Posts Tagged ‘pedestrian’

Walkway Work Update

October 13, 2008

photoThe work on the walkway which connects Eagle Crescent and King Edward Avenue is proceeding, but I’ve a bit of angst about what I’m seeing here. Hopefully there’s no intention to replace the stairs which were removed, since they represent an unnecessary physical barrier to wheelchairs, buggies and strollers, etc.

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Pro-Pedestrian Not Anti-Car

October 2, 2008

Transportation Hierarchy The comment was made the other week that I was thought to be anti-Car. Although this did not offend me in any way and I respect the person’s opinion that made it, I thought it would be appropriate to clear up this misconception.

I can fully understand why some might think that I am anti-Car, based on the words I write and the opinions I express, but this is the farthest thing from the truth.

It’s not so much that I’m anti-car, because that’s not the case, it’s that I’m pro-pedestrian and pro-public transit and as much as some may want to argue, you can pro-pedestrian and not anti-car (pro-car) at the same time.

I will be the first to admit that we live in a car culture and to deny that the car is essential to everyday business, economics and society is essentially a denial that the industrial revolution was un-essential in developing the modern world we live in.

The automobile is essential in transporting goods, services, people; it is essential. The car isn’t going anywhere and those who wish it to are hopeless radicals that live in a fantasy world.

Since the car isn’t going anywhere, as it is essential, we as society need to better understand its role and purpose and make according changes as a result.

This is where my pro-pedestrian and public transit views come into place.

Although the car is essential in today’s society, it is not the priority and it should not be treated as such. The pedestrian has been around much longer than the automobile and therefore should be given more respect and privileges, as without the pedestrian we would not even have automobiles.

The car and the pedestrian can live in harmony, and so can those defending and living on both sides of the coin. This is something I strongly believe. However, the roles, rules, responsibilities and privileges surrounding both of these entities must be clearly defined.

I do have a car and I do drive it.,However, I choose to drive it only at certain times when other means of transportation may not be best suited. Yes this is a luxury that I have and even if I choose not to use it I still have it at my disposal.

With that said, when I choose to drive I respect the pedestrians out there because in most cases they deserve it and I fully understand where the hierarchy lies (or should lie) in the reality of things.

I hope this helps (at least a bit) to clear up any misconception that I may have un-intentionally put forth through my writings here. When it comes to the car and the pedestrian I live on both sides of the coin. I have a car, I use it, but I also choose to walk and take the public transit.

So although it may seem that I am one-sided many of the times when this debate arises, I think it is a more than justified and educated standpoint as I do (on a daily basis) live on both sides of the coin, but by no means am I saying it has to be one way or the other.

Enhanced Springbank Park Recreational Use

September 21, 2008

It’s being recommended that vehicles be restricted from the portion of the Thames Valley Pathway System (the multi-use pathway system that extends along the edge of the Thames River) that’s in Springbank Park.

At long last, changing safety and environmental principles are beginning to influence pathway and road systems in a way that limits vehicle/pedestrian conflicts. But, we’ve still got a long way to go.

London’s daily newspaper finally got around to reporting on this on 2008/10/03 (“People may bump cars off roadway“; LFP).

Other Links:
CityLondon: Upgrades to Vehicular and Pedestrian Circulation

Thanks for Helping!

September 19, 2008

What can I say about The Londoner that won’t sound self-serving? I mean, they’ve been so accomodating to me!

During the last municipal election campaign when other media outlets were ignoring the way that I couldn’t participate, Ben Benedict wrote an article about it. They’ve published many of the letters that I’ve sent to them. Phil has given me permission to republish a number of their articles on my site, and he even responds to my emails.

And now this.

scanned graphic

I hope that the Transportation Advisory Committee and the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee and the Environment and Transportation Committee and the Community and Protective Services Committee and Shane Maguire and Sgt. Tom O’Brien all read it.

Thanks for the validation, Bill.

Perhaps they’ll have more difficulty ignoring someone of your stature.

Stop For Pedestrians!

September 18, 2008

From: Gregory Fowler
To: Heather Lysynski
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:43:12 PM
Subject: Fw: FYI – Channelized Driver Behaviour

Chair and Members
Community Safety and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee

September 18, 2008

Further to my previous delegation and communications with respect to pedestrian safety, and particularly with respect to the intersection at Commissioners/Pond Mills which a police report identifies as dangerous to pedestrians and which City Council and staff continue to ignore…

Please review my communication to LPS Sgt. Thomas O’Brien and the attached video clip in conjunction with Const. Riley’s report.

Also, with respect to pedestrian stats. Can you please tell me if the stats that are provided to you and to ETC reflect the number of traffic complaints by pedestrians, or do they simply reflect the number of police charges laid?

