Posts Tagged ‘speed’

London’s Traffic Enforcement Stinks

August 20, 2008

Three weeks ago, Phil McLeod penned an editorial in The Londoner which concluded that there needs to be more police enforcement of speed limits in London (‘Needed, more enforcement of speed limits.’) Sgt. Tom O’Brien (London Police Services) responded with an article of his own (‘More Enforcement to catch speeders won’t be enough‘). What did we learn?

Phil referred to “red light jumpers at every intersection.” Sgt. Tom admitted that “London drivers are running red and amber lights” and that “London drivers speed.”

Sgt. Tom wrote that because of stepped-up enforcement of aggressive drivers, police had 6,274 speeding tickets Y-T-D vs 5,050 for the same period last year, 446 red light tickets vs 407, and 99 amber light tickets vs 79. What that suggests to me is that police could have laid many more charges for these types of driver behaviours in the previous year if they had been as motivated to deploy their resources toward that end.

Sgt. Tom tells us that “with limited resources police must be selective in where we deploy our efforts.” In other words, we’re being told that there aren’t enough traffic enforcement officers and equipment to properly do the job. One can only guess how many tickets might have been issued had there been sufficient effort. That being the case, the numbers offered by Sgt. Tom are only mildly interesting, and cannot be used to understand the seriousness of the problem of dangerous driving in London.

The fact that fatalities have gone down can only be attributed to dumb luck.

Sgt. Tom tells us that “fines and enforcement are not enough to alter the distracted and selfish behaviour of many drivers.” That’s true. But it doesn’t excuse the lack of sufficient enforcement.

Sgt. Tom tells us that the problem of providing sufficient enforcement continues to increase along with urban sprawl. That’s something that concerned citizens have been saying loudly for years. And it’s not just police services that are negatively impacted. Other emergency services are similarly challenged to meet increased demand, at the same time that local politicians berate them for failing to stay within arbitrarily-imposed budget constraints.

Sgt. Tom claims that “roadside electric sign boards” are employed in the effort to combat speeding. Last time I inquired, I was ignored. Before that, Sgt. Tom told me that LPS only has a single device. Has that changed? I haven’t seen one since I tried to get police/politicians to attend to the dangerous Commissioners/King Edward Ave. intersection.

Why doesn’t LPS use dummy sign boards? For that matter, why aren’t dummy police vehicles being strategically located to slow down drivers?

We’re told that LPS is currently using two “ghost traffic cars which are virtually invisible to inattentive drivers.” In a city of this size and the continually increasing volume of traffic on our roads, that seems like a token gesture, at best. Why aren’t there many more?

London media seldom draws much attention on these subjects, so Mr. McLeod’s editorial was much appreciated by me. But it’s a drop in the bucket. There needs be much more scrutiny by London media before we’re likely to see much real action by local police/politicians. But given the way that they all ignored the way in which my applications to TAC and CSCPAC were secretly ‘handled’ that’s not likely going to happen.

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Pedestrian Signal Timing

May 18, 2008


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walking with cane“Recognizing that the North American population of older pedestrians is increasing, Canadian researchers Ann Coffin and John Morrall designed a study to learn if the timing of pedestrian signals at crosswalks should be adjusted to a slower walking speed for the elderly… When describing problems they had with crosswalks…elderly participants said they were “extra cautious because of a mistrust of drivers, fear of turning vehicles, difficulty negotiating curbs, inability to judge vehicular speeds, problems during winter, and annoyance with quick-changing lights.” 01

What’s been your experience with the duration of walk signals here in London, Ontario CANADA? Do you think that the city engineers have any clue what they’re doing, or that they only care about delaying cars for as short a time as possible?

Sources:
01. 1997/04/01 – USroads.com: Researchers Study Walking Speeds…

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

The Wabbit Wants a Rematch, eh?

February 22, 2008


A nataliedee.com sketch.
natalie dee

This Initiative AISA Promising Development

January 9, 2008


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Last month, in this post, I told you about Australia’s experiment with free, solar-powered public transit. Well, they’re at it again!

“A device that can automatically slow a speeding car using satellite technology” is currently being evaluated, and a widespread trial of the Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation (AISA) initiative is expected to take place this year (‘Device automatically slows speeding cars‘; New Zealand Herald; 2008/01/09).

It’s estimated that “the number of fatalities could be cut by almost 60 per cent if it was fitted to all cars.”

Keeping Watch on SpeedWatch

December 23, 2007

Acc. to the Mayor of the City of Pickering, “We’ve been looking at technologies, this one [a new integrated, solar-powered LED radar board] is very cost-effective and low maintenance and I think it will work well” (‘Pickering cracks down with high-tech radar‘; Toronto 24 Hrs; 2007/12/23).

The solar-powered boards “can run for up to three days before recharging and require zero electricity” and the Pickering project’s [startup?] cost was reported to have been $15,000.

Although Mike Pelzowski (Coordinator, Traffic Operations; City of Pickering) didn’t provide any financial detail in his 2007/12/27 email to me, he did identify that the manufacturer of the radar board is Dorman Varitext.

This is interesting… Pickering has something it calls a Neighbourhood Traffic Watch Program. Residents use a speed display board to “track and record all vehicles traveling in excess of 10 km/hr above the maximum speed limit…for a minimum of two hours a day for a consecutive five day period.”

photoIt’s been almost 2 years since Sgt. Tom O’Brien told me that LPS only had a single SpeedWatch trailer to deploy, so I thought that this would be a good time to revisit the file. I’ve sent the Sgt. an info request and I’ll update this post for you if I get a reply.

