Sidewalk Engineering

I have some tolerance for dilapidated infrastructure in the city. Not everything can be perfect. And I rationalize away some of the puddles at crosswalks as being products of 60 year old roads, old neighborhoods, etc.

This makes it doubly disappointing to discover that sometimes newly rebuilt roads and sidewalks are no better. The photo aboveĀ is at the corner near Billy’s Appliances on Richmond Road, beside Our Lady of the Condos. Yes, it is the final pavement, the catch basins were not unusually blocked (anymore than they are designed to be) … its just that the sidewalk at the corner is the lowest spot around rather than a higher spot.

But its not as bad as this picture:

This is the brand new asphalt sidewalk and bike path leaving the Baseline Transit station. Looks deep to me. I expect to see ducks or geese there next time. The western city hall outpost of Centrepointe is in the background, the city’s engineering depts are located in the Constellation Drive building slightly off screen to the right — you know, the one with a hundred acres of snow parking lot, free, for employees, even though they are located right at a transit station.

I think we will continue to have drainage problems at intersections as long as we continue to design our rights of ways for cars and not pedestrians. For pedestrian benefit, drainage should be away from the curb to catch basins in the centre line of the street. This would have the additional benefit of making the street undulate from basin to basin, which would reduce speeding. Got that? It’s that simple: drain away from sidewalks, not to them. Encourage pedestrians to walk on the dry parts, not the wettest part of the road.