Tight to the street, with consequences

dec 21, 2013 011


While the Assaly-built building in this photo is about 25 years old, it is built right up to the street lot line, much like the City planner’s insist on today. There are predictable consequences to this design.

The loading dock opens up onto the sidewalk. Sometimes truck stop in the curb lane, and unload from the back, carrying goods across the walkway. But mostly they open the side door of the van and drop a ramp down, forcing pedestrians to duck under the ramp, or sorta climb over it, or else walk out onto the street, not that one can count on motorists to always slow down and share the space.

That maneuver became slightly more complicated with the installation of the Laurier bike lane.

The pictured moving van was parked at right angles over the sidewalk. There isn’t room to go behind it, or duck under it. However, by walking out onto the bike track, brave pedestrians can walk “under” the above-the-cab portion of the cargo van. Those supporting crank-down legs look a little wobbly, though.

Would cyclists fit through that gap without clipping their heads?

To the left of the van is a yellow garbage dumpster. Behind it is the garbage room door. All the bins are dragged out over the sidewalk and hoisted high up overhead and inverted to be dumped into the top of garbage trucks. These operations often occur around 8am. Prime walkby time.  It is intimidating. To say nothing of the smell in the summertime.

No doubt some will find these circumstances part of the excitement of living in an urban area. Don’t like it? Move to the mono-use suburbs.

All to say, I am losing confidence that our planning dept is considering moving vans, garbage removal, and other mundane factors of every-day urban life, when requiring tall buildings to be up tight to the sidewalk. New buildings don’t even have the tiniest drop off driveway or lay-by. Will we regret in 10 years time, when all these tall condos now being approved are built, that we didn’t take into account FedEx deliveries, taxis, boyfriends, pizza delivery, garbage trucks, moving vans?

A number of recent development approvals look to me like trouble in training.


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