Respectfully,

962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario N5Z 3H7
(h) 519-649-0502
(c) 519-719-4615

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Gregory Fowler
To: Thomas O’Brien
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:20:28 PM
Subject: FYI – Channelized Driver Behaviour

Sgt. O’Brien,

Further to my previous complaints and the Riley report which confirms the danger posed by the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection to pedestrians.

Please review this short video clip which I recorded last evening as I was in the process of stepping off the pedestrian island in that same intersection. It is a perfect proof of the kind of illegal driver behaviour that is all too common, not only in the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection, but in many ‘channelized’ intersections.

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler

962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario N5Z 3H7
(h) 519-649-0502
(c) 519-719-4615



How About Some Sidewalks?

September 15, 2008

sidewalk picOnly 4 sidewalks are being proposed for construction this year because of the inadequate current annual budget of only $200,000.

London recently got $5.8 million from the $400 million provincial allocation for municipal infrastructure. Despite his undertaking to me to look into my pedestrian safety concerns about the ward that he was elected to represent, Roger Caranci rose at a subsequent Council meeting and argued in favour of putting all of it towards roads. And that’s what happened. Drivers got catered to, pedestrians got squat.

The city is currently sitting on an additional +$33M for transportation-related projects.

Will pedestrians get any of the gravy this time?

What’s it going to take …

September 14, 2008

… 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

photo

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.

Respectfully,

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.

Giving Credit When It’s Due

September 12, 2008

photo

It doesn’t always pay to complain, but for sure you don’t get any results by staying silent. It looks like my threat of a class-action lawsuit against the City may have gotten more attention than what I first thought back in June … hopefully this work is going to put an end to the repeated pedestrian obstruction because of overgrown foliage.

It took a lot longer and was way more work getting this situation fixed than it ever should have been, but fair is fair. I’ll try to track down an explanation of exactly what’s being done and who ordered it and let you know. Because it appears that somebody at City Hall deserves some credit for a change.

Don’t you think that somebody would have let me know about this development?

More credit…

From: “Caranci, Roger”
To: “Greg Fowler”
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 2:17:35 PM
Subject: Re:

Greg,

I have told the staff about your concerns. They told me they would get to the walkway but could not commit a timeline. Nice to know they are there. Better late than never but I will push them to put the maintenance on a more timely and reasonable rotation.

Roger

Audible Pedestrian Signals

September 6, 2008

This seems very strange. Item #8 of the 7th report of the Accessibility Advisory Committee is requesting that it’s $7500 budget be retained “to continue to allow the ACCAC to support the implementation of audible pedestrian signals…01

The city is currently flush with cash from the upper levels of government for transportation-related projects. If there’s a need for audible pedestrian signals, shouldn’t their cost be borne the same way that ordinary pedestrian signals are? And doesn’t such need deserve at least as much consideration as the extension, widening, and paving of roads?

Sources:
01. 2008/09/08 – CAPS Agenda item #1

Pedestrian Obstruction

August 28, 2008

This morning. Just before noon. More of the same…

media1.jpeg

Forget calling the police or complaining to City Hall … pedestrians aren’t even on their radar screen unless it comes to meaningless rhetoric. All I can do is continue to document this and other pedestrian problems and hope that over time it will contribute to similar action by other people. That might provide sufficient public embarrassment that they finally feel compelled to do something.

Other Links:
2008/08/01 – FMBS: Friday Walkabout link
2008/05/10 – FMBS: City Hall Sidewalk
2008/02/29 – FMBS: My CSCP Appearance
2008/01/20 – FMBS: Because They’re Allowed To
2007/11/14 – FMBS: Obstructive Landscaping

What to do with $33M ?

August 26, 2008

The $33M windfall that London will receive from the $1.1-billion provincial infrastructure package is somewhat smaller than Hamilton’s $48M, but it’s still a nice lump of cash to squabble over. The question is, who will be allowed to squabble over it?

Will Roger Caranci succeed in having the Lion’s share diverted into the questionably-intelligent Hale/Trafalgar overpass project? Will Tom Gosnell be able to finagle enough of it into some downtown parking garages? Will politicians opt to widen more roads and build new ones, increasing future maintenance costs without worrying about how those will be paid for?

Most interesting to me, how much of that money will be spent to improve things for London’s pedestrians and bicyclists?

Will I finally get a response from City Hall with respect to the dangerous Commissioners Rd. E. arterial? Or will they continue to ignore the situation until pedestrians start to die?

Will we see significantly increased funding for the walkways lighting program? Or will they continue to ignore that situation until more women are raped?

A review of London’s Transportation Master Plan is set to get underway. Let’s hope that none of this money will be earmarked for anything until that process is complete. And let’s hope that the TMP review will be comprehensive and seriously consider our alternative transportation needs instead of simply giving us more political rhetoric.

Are You a Jackass Driver?

August 25, 2008

photoToday’s rant is courtesy of the dolt driving the pickup who decided to verbally harass me at Commissioners/Adelaide this afternoon. “Get off the road!” he yelled, as I proceeded westward from the pedestrian island to the N.W. corner.

