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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Corporate and Municipal distain for pedestrians

Last night I was on my way home from a local Green Party meeting and dropped in to the Real Canadian superstore at 15900 Bayview Ave in Aurora where I noticed a young mother pushing a baby carriage up the driveway, in traffic towards Bayview ave. (I really gotta get a small camera I can carry around all the time for this stuff.)

My first reaction was WTF are you doing? until I noticed that there was no sidewalk adjacent to the road access allowing people to exit the plaza safely on foot.

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Closer to the store I did see steep stairs out of the parking area cut into a hill, which I suppose works fine if you are young and healthy enough and if you are NOT using a bundle buggy, a stroller, walker, or scooter. Unfortunately this young lady and her child don’t meet that criteria and are apparently considered expendable by Town planners, Loblaws and who ever owns the real-estate, simply because she can’t afford or chooses not to use a car.

Thinking about other malls I realized that this is not the exception and that people on foot are often forced into traffic to get into and out malls. I can cope with being forced to walk through the parking area as people are generally more restrained there, but since people really gun it when they get to that exit road it's not a safe place for pedestrians. The vehicles entering the plazas are no better and can be seen doing the speed limit as they turn off the main road and into potential foot traffic, quite dangerous and unnecessary.

I know it’s hard to build for every circumstance but a sidewalk around the periphery of parking lots and out to the town sidewalk is not rocket science folks. There is no absolutely no reason a mother and infant should be forced to walk in this kind of traffic. In this case not only is the entrance over 100 ft long but it's on a steep incline making her exit a slow plod up hill. This incline also reduces the visibility of the exit from the road.

Towns keep on claiming they have green agendas but when relatively new developments like this still scream "pedestrians don’t matter" the claims are proven hollow.Recommend this Post


Catelli said...

This is my biggest urban development pet peeve. Almost without exception, malls and big-box shopping centres are not pedestrian or cyclist friendly.

In Waterloo region, they are really pushing bike lanes and walking paths, etc. etc. which is great, except you have nowhere to go. All the damn destinations are hazardous to your health without a vehicle.

We really have to start getting our heads out of our asses on this. Heck, I'm a part car-nut but I also like getting out and walking once in a while. I don't like having to drive from one parking lot to another just because its safer for myself and my family. That's nuts.

Saskboy said...

It is nuts. Even in Yorkton the Walmart is like this. It's a city with fewer than 20K people.

nitroglycol said...

The complicity of the citizens doesn't help. Here's an example; the city actually wants to put in a sidewalk, and the residents don't want it.

GAB said...

I can sort of see their point when you look at how small the front yards are,plus traffic on a 12 person culdesac makes the need very small. Not only do we need to make neighbourhoods walkable but we must also justify the amount of resources we use, in this case perhaps the usage and safety concerns would not justify the consumption of energy consumed to build them. I've also seen how hard it is to clean cul de sacs and keep the sidewalks clean, these people will have drifts up to their front windows if they are required to keep the sidewalks clean all winter.

That that said the cul de sac itself is one of the design features thats come along with all these crappy unwalkable, nested streets common in almost every development since the 60s. Since Roman times simple grids have been the best way to use space and ensure traffic flow, with nested streets walking and driving trips can become 2x as long as they need to be. It's tough fixing decades of stupidity

AMIT said...

Sometimes due to corruption project is passed without thinking other important things.

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