Appended 2008/08/20: No reply so far 😦

Fast-Car Ads Hit Quebec Roadblock

December 18, 2007

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An amendment to Quebec’s Bill 42 (highway safety) would “give the provincial auto insurance board the mandate to come up with guidelines to ban [car] ads that depict ‘heedless, careless or dangerous behaviour and gestures’ “ and more.

(more…)

Safer Streets in Nova Scotia

November 24, 2007

Nova Scotia’s Transportation Minister, Murray Scott, has introduced amendments to that province’s Motor Vehicle Act that appear to hold a promise of increased safety for pedestrians.

An 18-month pilot program would allow police to install photo-radar cameras capable of nabbing speeders and red light runners.

Another provision would ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

Drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians at crosswalks would see a doubling of fines: $500 for a first offence, $1,000 for a second and $2,000 for a third.

Can you hear me applauding?

Links:
2007/11/15 – CBC: Ban cell phones (audio)
2007/11/24 – Globe & Mail: N.S. government to make streets safer

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Flaherty Speed Limits Referral

September 7, 2007

Noted in the 2007/09/10 ETC Meeting Agenda. The 7th report of the Transportation Advisory Committee notes that it referred a 2007/06/06 communication from C. Flaherty to city staff for “an appropriate response.” Apparently, the communication proposes reduced speed limits on roads “to safely accomodate alternate means of transportation such as bussing, walking and biking.” If that’s the case, then it would appear to be in step with what I’ve been advocating for a long while. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find a copy of the Flaherty communication on the city website, so that’s all I can say about it (in fact, TAC Agendas and Minutes don’t appear to be available on the city website either… so much for accessibility). Lets hope that the referral of this apparently pedestrian-friendly initiative to city staff is above-board and results in a response to ETC, as opposed to the dishonest manner in which my proposal for a Pedestrian Committee was handled!

Pedestrians, Take Cover!

April 24, 2007

17 y.o. grade-12 Cassandra Harwick died 2006/04/10, having activated the crosswalk signal in order to cross Southdale Road near Millbank Drive. The van’s driver, 22 y.o. Selvin Campos, was originally charged with dangerous driving causing death. According to this morning’s paper (“Dad of crash victim…”; Jane Sims; London Free Press; 2007/04/24), the shocking revelation that “an examination of the van’s engine showed Campos was travelling 75 kilometres an hour in a 60 km-h zone.” Equally shocking, the apparent testimony from witnesses that other drivers were going equally fast in the school zone. More shocking? In court yesterday, the Crown and defence agreed to a lesser charge of careless driving. Most shocking? Mr. Campos was only given a $1,000 fine and a 3-month licence suspension.

Driver Behaviour Requires Reduced Speed Limits

January 9, 2007

In her latest article (“Crashes down, severity up”; London Free Press; 2007/01/09) Kelly Pedro quotes Sgt. Tom O’Brien (head of the city police traffic management unit) as saying that “My concern is that although the number of collisions may not be going up significantly, the seriousness of these collisions is getting graver.”

And Ms Pedro attributes him with blaming the more serious crashes on aggressive driving, drivers running red lights and impaired driving.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. And along with the privilege comes responsibilities. If significant numbers of drivers are becoming a danger to pedestrians and others, then it’s time to expect some leadership from the police and from the administration and politicians at City Hall.

A good place to start would be a reduction in the speed limit on all city streets, despite the inevitable wailing that would be sure to follow.

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.

2006 Fowler Election Platform – Pedestrian Safety

October 9, 2006

as originally posted on my Election Website







Given the alarmingly mounting incidence of collisions between pedestrians and vehicles, the issue of pedestrian safety should be front and center in this election. Pedestrians Prohibited
According to Chief Murray Faulkner (London Police Service): “It’s time that motorists take responsibility for their actions… When a driver chooses to speed, drive aggressively or drink and drive, he or she is responsible for causing any event that results in damage, injury or death. No excuses, take responsibility. It’s no accident!”  1 “Is this the direction that the city intends to go in, with respect to the rising numbers of pedestrians being hit/killed in our city? By denying pedestrians their mobility rights?”
 
I’ve proposed that London have a Pedestrian Committee, but the current politicians on ETC and Board of Control handed it off like a hot potato. They should not be allowed to defer discussion of this until after the Nov. 13 municipal election. Voters deserve to know where each candidate stands on the issue, in the name of open government.   I was reading over the ETC agenda for Monday and was quite pleased to find your letter. I am highly in support of the founding of an effective pedestrian committee….

Joshua Hurwitz
Candidate – Board of Control

 
I’ve been very outspoken about traffic safety, particularly along Commissioners Road East. Most recently, I’ve been fighting for access to a report about the intersection at Commissioners & Pond Mills, which resulted from my numerous complaints about that location.

Sources:

1. http://www.lhsc.on.ca/media/2005/sep08.htm

2.

Some of what I’ve had to say in the past

Subject: RE: Foliage Encroachment
Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 07:31:43 -0400
From: “Stanford, Jay”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Hi Greg

Thanks for the details. The locations will be noted for trimming.

We will contact the two stores noted and ask them to pick up their shopping carts. Thanks for the locations. If the stores do not pick them up, we will arrange a pickup and they will head off to our scrap metal bin.

