Pedestrians as terrorists, or maybe raccoons, the Hickory edition


The City continues to be vitally concerned with our safety. It is anxious to protect us from pedestrian terrorists. Of particular concern are pedestrians terrorists who might throw objects onto the OTrain (or presumably the LRT too). I have been cited the example of an egg being thrown at the OTrain out near Heron Road.

So, a short while back we saw the incredibly gauche proposed anti-terrorism safety fences proposed for Somerset viaduct. There were several parts to that story, here’s the first: ¬†

A bit further south on the OTrain line is the proposed Hickory Street ped bridge over the OTrain cut. Here is an earlier consultation piece with a proposed bridge.

hickory bridge elevation

Note there is a concrete base, a semi-transparent side (presumably glass) with a chain link fence above.

This design was rejected as too ugly. Some parties in the neighbourhood wanted a grander bridge, with better design. Note the condo developers in the area are paying for some most all some of the bridge costs, and the local BIA has its own views on improving the landscape.

So version 2 appeared, like this:

hickory bridge rendering


Now the bridge has a strong arch shape, with strong vertical elements, all made of concrete. There is still a glass side wall, with some sort of grill work above that.

Alas, the pedestrians in Watsonville-on-the-Rideau must be getting randy, because the “hardening” of the structure has been escalated to this version in the contract tenders:

Hickory bridge oct 2013


The arch of the security screen doesn’t match the arch of the bridge structure, which has gotten decidedly thinner and less expressive. The bars have gotten much closer together, presumably to prevent the proverbial egg from being dropped on the train, or a patio-slab slipped sideways between the bars.

I think it now looks rather like a raccoon trap, the promise of a quick journey to the other side luring pedestrians and cyclists in one end perhaps never to come out the other.

I recently wandered through the ped bridge out at Greenboro connecting the OTrain platform to the #97 buses below. Hmm, designed like a bright red truss bridge. Glass sides. Roof to keep out the rain and snow.

Why not build one of those at Hickory, it would keep pedestrians dry, wouldn’t require snow plowing, and the roof would enhance the security of the OTrain so badly threatened by pedestrian terrorists lurking along the OTrain pathway.

Right now, I’d rather have the City put a hold on the Hickory bridge for a year, to come up with better design, and to come up with a standard side-railing design that could be applied to all infrastructure that needs hardening against users. Rather than ad hoc-ing our way, lets design something that blends in with the new LRT stations rather than bolting on big steel meshes, chain link, or iron bars after-the-fact. Our LRT and OTrain are supposed to be attractive to users, not look like some transplant from Damascus.

3 thoughts on “Pedestrians as terrorists, or maybe raccoons, the Hickory edition

  1. Somehow all those boats survive going under the many Canal bridges without eggs being dropped on them

  2. Why do the trains get special treatment? People throw things at buses too.
    Either we put fences on every overpass over a bus route, or we need to re-think our approach to protecting the trains.
    Lets save a bunch of tax dollars and cover the train wind-shields with some chain link fence to protect the driver’s from thrown bottles.

  3. I called to complain about this to DH’s office this morning, and one of the things I was told was that these fences are really to prevent suicides. I guess the journalistic policy of never reporting jumpers has been extended to the level of government who can now apparently lie through their teeth about the true motives behind anti-suicide barriers. I made the point that I made in my previous post, that for this to make sense, all overpasses would need a protective fence, not just over the tracks, but by every overpass that goes over a bus route, and how expensive that would be. We shall see if that helps kill the proposal.

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