Too often I cringe in dismay at the 99% motorist-focus of our planning and engineering staff. Do [m]any of the staff and consultants working on the LRT stations actually use transit? I have been known to cause moments of embarrassment by asking at an OTrain planning meeting if any staff present have actually ridden the train. [answer: rarely]. It’s quite easy to tell the station planners don’t walk to stations.
Or take transit to work anywhere else, for that matter.
Here’s a small example of how even when building and designing a state-of-the-art rapid transit system (ie, the Confederation Line) the City still manages to elevate motorist’s comfort and convenience over that of pedestrians.
The City bought a lot on Albert at Lyon where one of the Queen station entrances is to be. (It was originally to be one block further south, which would have greatly extended its utility, and permitted more buildings to connect into the underground passage, but to save a dollar today …)
So for the year or two until the City has to dig a hole at this site, and build the entrance shelter, they are continuing to use the site as a parking lot. Here is what it looked like before the City bought it:
notice how the motorist enters the lot via a curb cut or depression by the little shack. Once the city bought it, even though it is to be used for only a relatively short period of time, they thought fit to replace the sidewalk slope and dip with a bigger one:
They made the bump at the curb smaller, the slope gentler. Ohh, such tender consideration for motorists !
A little bit further west, as the edge of the lot closest to the [now departed] Scone Witch and CS CO-OP, there is an unused sidewalk dip. An expression of memory, apparently immortal, cast in concrete, of a former driveway. The private parking lot didn’t use it. The City’s temporary lot didn’t need it. But it was not fixed.
Fixed. You know, made flat. Like un-sloped. Un-angled. Safe to walk on in winter. Less chance of pedestrians slipping and breaking something. More comfortable for pedestrians.
Let’s look closer at that unnecessary hazard for pedestrians:
Naah, the City had to save a few bucks by not replacing those sidewalk squares while they rushed to make the motorist’s entrance more convenient but not more functional.
This, in a quick slip and slide, catches the City’s problem. Even when its TMP claims pedestrians get first priority … even when building a transit network … even when claiming to promote car-free commuting … even while building an actual LRT station … it continues to put motorists first.
To its credit, the City did do something right at this site. They parked a bunch of attractive planters around the perimeter. They put in a bike rack.
Tomorrow: part 2, the temporary LeBreton transit station