Cheers. . . . Jay

Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 22:37:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Foliage Encroachment
To: jstanfor@london.ca

Hi Jay,

It’s been more than a year since you were good enough to have city workers clean up the weeds and overgrown foliage in the local pedestrian walkway which connects Eagle Crescent and King Edward Avenue, and it’s once again becoming a problem.

Also, and as I’ve noted before, there is considerable foliage encroachment in several places along Commissioners Road both east and west of Kind Edward Avenue. In some instances, pedestrians are forced onto the bicycle path, which puts them at risk. Because of the slope of the path in this area, bicyclists travelling in an east to west direction do generate significant speed and increased risk to pedestrians in the event of a collision.

I’m not sure if this is within your area of responsibility or not, but I also note an increasing problem with discarded shopping carts in the area. It’s not unusual to see between 1-2 dozen at times, in the area between the Deveron plaza (Food Basics, Zellers) and Leathorne Street. Like litter and graffiti, it’s a problem that quickly escalates unless it’s addressed in a timely fashion.

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One.

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

— Personal Background info —

I am a Ward One candidate in the 2006 London Municipal Election. As a member of the disabled community who does rely on ODSP assistance, I am prevented from fundraising for my campaign because of the refusal of the local ODSP office to respond to my inquiries about how doing so would affect those benefits. An appeal to MPP Ramal’s office for assistance has been largely ignored. And the London Free Press and other local media are similarly ignoring the situation. This is the democracy that my uncle fought in WWII and died for?

A former executive member of the NDP (President London-Middlesex, Secretary London-South, Manager London Community Office).

Having had personal experience with unemployment, poverty, homelessness, suicidal depression, substance abuse, etc., I believe that I can bring a much-needed perspective to City Hall, and can advocate on behalf of the increasingly large population of disenfranchised citizens who are currently so poorly represented.

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: 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: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 17:45:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Critical Mass
To: tblack2@uwo.ca

Toban,

I just recently subscribed to London Commons and was pleased to read the posts about CM. I’ve subscribed to the Hamilton-based TLC (Transportation for Liveable Communities) mailing list for a long time, and have often puzzled why there isn’t one in London also. Any plans in that regard?

I’ve suggested to the City Clerk that a listserv would be a wonderful addition if they’re really committed to “accessibility” but I’m not sure that I was ever taken seriously. I’m still pursuing the idea with Joni Baechler, hoping that she has more influence than I have.

You may or may not also know that I’ve proposed a Pedestrian Committee for London (referred by ETC to BOC and by BOC to staff… guess they don’t want to deal with it in an election year, but I’m trying to keep the pressure on).

I’ve also asked for information about why the Bicycle Committee was disbanded, but they’re ignoring me. Any chance that you might know anything about that?

I’m very pro-active about transportation issues, and have written several critical Letters to the LFP about pedestrian/vehicular crashes. I’ve recently succeeded in getting Tom O’Brien (London Police Services) to commission a safety study re Commissioners/Pond Mills, and I’ve had a couple meetings with Shane Maguire (City Hall) about pedestrian islands, channelization, pedestrian signal timing, etc.

I’m very involved with the Warranted Walkway Lighting program, and was successful in getting a local one lit. Have been pressuring City Hall to increase their funding for that program for a long time, and was disgusted at the political posturing coming from them following the attack in Byron. $300,000 annually is simply not good enough.

Similarly, the comparable budget for TDM is simply indicitive of politicians who are paying lip service to alternative modes, rather than having any real intention of getting behind them. The budget covers Allison Cook’s salary, and thats about all. But it makes it look like they’re doing something.

I’m also very active on public transit, and advocate a cashless LTC. Not that I’d ever be able to generate enough support around the horseshoe for that, but it opens the door for other things like bike racks on buses, bus-only lanes, etc.

Greg Fowler, Candidate Ward One

— Personal Background info —

I am a Ward One candidate in the 2006 London Municipal Election. As a member of the disabled community who does rely on ODSP assistance, I am prevented from fundraising for my campaign because of the refusal of the local ODSP office to respond to my inquiries about how doing so would affect those benefits. An appeal to MPP Ramal’s office for assistance has been largely ignored. And the London Free Press and other local media are similarly ignoring the situation. This is the democracy that my uncle fought in WWII and died for?

A former executive member of the NDP (President London-Middlesex, Secretary London-South, Manager London Community Office).

Having had personal experience with unemployment, poverty, homelessness, suicidal depression, substance abuse, etc., I believe that I can bring a much-needed perspective to City Hall, and can advocate on behalf of the increasingly large population of disenfranchised citizens who are currently so poorly represented.

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: Tue, 8 Aug 2006 12:47:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Proposed Pedestrian Committee
To: “David Dimitrie”

> Send me an email with your plans, rationale, goals etc.
> for the Pedestrian Committee.

The consequence of seemingly ever-increasing populations of people and motor vehicles and an auto-centric development industry is a corresponding increase in the number of vehicle-pedestrian collisions and deaths. The problem is twofold: drivers don’t look for pedestrians in the crosswalk when they’re making turns, and pedestrians cross against the light or don’t use crosswalks.

London needs a committee which can raise awareness of the “three Es” (education, enforcement and engineering) from the perspective of pedestrians.

The committee’s membership would be representative of the diverse nature of our community (physically handicapped, such as wheelchair users, blind, hearing-handicapped; high school, college/university students; walking/hiking organizations; people who regularly walk and/or use public transit).

