Do you recall when downtown construction sites built wooden structures along the walkways to protect pedestrians from falling objects, dust or dirt? These used to be the full width of the walk; had a waterproof roof; and ceiling lighting. Often they had wooden floors, too, for a level walking surface.
I see fewer and fewer of these each year. More often, the walk is simply closed for months at a time. The Albert – Elgin – Slater construction site is an example. It’s a if pedestrian movements in the downtown are discretionary, and can be foregone when convenient.
Here is a pedestrian shed along Richmond Road, at the Our Lady of the Condos site. It isn’t even constructed to fit the walk, rather peds have to squeeze in to fit between standard scaffolding shapes. There isn’t room for two peds to pass, let alone someone with a SUV-sized stroller so popular with trendy westsiders. Does a motorized wheelchair even fit in here? Where is crosses a curb, a few shovels-ful of uncompacted asphalt is tossed onto the surface. Yup, 100% accessible.
This not the case in other cities. Here, for example, is a temporary pedestrian safety shed in another city:
Notice the generous width, the care to match the new wooden floor with the curb and existing brick walk. Safety tape. Crash barrier protection from cars. It’s actually quite a pleasant walk. It has lit-up artwork for Watson-sake !
And our city wonders why the downtown is so dead and unattractive, or people get annoyed at construction. Could it be the contempt it shows for pedestrians every day?
Below is the new design for sidewalk sheds in NYC. I haven’t seen one actually on the streets yet, but I have read online that they have been installed. These ones actually go rather well with our gothic federal architecture: