Posts Tagged ‘road’

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

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Tomorrow is Car-Free Day!

September 21, 2008

Yes, Monday Sept. 22 is International Car-Free Day. But, you wouldn’t know it in good old London, Ontario CANADA would you?

According to the Transportation Master Plan, this city is committed to getting people to adopt modes of transportation other than cars. So, that begs the question, what’s City Hall doing to promote the day?

Well, there’s a blurb on the front page of the city website: “Monday is International Car Free Day – your chance to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or take transit to get around London.” And that’s hyperlinked to THIS PAGE which basically confirms that the city isn’t doing anything. Oh, there’s a suggestion that something might be done next year (“City staff is looking into turning Car Free Day into a larger event next year”), but that’s all.

I guess that city staff have been too busy figuring out how to spend so many millions of dollars on roads this year to waste any time on something that makes as much sense as this does.

Disgusted? You should be.

Other Links:
2008/09/22 – CTV News: Car free day
2008/09/22 – CBC: Downtown Montrealers encouraged to go car-free…
2008/09/22 – Korea Times: Seoul Observes Car Free Day
2008/09/23 – National Post: How mayors got to work yesterday
2008/09/23 – Hilltop Online: D.C. Celebrates Car Free Day
link

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.

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.

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.

Quebec’s Bill 42

April 28, 2008

Not so nice a day to go walking today, but that presents an opportunity to do some catching up. Let’s have a look at Quebec’s Bill 42, which I previously posted about HERE.

The National Assembly adopted the bill 2007/12/21 thanks to Parti Quebecois support, and it became law 2008/04/01.

Although the Quebec Liberal Party “posted a video on its website criticizing the opposition PQ and the Action democratique du Quebec for blocking a proposal to lower the tolerated level of alcohol for drivers in Quebec to 0.05 per cent,” 01 the measures that it does contain are commendable.

BTW, that clause in the road safety legislation that would have lowered the legal blood level limit to 0.05 per cent was withdrawn after the Action Démocratique du Québec and Parti Québécois both refused to support that proposal. 02

Quebec beomes the first province to mandate the use of snow tires on all personal vehicles, taxis and rental cars. “This measure [which begins 2008/11/15] along with the provincial government’s renewed co-operation with Montreal municipalities to lower speed limits on residential streets, represents an attempt to make Quebec drivers more accountable and roads safer.” 03

There is a ban on hand-held cell phones, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, as one blogger has noted, it “totally misses the point by not including text messaging devices. If holding and talking on the phone is a distraction and a cause of accident, reading or writing a text message is even more. In other words, if your Blackberry is not used as a phone, you can read or write message while going off the road or rear ending another vehicle.” 04

“According to the official transcripts of the debates of the National Assembly, the rationale behind the ban is that when a driver uses a cell phone while operating a vehicle, he is 30% more likely to be implicated in a crash. The penalty for those who get caught is rather stiff: a $80-100 fine plus 3 demerit points on the driver’s record.” 05

The bill makes driver’s education mandatory for all applicants who wish to obtain a license for passenger vehicles and motorcycles. 05

The legislation will also restrict car advertising that depicts fast, unsafe driving. 02

Sources:
01. 2007/12/19 – Global Quebec: National Assembly wraps…
02. 2007/12/19 – CBC: Legal blood alcohol limit won’t drop…
03. 2008/04/28 – The Suburban: Speed and snow tires…
04. 2008/01/10 – The Trucking Blog: Bill 42
05. 2008/04/01 – Michael Lu: Bill 42

ETC’s Apparently Correct Parking Decision

April 8, 2008

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In a very brief release in today’s paper (Parking Proposal on Hold; London Free Press ‘City Hall Briefs‘; 2008/04/08), we’re told by ‘Sun Media’ (ie. an unidentified source who may be a LFP journalist or may not be) that ETC “cast doubt on the proposal…that would have allowed Londoners to park their vehicles between the road and sidewalk [because] such a practice would hurt efforts to get more people to walk and would raise concerns in student neighbourhoods.”

(more…)

Make Our City a Global Hotspot

March 18, 2008

The message is essentially the same as the one that I conveyed to you yesterday, just a bit more poetically: “It is integral to the dignity of mankind that one must be able to read his or her emails in a public place.” 01

Well, actually there’s another message contained in the post, but it’ll require checking it out a bit more; ie, that the other London on the banks of the other Thames River has now become the WiFi capital of the world.

It’s a missed opportunity I tell you! Think of all the hotspots that could be created with all the Ambassador London cash that being scammed out of City Hall . Think of all the feet on the street, stopping for a moment’s relaxation and a quick blog post about our communitiy’s walkability, a sure-fire affordable visitor magnet if ever there was one.

Now think of all the millions of taxpayer dollars that Dave Leckie wants to spend treating cracks in our ever-expanding road system.