Some things that a Pedestrian Committee might work on:
– to get drivers to slow down and pedestrians to look before crossing the street (preferably at a crosswalk).
– improved pedestrian safety and better pedestrian access to public transit, schools, workplaces, shops, libraries, community centres, parks, including roads and other public spaces.
– pedestrian-oriented input to the allocation, design and use of public space.
– provide City Council and staff with comments and recommendations relating to standards to street and sidewalk lighting, guidelines, and general design of the public realm, including roads, and the capital and operating budgets.
– public consultation on pedestrian health and safety, convenience and comfort including working with neighbourhood groups, and with the London Transit Commission (LTC).
– promote walking.
– educational programs for the general public and special needs groups.
– creation and implementation of a Pedestrian Charter like the one that Toronto has, to be used in the city’s decision-making process.

From: “David Dimitrie”
To: “‘Gregory Fowler'”
Subject: RE: New website feature on site
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2006 09:06:59 -0400

Greg: Send me an email with your plans, rationale, goals etc. for the Pedestrian Committee. I will post it with your candidates information on the site. Just a simple text email will do, I can do the formatting to make it look good. The important thing is to explain what your idea for a Committee is, who would be involved, who would it help and why its needed. It doesn’t have to be long.

[snip]

Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 10:57:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Current Segment
To: newstalk1290today@cjbk.com

Bylaws
Perhaps you need to review some of the correspondence that I previously copied you, or visit my website and review the “City Bylaws” archive. I have long complained about the inaccessibility of bylaw information and have tried to do something about it. Despite promises from Sandy White and staff that things would soon improve, they haven’t. Only a small percentage of bylaws are available for viewing on the city’s website. I offered to review the bylaws information and compile a comprehensive list, as a first step, as a public service, but the City Clerk’s office refused to waive photocopying fees.

Jaywalking
In response to my formal complaint against two uniformed officers, the Police Chief mailed me a registered letter which stated that there is no such thing as jaywalking.

Bicycles
Bicycles do not belong on the sidewalk. Contrary to your previous caller, although the bicycle path along Commissioners Road may have some glass on it, I cannot remember seeing any. And I walk along Commissioners Road East every single day. Nevertheless, if there does happen to be some, has that caller ever reported glass or any other impediment to travel to city staff? I’m guessing that the answer is no.

BTW, I’m currently working on getting a Pedestrian Committee and a Pedestrian Charter for London. My letter of inquiry that was on the last ETC agenda was referred to the next Board of Control meeting.

Greg Fowler.

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 21:47:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Fwd: RE: Follow-up re Pedestrian Committee
To: “Jonathan Sher”

Mr Sher,

Further to your recent telephone inquiry. If I receive any further information I’ll continue to pass it along. Thanks for your interest in this.

Sincerely,

Greg Fowler.

> 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

Date: Sat, 27 May 2006 16:24:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Re: Thank you for speaking out for pedestrians’ rights!
To: “Joshua Hurwitz”

Mr. Hurwitz,

It’s gratifying to get some feedback on this. Thank you. I’m anxious to hear from everyone who is interested, so I hope that you’ll spread the word and have others contact me as well.

[snip]

Mr. Fowler:

I was reading over the ETC agenda for Monday and was quite pleased to find your letter. I am highly in support of the founding of an effective pedestrian committee. I am a pedestrian myself, though occasionally I resort to biking, transit and rarely, driving (though I don’t own a car). Council and staff in this city do not “understand” non-vehicular transportation (or transit, for that matter). To them, it is a curiousity, which is why innovative transportation and planning initiatives fall flat. Even programmes that appear to be enlightened, such as downtown revitalization, turn out to be stupidly motivated, eg tax revenue as the main motivator. At best, downtown is an amusement park; heaven forbid its model be replicated! With adequate resources and support, a pedestrian committee could begin to change some of this.

To me, walking is more than a form of transportation: it is a lifestyle. When you drive somewhere, or even bike or take transit, you are getting somewhere. When you are walking, you are living. You are seeing people and sights and experiencing your neighbourhood, your surroundings, yourself. We desperately need to have the infrastructure and the mindset to encourage this lifestyle.

I hope we can have a good discussion at some point, I am tremendously interested in these issues and have many ideas (imagine public squares and European boulevards).

Good luck on your campaign(s).

Joshua Hurwitz

Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 14:00:51 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Meeting
To: “Sandy White”

Sandy,

You said that you’d be getting a staff report, but I thought that I’d note a few things from my own perspective.

To begin with, the fact that I very much appreciate the fact that I got that accomodation, and that staff were willing to spend so much time with me trying to answer my questions.

There seems to be agreement by all that the intersection at Commissioners & King Edward poses a safety hazard because of the traffic volume (expected to increase) & the sight lines. But we part ways with respect to what should be done about it.

Closing the intersection with an expectation that pedestrians will walk the extra distance to cross at the signalized intersection at Commissioners & Frontenac is troubling to me. In the first place, it assumes that compliance will take place. And as I noted, not all of the children who currently cross at Commissioners & King Edward are accompanied by adults. And it is doubtful that unaccompanied children will forgo the opportunity to take the shortest route.

I also object to it because I believe that it is contrary to the spirit and the intention which is represented by the Transportation Master Plan. That document correctly identifies the need to promote alternate modes of transportation, and to discourage use of the automobile.

Closing intersections to pedestrians, channelization, failure to implement dedicated lanes during peak hours, increasing user fees for public transit, etc., all of these things take us in the wrong direction. I am forced to question whether or not the Transportation Master Plan is simply window dressing?

For that reason, I will be doing as much as I can to alert the public that this is what is taking place, and to stop this from happening.

