 riders which the service attracted in 2005 only represent a mode share of 7%. In order to match projected population growth and simply recapture the 10% share, the TDM estimates that ridership has to grow an average 600,000 additional rides per year, every year, until 2024.

Along with community centres (which I also strongly support), let’s not forget the importance that public transit plays in the lives of marginalized citizens (OW, ODSP, minimum-wage earners, disabled, etc), the increasing disparity between rich/poor in our society, and the resultant societal problems and huge health/policing costs that go along with those.

Perhaps if this initiative succeeds, more citizens will have access to Fanshawe Pioneer Village (as one example of a less accessible but important community resource) and it’s consequent improved finances will in turn reduce pressure on City Council at budget time.

To borrow a phrase from Arlene Kennedy, “Our city must become the centre for innovative and creative thinking.” Contrary to statements from the developer-backed naysayers on City Council, increased municipal investment in public transit would move us in that direction.

Might I suggest a follow-up article which examines the true cost of private automobile usage, not only including such things as purchase price, insurance, maintenance, license… but also things like municipal road widening, road extensions, public parking, police enforcement, bylaw enforcement, collisions, environmental degradation (pollution, loss of farmland, etc), increased infrastructure and emergency service costs resulting from urban sprawl … ?

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read Ryan McGreal’s “The High Cost of Free Parking.

I must admit though, that I’m somewhat at a loss to understand the failure of the LFP to address London’s record-setting year with respect to vehicle/pedestrian incidents, in any of your year-end recaps that I’ve read. Did I miss something?

On another transportation-related note. Many months ago, when I notified you about the proposal that I had put to City Council with respect to a Pedestrian Subcommittee for London, you replied that you had a special interest in pedestrian/bicyclist safety and that you wished to be kept informed. That being the case, you may be interested in the correspondence which is attached (below). In addition to the highly questionable manner in which the proposal was handled by City Council and “city administration”, I note that I haven’t had a single contact from any elected member about this.

Continuing with the same theme, and my efforts to extract a copy of the Commissioners/Pond Mills safety study from London Police Services. I’ve now succeeded in doing so but only with the assistance of the Ontario Privacy Commissioner.

The unsafe intersection of Commissioners and Pond Mills has been the sight of several horrific vehicle/pedestrian incidents and is one that I have focused on as part of my political action towards improved pedestrian safety in the city of London. It employs pedestrian islands and channelization (dangerously rounded corners so that drivers don’t have to stop or even slow down).

Excerpt from Constable Riley’s 2006/05/29 “Police Witness Statement” which I only obtained 2007/01/04 under FOI:
“I have met with FOWLER and monitored this intersection both with him present and on my own…The following are things that I have noted:
– very high traffic intersection both pedestrian and vehicle
– right hand turn, merge lanes for all directions of travel
– vehicles turning right generally come at a quicker rate of speed but are not speeding
– vehicles turning right, if they stop do so in such a place that they are generally in the crosswalk
– there are no indicators for vehicles making right turns that pedestrians are present or about to cross
– for pedestrians wanting to cross any of the intersections, they must first make it to the island on the opposite side of all the right hand turn lanes in order to push the button to cross the major part of the intersection
– once pedestrians are on the islands they are pretty much blind to vehicles and there is a safety risk that vehicle may not see them”

Excerpt from Constable Riley’s 2006/08/10 “Case Summary” which I only obtained 2007/01/04 under FOI:
“FOWLER was contacted…and a request was made to meet with him and go over this complaint in detail at the intersection in question. Intersection was monitored for a couple of days. Very high traffic both pedestrian and vehicles. Crosswalks are not very safe as pedestrians are forced to cross the path of the turning lane to enter on to an island in order to depress the pedestrian walk button.”

In an email to me dated 2006/08/11, Sgt. Thomas O’Brien wrote:
“Constable Riley’s report acknowledges that Commissioners and Pond Mills is a busy intersection for both vehicles and pedestrians. He doesn’t like the configuration of the merge turns and how it impacts pedestrians. He indicates that local MPP were notified of the concerns… I had conversation with Mr. Shane Maguire of the City Traffic. We discussed this intersection and the unusual requirements for pedestrians to cross merge lanes to get to an “island” to further cross. He is fully aware of the concerns. I asked him to look at other similar intersection configurations within the city to see if they’re experiencing similar problems.”

Correspondence re: Proposal for a London Pedestrian Subcommittee

—————————————————————————————————

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 12:36:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Update – Pedestrian Safety
To: SMaguire@london.ca
CC: “Sandy White”

Mr. Maguire,

In appreciation of your past demonstrated willingness to meet with me and discuss these issues, please be advised,

In response to several complaints by me, Sgt. Tom O’Brien has assigned Const. Riley (661-5545) to investigate the issue of pedestrian safety at the intersection of Commissioners Road East and Pond Mills Road.

