Contempt for Pedestrians at Transit Station and some Unworthy thoughts as to how it came to be that way

The temporary LeBreton transit station requires many transferring people and station walk-ins to cross one or more intersections. Some of the crossings, or repeated crossings, are because the city was too cheap to provide sidewalks  even paved shoulders on both sides of the road.  This called transferring the risk of collision or injury away from people who drive onto people who walk. It’s pretty much standard for Ottawa.


It is necessary to beg for a WALK light at each crossing, by pushing a button and waiting for the next light signal sequence to commence.

So, look at the picture above.

Where is the Beg Button?

Go ahead, double click. Enlarge the picture. Squint. Find your magnifying glass. Shouldn’t there be TWO Beg Buttons here, one for each crossing direction?


I even tried connecting the two wires together, to spark a crossing signal, but alas, that didn’t work. Touching wires always makes me nervous anyway. Waiting for a bus to come along the transitway to activate the traffic signal isn’t any help either. Because if it is your bus that comes, you won’t have time to cross the street and run the half block to the bus platform.

And buses don’t activate the WALK signal anyway. That’s because the intersection is so finely timed it lets 3, and only 3 buses, through at a time, then turns red. And that time for the buses is too short for the average pedestrian, let alone the overworked fatigued end-of-day transit victim  user, to cross the street before the light turns red. Such fine timing is wonderful for comedians and for traffic engineers who wouldn’t want to delay commuting motorists for even a second.

Speaking of second, this intersection, like most others in the city, treats people who use transit and people who walk as inferior beings to be kept back, lest they bite, while important people in their cars go by with minimal interruption.


What if it snows? This photo from last year shows that the piled up snowbanks, scooped from the motorists’ way right down to black asphalt, made an impossible-to-access-the-push-button situation. I’d use this year’s pictures but there was too much snow on unplowed walks to go out and get them.

Beg, pedestrian, beg !  If you can.

Situation normal.

Speaking of comedians, I wonder if the RTG crews are rushing out right now to fix that button. Because as of Sunday, the transitway and the LeBreton Station moves up to Albert Street. If they’re slow to fix the button, it won’t be necessary at all. Or they can fix it at their convenience once all the peds are gone away. IMG_7311

Oh, oh. Nasty thought. Totally unworthy …

Totally totally unworthy … but how did that Beg Button disappear? It’s not like it wore out, disolved in the salt, or could have been knocked off by a sidewalk plowette.

RTG has been busy installing new stuff for the shifting of the transitway onto Albert Street. Surely their crews didn’t cannibalize this Beg Button(s) to install  somewhere else??? Nahh. They wouldn’t leave people without any means to cross the street at a busy transit station for two or more weeks … nahhh.

Unworthy thought.


7 thoughts on “Contempt for Pedestrians at Transit Station and some Unworthy thoughts as to how it came to be that way

  1. These are al fair comments.

    i noticed a Beg Button at the new crosswalk on Carling for the pathway along the transitway. there are actually two buttons–one to cross Carling, and for some reason, one to cross the multi-use path, with painted lines and everything on the pathway. Since when do we need a button to cross a mutli-use path?

    1. Since when do we need a button to cross a mutli-use path? well, since the dundridges’s decided these are full fledged intersections, just with bikes and peds instead of cars … there are other expensive (and ignored) similar ped walk light installations elsewhere too, such as T shaped intersections where peds “need” a light to walk across the top of the T — I think one is st andrew at king edward, and one is on richmond road in front of grange? where there is a used car lot on the south side facing the intersection opposite coming from the north, but there is no road to cross, just a stupid light. Before the Preston extension was built, peds “needed” a blinking crossing light on the MUP on the north side of Albert to cross the top of that T intersection, even tho there was no active road, it existed on paper, in theory, so we “had to have” crossing lights. And we wonder why taxes are so ridiculously high. We have spending problems, not income problems.

  2. Excellent post, as are all your writings, Eric. Good to have you as a watchdog. I tweet about your posts often.

    Please do not adopt “beg button” as common parlance. It makes pedestrians into beggars. We need to legitimize ourselves, not buy into language that denigrates us.

    How we use language shapes our world view…remember “weapons of mass destruction” that never existed? Remember NewSpeak from 1984 by George Orwell?

  3. Just wanted to point out that traffic signals (including pedestrian push buttons) are the responsibility of the City of Ottawa and not RTG.

    1. … except, where the detours and roadworks are being implemented and maintained as part of LRT construction, they are by RTG. RTG is responsible, for example, for the fences along albert, for the temporary signals along scott and albert, for the temporary islands, for the MUPs near Bayview Station (build, light, operate, and eventually remove) and for restoring to the road sidewalks and bike tracks to the final configuration in 2018. I therefore think that the beg buttons belong to RTG not the city. Regardless, the PR staff at RTG or the City (not sure who they work for) do read this blog and therefore they now know we know what we know…

      1. Everything you say above is accurate except for the temporary signals. RTG is not responsible for the design, installation, maintenance, operation, or removal of all traffic signal plant temporary or permanent for the Confederation Line. RTG will install temporary wood poles in the case of temporary signal plant or the concrete foundations for aluminum poles, traffic hand holes and man holes and all underground conduits. City crews do the rest.

Comments are closed.