Sincerely,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
Municipal Candidate, Ward 1
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
telephone: (519) 649-0500
web Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/

<A NAME=”ClosedToPeds”

Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 12:07:11 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: RE: Commissioners & King Edward
To: “Ridley, Mark”
CC: “Rob Alder” , “Bill Armstrong” , “Joni Baechler” , “Judie Bryant” , “Roger Caranci” , “Ab Chahbar” , “Anne Marie DeCicco” , “Gord Hume” , “Tom Gosnell” , “Susan Eagle” , “Bernie MacDonald” , “Sandy White” , “W. Russ Monteith” , “Harold Usher” , “W. J. Bud Polhill” , JBarber@london.ca, “Fred Tranquilli” , jsher@lfpress.com, “Paul Van Meerbergen” , pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, “Cheryl Miller” , John.Wilsons@corusent.com, “David Winninger” , newstalk1290today@cjbk.com

Mark,

Just to be clear. If an intersection does not meet the minimum pedestrian volume during the study period, it is automatically rejected? Despite any other factors or community concerns which may have been brought to your attention?

Please visit my web site and review the archive for this file. You will see that I have raised a serious concern about the physics of this intersection, lying as it does in a valley. I have myself had several near-misses, the most recent being just this past Thursday.

Your solution is to close the intersection to the pedestrians who rely upon it, including children who cross there every day to/from school? Is this the direction that the city intends to go in, with respect to the rising numbers of pedestrians being hit/killed in our city? By denying pedestrians their mobility rights?

You do understand the difference between the ‘priviledge’ of driving a motor vehicle, and the ‘natural right’ which is enjoyed by pedestrians as their birth right, do you not?

Please tell me, when was your study conducted, and can I get a copy of it to study *before* the zoning change is dealt with by Planning Committee?

Were any notes taken of the discussion between the Transportation Division and the police? If so, can I get those as well?

Sincerely,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
Municipal Candidate, Ward 1
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
telephone: (519) 649-0500
web Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/

Subject: RE: Commissioners & King Edward
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 08:33:22 -0500
From: “Ridley, Mark”
To: “Gregory Fowler”
CC: rcaranci@london.ca, SEWhite@london.ca, JLUCAS@london.ca, CMiller@london.ca, kgrabows@london.ca

The location of Commissioners and King Edward was studied to determine if the warrant was met and an Intersection Pedestrian Signal should be installed. The minimum pedestrian volume required for the warrant is 200 pedestrians in an 8 hour period. The study at this location counted only 88 pedestrians in the 8 hour period so the warrant was not fulfilled.

Our experience in traffic is the installation of unwarranted signals, stop signs or any other type of regulatory device does not resolve a problem it just replaces one problem with another. It is not unusual for Police supervision to be requested at unwarranted installations when drivers do not show the compliance expected at a regulatory device.

After the results of the study were attained the Transportation Division reviewed the situation internally and in discussions with the Police has agreed the best course of action to address safety concerns and remove the conflict between the pedestrians and the 26,000 daily vehicles on Commissioners is to close the crossing and relocate the crossing guard to the full set of signals at Commissioners and Frontenac. This summer Transportation will remove the pedestrian crossing lines and the sidewalk extensions on the east side and install a barrier rail similar to the one that currently exists on the east leg of Commissioners and Adelaide. In addition signs will be posted advising pedestrians of where they can cross Commissioners. This is the safest solution for all pedestrians concerned.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter please contact me by e-mail or phone.

Mark Ridley
Senior Technologist
Transportation Division
(519) 661-2500 ext 4736
mridley@london.ca

From: Gregory Fowler [mailto:fowgre@yahoo.ca]
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2006 11:26 AM
To: Ridley, Mark
Cc: Caranci, Roger; White, Sandy
Subject: Re: Commissioners & King Edward

Mark,

This intersection is scheduled to come before Planning Committee sometime in the near future, and I have indicated to Councillor Caranci that I wish to appear before the committee in order to oppose the proposed bylaw change. That being the case, can you tell me if the TOPS study that you mentioned has been completed yet?

Sincerely,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
Municipal Candidate, Ward 1
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
telephone: (519) 649-0500
web Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 11:25:43 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Re: Commissioners & King Edward
To: MRIDLEY@london.ca
CC: “Roger Caranci” , “Sandy White”

Mark,

This intersection is scheduled to come before Planning Committee sometime in the near future, and I have indicated to Councillor Caranci that I wish to appear before the committee in order to oppose the proposed bylaw change. That being the case, can you tell me if the TOPS study that you mentioned has been completed yet?

Sincerely,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
Municipal Candidate, Ward 1
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
telephone: (519) 649-0500
web Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/

Subject: Commissioners & King Edward’s
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 15:55:01 -0400
From: “Ridley, Mark”
To: fowgre@yahoo.ca
CC: “Grabowski, Karl” , “Lucas, John”

Mr. Fowler

I have received a copy of your July 28 e-mail regarding your traffic control issues and have looked at the information on your web-site. You raise three areas of concern:

1) Pedestrian safety at the intersection of Commissioners & King Edward
2) Signal timing at Commissioners & Pond Mills
3) The walkway between King Edward & Eagle Court

I have researched your concerns and have the following information to pass on to you

1) This intersection has been added to our TOPS program, file number 05-80, to be studied in the fall or spring to see if the location meets the warrant for a pedestrian signal. Once the field study has been completed the data will be analyzed and you will be sent a summary of the results. The last request for a pedestrian crossover at this location was 1985.
[snip]
If you require additional information on these matters or I have misinterpreted one of your concerns please contact me through the e-mail address or the phone number listed below.

