Bronson near Somerset. Note the red house down the right sidewalk that had all of its front yard removed for road widening, and how the sidewalk narrows to squeeze by.
Perseverance does pay off in sand-box politics and planning. After relentlessly mocking the City for its proposals to widen Bronson, and to make the sidewalks narrower, and for its myopic focus on commuter-traffic-and-damn-all-the-rest, word percolates out of City Hall today that the scheduled Bronson stakeholder meeting for the fall — which promised to be a hot one — has been postponed to allow the engineers time to examine a road diet for Bronson.
Excuse me for a moment while I dance amongst the fake plastic trees.
There, I’m back.
Now this isn’t the City saying Bronson will be subject to a diet. Rather, it’s the engineers looking at the Road Diet Literature. They might decide it’s too much work. Or describe the patient in such a way that the Diet seems unwise (you know, lump the 14,000 vehicle/day section north of Somerset in with the 28,000 vehicle/day congestion pit right at the Queensway underpass). But I prefer to think that they know their numbers will be read, even if by excitable amateurs. So the next step will be to work with the City to learn what road configuration will handle the traffic AND make a better neighborhood.
For that work to be credible, I trust the City will have both traffic engineers/transportation planners and urban planners working together on the team, since we are supposed to be looking at repairing the urban fabric so brutally rent asunder by the unwise over-expansion of roads in the 50’s and 60’s.
IF Bronson goes on a diet, then every other pre-50’s urban neighborhood stuck with over-widened urban streets (eg, Richmond Road, Merivale north of the Farm, Main Street, Dalhousie Street) that function so poorly will have hope too. Note that roads designed in the 80’s, where neighborhoods grew up in the 70’s and later, typically lack houses facing those arterials (eg, Greenbank, Woodroffe). Being designed as four lane arterials with commercial boxes hundreds of meters back behind parking lots, won’t be affected. It’s the disfunctional 50’s-60’s roads, which were widened from two lane mainstreets to four lane pretend arterials, that are the problem, and the opportunity. They don’t function well for motorists, residents, businesses … we can and must do better.
If you want to read previous posts on Bronson, search the word cloud at the right, or use the search button and enter Bronson. Here are three key articles for reading about Road Diets:
Ian Lockwood: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec019/Ec019_i5.pdf Ian actually worked for the City (RMOC) years ago, and now plans traffic in Florida. His article is a good review of how traffic calming has progressed from simple bumps and bulb outs into more sophisticated road configurations that improve the road for motorists whilst building up neighborhood vitality.
And there are the two CBC radio interviews that generated lots of interest:
http://www.ericdarwin.ca/downloads/CBC_Bronson_Road_Diet.mp3 (with Dan Burden)