Sources:
01. 2008/03/17 – Londonist: London, Wi-Fi Capital Of The World

Fined For Walking?

March 13, 2008

First there was a letter to the LFP editor (‘Too Lazy to Use Sidewalk’; ‘jeff’; 2008/03/09) from one of those dull pencils who think that nothing should be allowed to inconvenience automobile drivers and that pedestrians are some kind of 2nd class lifeform: “I looked in the opposite lanes to see a person walking, head down up the road…because they were too lazy to break a trail down the sidewalk.”

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In Toronto, Pedestrians Have a Voice

February 2, 2008

In London, my proposal for a Pedestrian Subcommittee was underhandedly dismissed without any public scrutiny. Which is why pedestrian issues only come forward periodically, presented one by one by affected individuals, where the issues and the individuals can be easily dispensed with by local politicians.

In Toronto, on the other hand, pedestrians are treated with some respect. Today’s news includes an article (‘Committee wants better snow removal on sidewalks‘; Toronto Star; 2008/02/02) about some of the recommendations just made by their Pedestrian Committee:

  • Plow sidewalks on all arterial roads.
  • staff should prepare a report on the cost and feasibility of plowing all residential sidewalks.
  • Provide improved service for older and disabled residents who can’t clear their own walks.
  • speed installation of chirping traffic signals to help blind and visually impaired pedestrians cross busy intersections.
  • an extra $1.35 million this year for pedestrian traffic signals that help people who don’t see well get across the street.
  • In London, where local politicians pretend to support TDM and a transportation hierarchy, snow clearing of pedestrian roads (sidewalks, walkways) is often just an afterthought. If there was any truth behind the Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan, wouldn’t pedestrian streets get cleared first, before any consideration was given to the automobile?

    But whoever said that politicians have to be honest?

    Better Maintainance of Pedestrian Roads, Please

    December 23, 2007

    In order for any transportation-related discussion to be more accurate, I propose that we try to remember that sidewalks, walkways, etc. are ‘pedestrian roads.’ I believe that this is significantly important, given London, Ontario’s official position of striving to reduce ‘Single Occupancy Vehicle’ travel (SOV), the widely-accepted ‘Transportation Hierarchy’, and my own often-repeated reminder that although driving is only a priviledge, walking is a natural human right (just like breathing, eating, sleeping, self-protection, etc).

    Nearly a week after the big snowstorm, but a lot of sidewalks have become hard-packed by winter boots, smooth as a skating rink and as slippery in some places, semi-mountainous in others, and most are still in need of better clearing.

    The images below were taken 2007/12/22, a week after the snowstorm and a temp. of +5C. They show the walkway that connects Eagle Crescent with King Edward Ave. Note that the Eagle Cr. entrance is blocked by a snowbank, and that the walkway has not been plowed. The only good thing that can be observed is that someone has shoveled the steps and put some sand on them.

    20071222002.jpg 20071222004.jpg 20071222005.jpg 20071222006.jpg
    20071222003.jpg

    20071222001.jpgAlso taken 2007/12/22, this photo of the sidewalk along Commissioners Rd. E. Plowed, but not well enough, and not sanded; dangerous for many. Observe the fact that the roads are completely bare.

    Would the city take so much better care of vehicle roads than it does of pedestrian roads, if it really meant the rhetoric that’s to be found in it’s official documents?

    Links:
    2007/12/22 – Toronto Star: Small people cast adrift…
    2007/12/22 – Toronto Star: Ice-clogged sidewalks …

    British Cellphone Crackdown

    December 20, 2007

    Although the use of cellphones while operating an automobile was outlawed in Britain in 2003, it’s estimated that “half a million motorists flout the ban each day.”

    (more…)

    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?

    A Driver’s Tips for Cyclists

    December 5, 2007

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    Thanks to Jeff over on London Commons for posting the link to this video.

    One suggestion for all you bicyclists out there. Don’t forget to take along your buns and condiments next time you go travelling, for all those flying burgers! 😉

    London Driver Assaulted for Red Light Stop

    December 5, 2007

    Just overheard on CJBK

    Approximately 2 hours ago, a 64-year-old male driver who stopped his vehicle at a red light (as legally required) was then subsequently assaulted by the male driver of the vehicle behind him. Apparently, the older driver had unwittingly inserted his vehicle into a funeral procession, and the 2nd driver who may have been a part of the procession became enraged when the older gentleman would not acquiesce to his demand to proceed against the red light. Police describe the road incident as “very disturbing.”

    Links:
    2007/02/07 – CBC FifthEstate: Road Warriors (video)
    2007/12/05 – LFP: Driver in funeral procession had road rage
    2007/12/05 – Dan Brown: Driver in funeral procession had road rage
    2007/12/05 – LondonTopic: Funeral procession road rage…