Mark Ridley
Senior Technologist
Transportation Division
(519) 661-2500 ext 4736
mridley@london.ca

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 05:41:29 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Re: Your 2006/01/23 Email
To: TOBrien@police.london.ca, ooc@police.london.ca
CC: “Sandy White”

Sgt. O’Brien,

With respect to your email, in which you claim that there is “very little factual information” on my website.

I have to conclude that you must simply not have made much of an effort to examine what’s posted there.

Here’s some factual information for you, for the public record.

Just this past Thursday, while en route to get my grandson Zackery from school, I narrowly missed being struck and probably killed in the Commissioners & King Edward intersection. Having already crossed more than halfway, and hampered as I am by a bad knee, I was only fortunate to escape the twin stream of speeding eastbound vehicles which suddenly crested the hill and bore down on me. Horns blaring, and making no attempt to slow their vehicles, those drivers obviously accorded more importance to saving 30 seconds than they did to my life.

Sincerely,

Mr. Gregory T. Fowler
Municipal Candidate, Ward 1
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
telephone: (519) 649-0500
web Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/

Subject: RE: Traffic Safety – Commissioners Road East
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 14:16:05 -0500
From: “Thomas O’Brien”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler,

I will respond to you questions about the Speedwatch trailer and it’s deployment. The London Police Service has one Speedwatch trailer. It is utilized throughout the entire city dependant upon weather conditions and personnel availability.

I won’t comment on anything noted on your blog because it contains very little factual information.

Thomas J. O’Brien, Sergeant
Traffic Management Unit
London Police Service
ph#(519)661-4799
fax#(519)661-2450

Project SpeedwatchThe Speedwatch radar trailer is deployed by officers from the Auxiliary Police Section in various areas of the City where chronic speeding violations have been reported. By informing the motoring public of both their current speed and the posted speed limit, the Speedwatch sign is both a public education program and a deterrent.

Despite all of the concerns that I have expressed about pedestrian safety along this stretch of Commissioners Road East, there has been no noticeable response from London Police Services. With one exception. When a 12-year-old C. C. Carrothers public school pupil was struck while crossing the Commissioners & Pond Mills intersection in early November, Sgt. Tom O’Brien appeared on A-Channel, standing beside the Speedwatch trailer that had been quickly located at Commissioners & King Edward. Speedwatch was then removed, almost as soon as the tv cameras were turned off. And it hasn’t been back again since then.

Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 13:28:51 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Traffic Safety – Commissioners Road East
To: TOBrien@police.london.ca
CC: OOC@police.london.ca

Sgt. O’Brien,

As noted on my web blog today, there seems to be reason to suspect that London Police Services cares more about public relations than it does about public safety.

Can you tell me how many Speedwatch trailers you have available for deployment? And how long it’s likely to be until we see one located along this stretch of Commissioners Road again?

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ont; N5Z 3H7
Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/
phone: (519) 649-0500

I’ve written before about the intersection at Commissioners Road & King Edward Avenue and the danger faced by pedestrians.

 

2006010306Looking east on Commissioners approaching Frontenac. Due to the fact that this portion of Commissioners is on an upgrade, the next intersection at King Edward Ave. is completely hidden.

 

2006010305The intersection at Commissioners and Frontenac. A vehicle is shown immediately after it increased speed trying to beat the light (it didn’t make it and it ran the red). Now it’s about to crest the hill and increase even more speed because of the downgrade. Will it’s driver see the hidden intersection in time and any pedestrians who may happen to be in it? Too often, the answer is NO. And sometimes, even the presence of a crossing guard in a brightly colored vest and a large red stop sign isn’t enough to snap them out of their self-absorbed hurry to reach their destination.

 

2006010304The intersection at Commissioners and King Edward suddenly comes into view. The zoning designation for the vacant property on the southwest corner of this intersection (275 King Edward Ave.) is about to be reviewed by the Planning Committee of City Hall, with consideration given to doubling the permitted gross floor area for medical/dental offices in a standalone building. Development of this site at this time can only have one result… the intersection will become even more unsafe for pedestrians.

Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 14:01:15 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Site Plan Approval – 275 King Edward Avenue
To: lclaro@london.ca
CC: rcaranci@london.ca, sewhite@london.ca, jsher@lfpress.com

Mr. Luis Claro
Site Plan Approval Officer
Building Division, City of London

Dear Sir,

According to “Living In The City”, the property at 275 King Edward Avenue will be considered for a zoning change in the near future.

Given that I have public safety concerns with respect to the intersection at this location, may I please be advised whether or not a Site Plan has been submitted for approval for this location? If the answer is yes, might I obtain a copy of the plan? and has approval yet been given?

If approval has not been given, please be advised that I have already indicated to Councillor Caranci and Councillor White that I will be opposing any zoning change for this location at this time. Also, I have requested that I be permitted to address the Planning Committee about this issue. That being the case, I trust that any approval would be witheld until after my presentation takes place.

For a better understanding about my concerns, I suggest that you review the “Commissioners Road East” archive on my web blog.

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler (fowgre@yahoo.ca)
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2006 20:54:52 -0500 (EST)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Zoning Change
To: “Sandy White”
CC: “Roger Caranci”

Sandy,

I understand that Planning Committee will be considering a zoning change for 275 King Edward Avenue.

This is the property on the southwest corner of Commissioners Road and King Edward Avenue, the intersection about which I have expressed public safety concerns to London Police Services and about which I have written on my web blog.

