Are pedestrians really terrorists in cunning disguise, wandering around our city planning to attack transit and transportation facilities?
The City seems to think so, as it is fortifying sidewalks and overpasses near the transitway / OTrain corridor to prevent pedestrians from … what? peeing onto the OTrain? dropping ice onto the train? Certainly it is physically possible to drop debris, or even people, over the bridge, but I do wonder if there is such an epidemic of suicides and attacks on trains and buses?
Are we engaged in evidence-based spending or exaggerated fear-motivated spending?
Consider how the City currently “hardens” pedestrian facilities:
The curved wire fence shown above is typical for a number of overpasses. It isn’t exactly pleasant or an enhancement to the walking environment. It may even suggest those crime-ridden decayed urban core porn shots are media love to flash about. You feel safe walking about your neighbourhood? — Oh Oh, better start worrying.
There are worse designs: this one treats pedestrians rather like zoo animals… it is claustrophobic.
Do these wire contraptions actually have any benefit for pedestrians? Do they enhance subjective safety for the walker or cyclist? I think they do the opposite, loudly branding this location as dangerous. Approaching this bridge, my apprehension grows.
It doesn’t exactly save pedestrians from danger either, since the “roof” portion of the cage is all sagged down, presumably from agile thrill-seekers crossing the OTrain cut by climbing over the structure.
Has anyone seen a study identifying all the overpasses in Ottawa, and prioritizing them as to risk? Why don’t we have similar structures on the Bank Street or Bronson bridges to prevent terrorism-inclined pedestrians from bombing the glass-topped tour boats on the canal? Are tourists expendable? Is the “problem” worse in some areas of the city than others, so that pedestrians in more affluent areas are less inclined to attack transit infrastructure? And why transit … isn’t it just as bad to drop stuff onto a bike path or road?
I’m not just asking out of the blue, of course. The City is proposing some new cage structures. More on that in the next post.