As you can see from the photo (click to get an enlarged high-res version) it’s one of the channelized intersections (rounded corners and pedestrian islands) which allow drivers to take the corners at speed. This jackass didn’t care that I had the legal right-of-way (the pedestrian signal said “Walk” and I had been standing there waiting for it before he came along). All he cared about was that he had to stop, instead of going around the corner like a maniac.

Credit When It’s Due

August 13, 2008

Do you remember just a couple of short months ago when I had to resort to threatening the city with a class-action lawsuit in order to get the local pedestrian walkway cleaned up?

Koodo2008081204

This is what I was pleasantly surprised to discover this morning on one of my neighbourhood walkabouts. Without any arm-twisting by me, somebody apparently dispatched a city crew to give the walkway another cleanup.

How nice would it be if this was the beginning of a frequently-enough regular maintenance schedule?

A Friday Walkabout

August 1, 2008

Friday nights the crazy drivers come out to play. But this week it looked like they were getting an early start.

gf20080801005Here’s some excitement taking place just west of the Commissioners/King Edward intersection that I’ve expressed concern about. It looked as if somebody took out one of the median light standards, but nobody was talking.

gf20080801007This is a scene that’s all too common to London pedestrians, and one which I blogged about before. It’s called obstruction.

 

 

gf20080801008More serious. This woman didn’t want to wait for the vehicle in front of her to turn left out of the plaza, so she decided to sqeeze through on it’s passenger side. Problem was, I was already started across the exit along the sidewalk. Did she care? And did she stop after I yelled at her? The license is clearly visible, but trying to get Sgt. Tom O’Brien to lay charges is an exersize in futility.

Pedestrians Are Being Shafted

August 1, 2008

You’ll recall that I applied to be a pedestrian representative on the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee and on the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee. There were vacant positions on both, and the city subsequently even went so far as to advertise the need to fill a lot of positiions. I was invited by the Chair of CSCPC to apply to that committee, and my name was put forward for TAC by Councillor Baechler and approved by ETC. So, what’s the problem?

Well, it may be that I’m not a very good schmoozer. I’m not very good at staying silent when there are things going on that just aren’t right. I’m not adverse to naming names. I’m very well known in many quarters as London’s most publicly outspoken pedestrian rights/safety advocate, something I’ve been doing for decades, for good reason.

Readers of this blog know the kind of pedestrian-related issues that concern me, and the kind of advocacy that I’ve been making at City Hall on behalf of pedestrians “from the outside” for these many years.

This blog’s readers also know many of the valid criticisms that I’ve had of City Hall and the several presentations that I made to the Governance Task Force, including my concern for transparency, accountability, and due process.

It appears that there are those at City Hall who don’t appreciate the kind of change that my appointments could bring. Which is why they don’t want me there, and probably beat the hell out of the bushes to find alternatives for those vacant positions.

You may recall my telling you how the City Clerk interfered when I asked to appear before the Disability Advisory Committee during the last election campaign. You may recall that I called for the termination of Mr. Shane McGuire with respect to the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection. You’ll recall the way that I was lied to by senior city staff last Fall when I indicated that I wished to have the opportunity to provide pedestrian-related input into the review of the Master Plan. More recently, you may be aware of the way that city Planning Staff have failed to inform the local community association that I’m active in with respect to certain proposed zoning changes. And you may remember that a local walkway was allowed to remain in absolutely deplorable condition until I started going door-to-door trying to drum up citizen support for a class-action lawsuit against the city.

I understand the fear which may exist down at City Hall lest I get the opportunity to be more acquainted with what’s going on and to report back to you about it. Lest I cause them even more “inconvenience” than I already do, at this particular time when they’re sitting on a rather large pile of money from the two upper levels of government for transportation-related projects. God forbid that pedestrian concerns be allowed to impact the spending of that money!

Which maybe explains why the appointments process ended up being carried out in secret, instead of being vetted in a public meeting by Board of Control or City Council, and ending with my receipt of this cursory statement from the City Clerk:

I have been asked by the Nominating Committee for the Transportation Advisory Committee to express its thanks to you for submitting your name for consideration to the Advisory Aommittee and to convey its regrets that it was unable to favour you with an appointment at this time.

There’s more to come. Stay tuned.

Added 2008/08/02 @7:00pm:

I’ve just checked the City of London ‘Media Releases’ page to be sure, and it’s as I suspected. There’s no mention of the underhanded secret process in which my application to TAC was rejected.

Although most decisions at City Hall ought to be reflected in a media release, I’ve decided in this instance to leave no slimy stone unturned. So I checked out the ‘Committee Vacancies‘ page as well. Again, no indication of what’s going on. Not even any mention about whether or not there are any outstanding vacancies, much less the ones that have been filled.

Do citizens know that this is how decisions at City Hall are being made?