Kindly be sure to let me know when this matter will be dealt with at committee. I will want to make a presentation and express my opposition to any change at the present time.


Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler
email: fowgre@yahoo.ca
smail: 962 Eagle Crescent; London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
Blog: http://ca.geocities.com/fowgre/
phone: (519) 649-0500

I did subsequently receive a telephone call from Sgt. O’Brien who described their follow-up and the fact that charges would not be laid in this instance. Still, I believe that it was not a fruitless exersize. With each reported incident, police will become more aware that there is a problem, and that can only better the possibility that they will finally start to do something about the problem.

Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 17:56:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Two-Tiered Legal System (was: Police Enforcement)
To: “Thomas O’Brien”
CC: “Office of the Chief” , garrison@cjbk.com, pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, lenlesser@hotmail.com, “Sandy White”

Sgt. O’Orien,

By all means, speak to the vehicle owner. I do not expect that there will be an admission, but strange things do sometimes happen. In the meantime, I will review Section 212 of the HIghway Traffic Act for the other offences which you mentioned.

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler (fowgre@yahoo.ca)
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Subject: RE: Police Enforcement
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:54:47 -0400
From: “Thomas O’Brien”
To: “Gregory Fowler”

Mr. Fowler,

The proper section to refer to regarding owner liability is actually Section 207 not 212 as I previously stated.


Thomas J. O’Brien, Sergeant
Traffic Management Unit
London Police Service
ph#(519)661-4799
fax#(519)661-2450

Subject: RE: Police Enforcement
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:53:37 -0400
From: “Thomas O’Brien”
To: “Gregory Fowler”
CC: “Office of the Chief”

Mr. Fowler,


The Highway Traffic Act affords only specific offences for which the owner can be charged if the identity of the driver cannot be proven.

The recent change you refer to now allows the school bus offence to be one such offence. If you refer to Section 212 of the Highway Traffic Act it outlines the other offences where an owner can be held responsible, you will see that 144(7) is not one of them.

If you wish, I can have an officer contact the registered owner of the vehicle associated to the licence plate you provided. We can advise him of your report and see what he has to say. It will likely lead to us warning him to drive more carefully.


Thomas J. O’Brien, Sergeant
Traffic Management Unit
London Police Service
ph#(519)661-4799
fax#(519)661-2450

The new law which allows charges to be laid simply upon the say-so of a school bus driver, is a bad law in my opinion. “Guilty until proven innocent” is an important concept. Still, this seemed as good a time as any to broach the subject, and to get a response from London Police Services on the record, before pursuing the issue with the Ministry of the Attorney General and local MPPs.

Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 14:27:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: RE: Police Enforcement
To: “Thomas O’Brien”
CC: “Office of the Chief” , garrison@cjbk.com, “Sandy White” , pmcleod@thelondoner.ca, lenlesser@hotmail.com

Sgt. O’Brien,

Thank you for your quick response, and for your explanation re 140(1).

Please be advised that I did not enter into the intersection until after the traffic signal had turned to green. In addition, I can also tell you without any doubt that the pedestrian signal had also turned to “Walk.” This is something that I am very cognizant of, having raised the issue of the pedestrian signal at this intersection with city officials. In fact, you can review correspondence with respect to the issue on my web site.

With respect to the further information that you have requested, I am unable to assist you. Given the speed with which the event happened, I believe that I did well to capture the license plate number and make note of the driver’s gender. I am quite sure that I cannot identify the individual who was driving. I’m left with the impression that the vehicle may have been a family-van type vehicle (ie. Caravan, Town and Country LX, etc) and solidly colored blue or green, but I cannot say that with any great degree of certainty.

Having said that, I’d like to address your comment that you “will not be pursuing any charges unless the driver of the vehicle makes an inculpatory statement,” and how that position conflicts with what I understand is new legislation with respect to school buses.

I am a respected member of this community. For all of my adult life, I have accepted the responsibility as a citizen of a democratic society to participate fully to the best of my ability. I have held elected office as Chairperson of the London South NDP provincial riding association and as President of the London-Middlesex NDP federal riding association. For many years I managed London’s NDP Community Office. And I was chosed by the Federal New Democratic Party of Canada to represent it in the London-Middlesex Judicial Recount which was conducted by His Worship, Gordon Killean.

To accord me less opportunity than a school bus driver, is to treat me as a second-class citizen. And I will not tolerate that.

Kindly explain to me the new legislation with respect to school bus drivers who are apparently now allowed to simply report a license plate number and which apparently will result in a charge being laid against that vehicle’s owner.

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler (fowgre@yahoo.ca)
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

Sgt. O’Brien hits the nail on the head when he suggests that this often happens because drivers aren’t aware of the presence of pedestrians. But just because there happens to be lots of oncoming traffic, does not justify the failure of drivers to confirm the presence or absence of pedestrians in the intersection BEFORE they begin to make their turn. Too often, drivers commit to that course of action, and only see me at the last moment.

Subject: RE: Police Enforcement
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 12:49:02 -0400
From: “Thomas O’Brien”
To: fowgre@yahoo.ca
CC: “Office of the Chief”

Dear Mr. Fowler,

What you have described in your email is a situation seen all too often. In all likelihood the driver of the vehicle was paying more attention to oncoming traffic than to the pedestrian traffic that would be impacted by his manoeuvre. Your reference to Subsection 140(1) of the Highway Traffic Act does not apply in this case as that Section of the Act deals with Pedestrian Crossovers (for which London no longer has).

