Booth Street … what did our neighbourhood do to deserve such an abused street?
Legally a local collector, it is of course abused by thousands of motorists daily who use it as a shortcut between the Queensway and Chaudiere Bridge. Every year on Nov 11th we notice it is deserted, which establishes that it is used by civil servants (who don’t work that day) and not by private sector, teachers, or university profs (who do work that day). But who the motorists is, is of less import than the fact that the street shouldn’t be carrying the volume of traffic it does. And the City is unwilling to do much about it.
Local community associations prefer the notion of (partially) disconnecting the street from Albert when the new Albert/Booth intersection is built in 2013. But alas, the City is showing that intersection as having 7 or more lanes … the better to stack up the traffic. They might make it look like Baseline/Woodroffe, but it will never function as well. And they still want to direct a lot of through traffic into the Dalhousie residential neighborhood.
The main excuse they come up with? Traffic is like water. Dam it up at one location, and it will flow over onto adjacent streets. Yeah yeah. Pardon my scepticism, what of the motorists that don’t make as many trips? Or combine trips? Or car share? Or switch to transit? Or, in the longer term, make alternative housing location decisions? Or decide to take or not take a particular job offer because of its travel consequences? (people do consider travel time and cost, don’t they??). There is indeed a fair bit of traffic literature that shows removing a road link decreases the total traffic volume.
Block it, and they won’t come.
So this brings me back to Booth Street. It can’t be closed to rush hour motorists, claims the City. But it is closed right now, and will be for another month. So where are the plans to put out traffic counters on Preston, Bronson, Rochester, Albert … to measure the traffic flow during the closure and again two weeks after the street reopens? Surely this is a marvelous real-world experiment opportunity to measure the short term consequences of removing Booth from the network. Will the City let it slip from their fingers? Do they not want to know?
For those curious about the reason for the current closure, it is because new sewers etc are being installed at the Somerset/Booth intersection. The City took advantage of the closure to also dig up the Booth/Albert intersection. And, at the same time, the construction of the “world’s ugliest slum wall” ™ is being facilitated by the lane closure on Albert.
Hull-bound motorists that bypass Booth by using Rochester then get stuck at the Primrose/Booth intersection where they can drive into the intersection but find there is no way out except U-turning in the intersection. Hilarius.
the world’s ugliest slum wall ™