I met with Const. Riley at said intersection this morning and discussed the situation with him at length. My impression following the meeting is a good one.

Const. Riley appeared to be very receptive to the perception which I expressed with respect to multiple pedestrian safety issues, and seems to appreciate the dangers imposed by the physical configuration of this particular intersection.

I’ve been promised by Contst. Riley that he will continue to monitor this situation, and that he will endeavour to have Sgt. O’Brien visit the location with him in order to explain/discuss the problems further. He also suggested the possibility of involving MPP Ramal, and he indicated to me that there will be a report available following his investigation.

Also,

As a result of my efforts toward the establishment of a Pedestrian Charter and a Pedestrian Subcommittee for the City of London, I have been informed by the Secretary of the Environment and Transportion Committee that the matter has been referred to the Board of Control for it’s consideration and reply.

I encourage you to follow these developments, and invite you to contact me at any time should you wish to discuss them further.

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 22:20:59 -0500 (EST)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Fwd: RE: Your Letter
To: kbain@london.ca
CC: rcaranci@london.ca, hlysynsk@london.ca

Mr. Bain,

Thank you for your letter dated 2006/12/19 which summarizes how my proposal for a Pedestrian Subcommittee and a Pedestrian Charter was “handled”.

According to the material which you provided, civic administration’s “review” and “report” simply consisted of the single simple sentence that “Pedestrian safety would be a logical fit with the CSCP mandate and it is therefore recommended that … the CSCP’s duties be amended by adding thereto after the words ‘injury prevention’ the words ‘pedestrian safety’ in order to incorporate the area of pedestrian safety within the mandate of the CSCP.”

Was there any background study? Any consultation with other municipalities? Any consultation with London Police Services or members of the public? Why didn’t “civic administration” contact me? Is this what Mr. Fielding means when he talks about “accessibility”?

Why was the “report” submitted to the Striking Committee meeting? Given the fact that my proposal was referred by ETC to Board of Control, shouldn’t any “report” have gone back to Board of Control and even perhaps ETC, for public review and discussion?

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 14:41:31 -0500 (EST)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: RE: Your Letter
To: “Stein, Brett”
CC: hlysynsk@london.ca, kbain@london.ca, rcaranci@london.ca
In-Reply-To:

Mr. Stein,

My apology. The letter originated from Mr. Bain, and I apparently did not exercise sufficient care in responding. Thank you for forwarding it to Ms Lysynski.

Greg Fowler

“Stein, Brett” wrote:

Mr. Fowler
I am unaware of any letter regarding pedestrian safety sent to CSCP in my name on December 5, 2006. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your email to Heather Lysynski, who after reading all the attached emails, seems to be your contact on this subject.

Brett Stein
Manager of Licensing and Elections
City of London
(519) 661-2500 x 5884
bstein@london.ca

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 1:29 PM
To: Stein, Brett
Cc: Caranci, Roger
Subject: Your Letter

Mr. Stein,

Thank you for copying me your 2006/12/05 letter to CSCP which indicates that the issue of pedestrian safety has been incorporated within the mandate of that committee.

It strikes me as being highly inappropriate to have taken this action, given the fact that I’ve been awaiting a response to my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee since last May.

Has staff reported back to Board of Control? Has a decision been made with respect to my proposal?

Greg Fowler

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 13:59:17 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

My apologies, just what has been happening until this point.

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
519-661-2500 x 4856

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 1:40 PM
To: Lysynski, Heather
Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee

Ms Lysynski,

> Pedestrian safety issues continue to be addressed by the
> Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.

Is this the response to my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee that I’ve been waiting for, or simply an explanation of how things have been done up until now?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 12:25:40 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler,

In response to your inquiry, the Bicycle Advisory Committee was established with the mandate of assisting with the finalization of the Bicycle Master Plan, after which it would be integrated with the Transportation Advisory Committee. The Bicycle Master Plan has been completed, the Bicycle Advisory Committee has been disbanded and the terms of reference for the Transportation Advisory Committee have been amended to include representation from the cycling community. Pedestrian safety issues continue to be addressed by the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.

Thank you,

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
519-661-2500 x 4856

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 00:20:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: ETC Comments
To: “W. J. Bud Polhill”

Bud,

With respect to your remarks during the last ETC that “maybe if it was safer more people would ride a bike” and “I can understand a bicycle on the road but they have to have their own space.”

Perhaps, if you’re as concerned about the safety of alternate modes of transportation as your comments would suggest, you’ll explain to me why my proposal for a Pedestrian Committe was sloughed off to BoC and from there
to staff? And why my inquiry about the Bicycle Committee was simply ignored?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One.

Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 23:25:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
To: “Lysynski, Heather”

Ms Lysynski,

I’m aware of the fact that BoC tossed my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee to staff like it was a hot potato, but can you explain to me why I’ve had no response to my inquiry about the disbandment of the Bicycle Committee?