Subsection 144(7) of the Act may very well apply. More information would be required such as: were you lawfully in the crosswalk (did you step off when allowed). This charge has more of a probability of conviction when actually witnessed by the police and as a result we will not be pursuing any charges unless the driver of the vehicle makes an inculpatory statement to us when we talk to him.

If you wish we can conduct a followup investigation by attempting to locate this vehicle and driver and questioning him as to the event. This is an offence that request the positive identity of the driver and vehicle. Could you please provide a description of the vehicle (colour, style, make, description as well as a description of the driver and whether you could positively identify the driver if you were to see him again).

Regards,

Thomas J. O’Brien, Sergeant
Traffic Management Unit
London Police Service
ph#(519)661-4799
fax#(519)661-2450

Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 15:57:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Public Safety
To: pmcleod@thelondoner.ca
CC: ooc@police.london.ca, lenlesser@hotmail.com, “Sandy White”

Mr. Editor,

With respect to your Len Lesser’s article (The Londoner; “For $20,000 saved…”)

For at least a decade, I have been more publicly outspoken about police enforcement (and various other things) in this community than any other individual. I have had some success in motivating London Police Services to press for increased funding, but other initiatives have yet to bear fruit.

Visit my Blog to review my concern about the Commissioners Road & King Edward Avenue intersection.

The truth is that there are simply not enough police to do the job properly. And the greatest share of recent funding increases was grabbed up by senior police officers in the form of “retention pay” instead of putting more officers on the street. Shame on them!

I have also voiced concerns about the seeming disregard by city administrators for pedestrians in this city. Pedestrian signals are a joke, and reflect a disgusting bias in favour of automobiles. In a separate 2005/05/17 blog entry, I raised my concern about the signal at the Commissioners Road & Pond Mills Road intersection. I invite you to read it, and the response that I received from the city.

London keeps growing, the Mayor keeps crowing about us becoming “the capital of southwestern Ontario,” but our so-called leaders seem to display absolutely no capacity for foreward thinking. One need only look as far away as Toronto to see the kinds of problems the plague large metropolitan areas. As a lifelong resident of London, I am sickened by some of what I see happening to this community.

There is only one solution to the big-city problems facing our ever-expanding community, and that is political action. Concerned citizens must speak out loudly so that police and politicians will make more than just a token effort toward improving our quality of life.

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler (fowgre@yahoo.ca)
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7

2005/09/07 post to my online blog: “Something that happens far too often, here and the Commissioners/Deveron intersection to the east also. It’s not like I’m invisible, especially during the winter with my bright red coat! My observation is that drivers in this city are becoming increasingly careless and/or disrespectful about the law, and I attribute that to the fact that there is far too little police enforcement. You need only look down the 401 to Toronto to see where we’re headed in this city. Perhaps after pedestrians start to drop like flies, London Police Services will start to take this situation seriously.”

Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 17:20:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: “Gregory Fowler”
Subject: Re: Police Enforcement
To: ooc@police.london.ca
CC: garrison@cjbk.com

Please be advised,

While en route to the local library branch today, I did norrowly miss being struck in the Commissioners Road & Pond Mills intersection at 1:20 pm. An eastbound vehicle with license ABMP 716 and operated by a male driver did make a lefthand turn while I was crossing the said intersection. The male driver swerved to avoid me at the last second and did then continue north along Pond Mills Road.

Please confirm whether or not this incident falls under .S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 140 (1) or within a crosswalk. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (7) and, if so, whether you are prepared to lay a charge.

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler (fowgre@yahoo.ca)
962 Eagle Crescent
London, Ontario; N5Z 3H7
(519) 649-0500

2005/05/17

2005051701 2005051702
2005051703 2005051704

The intersection at Commissioners Road & King Edward Avenue. It sits in a valley, and fast-moving vehicles take only seconds to reach it after cresting the top of the hill in either direction. Without a traffic light or a crossing guard to assist, pedestrians face a difficult and dangerous task when crossing.

2005051705The intersection at Commissioners Road & Pond Mills Road. Eastbound pedestrians on the south side of Commissioners are constrained by a “Don’t Walk” signal while westbound vehicles have an “Advanced Green” signal, for no good reason.

Enforcement, not Posturing

January 23, 2006

Project SpeedwatchThe Speedwatch radar trailer is deployed by officers from the Auxiliary Police Section in various areas of the City where chronic speeding violations have been reported. By informing the motoring public of both their current speed and the posted speed limit, the Speedwatch sign is both a public education program and a deterrent.

Despite all of the concerns that I have expressed about pedestrian safety along this stretch of Commissioners Road East, there has been no noticeable response from London Police Services. With one exception. When a 12-year-old C. C. Carrothers public school pupil was struck while crossing the Commissioners & Pond Mills intersection in early November, Sgt. Tom O’Brien appeared on A-Channel, standing beside the Speedwatch trailer that had been quickly located at Commissioners & King Edward. Speedwatch was then removed, almost as soon as the tv cameras were turned off. And it hasn’t been back again since then.

But according to Sgt. Tom O’Brien, “The London Police Service has one Speedwatch trailer. It is utilized throughout the entire city dependant upon weather conditions and personnel availability.”

So, am I being unfair to police? I remain steadfast in my belief that there is a serious lack of enforcement in London and that pedestrians are consequently being put at unnecessary risk. But who’s to blame? Police, for not buying/using more of these trailers? Or City Hall, for underfunding police so much that they can’t afford the equipment and/or personnel?