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One.

Subject: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 13:29:18 -0400
From: “Lysynski, Heather”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler:

Your communication was referred to the Board of Control for its consideration. The ETC report will be going to the Municipal Council meeting on Monday (June 12th).

Hope this helps.

Heather

Heather Lysynski
Committee Secretary
City Clerk’s Office
661-2500 x 4856

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:23 PM
To: Lysynski, Heather
Subject: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee

Ms Hlysynski,

Since I’ve had no response from anyone, and since the minutes of the 2006/05/29 ETC meeting are not yet online, perhaps you’d be kind enough to tell me how my communication (Agenda #9) was dealt with?

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler.

Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 15:45:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Inquiry
To: Hlysynski@london.ca
CC: Thomas O’Brien , lenlesser@hotmail.com,
pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, jsher@lfpress.com, garrison@cjbk.com,
newstalk1290today@cjbk.com, sewhite@london.ca, John.Wilsons@corusent.com,
jryan-lfp@rogers.com

Environment & Transportation Committee
City of London
c/o Heather Lysynski, Committee Secretary

May 17, 2006

Please be advised that I am interested in exploring the possibility of forming a pedestrian committee for the City of London , and the creation of a Pedestrian Charter, similar to those which already exist in the City of Toronto .

I understand from a recent agenda that the bicycle subcommittee has been disbanded. Might I receive some background information about what led to that decision, and whether it might negatively impact upon the creation of a pedestrian committee?

For more than a decade, I have been publicly active in advocating for things like increased police services, walkway lighting, etc. Pedestrian rights is simply the latest extension of that, and is driven by increased public environmental awareness, the city’s adoption of a Transportation Master Plan, the hiring of a TDM Co-ordinator (albeit with an insufficient budget), an aging population, and an alarming increase in the incidence of vehicle/pedestrian collisions.

I am attaching a recent communication to London Police Services which reflects that concern, and I ask that you give it your consideration and hopefully your support as well. I also note the excellent LFP May 16 column by Julie Ryan (“Give pedestrians ‘brake’ they deserve”) and I encourage you to read it if you have not already done so.

In the event that you might be receptive to the formation of a pedestrian committee, any recommendations from you would be very much appreciated.

Respectfully,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
962 Eagle Crescent
London , Ontario ; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Date: Tue, 9 May 2006 14:08:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: RE: Police Enforcement & Pedestrian Safety
To: Thomas O’Brien
CC: lenlesser@hotmail.com, pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, jsher@lfpress.com, garrison@cjbk.com, newstalk1290today@cjbk.com, sewhite@london.ca,
John.Wilsons@corusent.com

Sgt. O’Brien,

Thank you for your willingness to investigate my complaint.

I note with regret the article in today’s paper (“Cab hits senior in core”; Patrick Maloney; 2006/05/09), and I feel compelled to repeat the same warning that I’ve made many times before. London is headed too much in the same direction as Toronto and other large municipalities have gone, and vehicle/pedestrian incidents are inevitable unless we take aggressive measures to prevent it.

You are quoted as warning that “pedestrians need to be careful crossing city streets” and I have no problem with that. What bothers me is that you never seem to talk about the other side of the coin, and as a result I’m left with the impression that you have a bias against pedestrians.

Mr. Maloney attributes you as saying last month that “For the most part, pedestrians are at fault.”

I witness many incidents in which pedestrians behave in an unlawful and dangerous manner. I first started speaking out against that and other behaviours many years ago, when Chief Faulkner was still a Deputy. It’s one of the reasons that I publicly campaigned for an increased police budget so that more officers could be hired, something that even Chief Faulkner wasn’t doing.

But please. Let’s not try to pretend that drivers don’t share any responsibility for these incidents.

As I reminded you during our recent meeting at City Hall, walking is a natural right. Pedestrians don’t have to be licensed by the province, and the province can’t legislate against it.

Certainly, pedestrians are not at liberty to act with complete disregard. Hence, prohibitions such as R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 140 (4) with which I completely agree.

On the other hand, driving is not a right, it is a privilege (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 31). And with that privilege, comes the legislated responsibility that drivers do everything possible to be in full control of their vehicles at all times, and those are so numerous that I feel it is unnecessary to cite them.

Until this city starts taking action to curb the seemingly insatiable selfish desire of people to use private automobiles to get to their destinations in the shortest possible time, and to curb our ever-increasing population, vehicle/pedestrian accidents will likely continue to increase. But London Police Services can try to keep it from becoming an epidemic.

I ask you again consider the possibility of conducting sting operations, similar to those which are employed by the Los Angeles Police Department (see: http://www.lapdonline.org/march_2002/news_view/22320).

Sincerely,

Greg Fowler, Ward One Municipal Candidate.