This photo shows a utility truck doing some service work along Albert Street.
Note the concern for safety.
Bright flashing lights.
Safety Cones !
And note how well he pulled off the travel lane, snuggling his vehicle right up against the retaining wall on the outside of the walk.
This was so very thoughtful, not inconveniencing motorists at all.
But what about pedestrians? (and timid cyclists who use the walk here since crossing Albert is difficult/impossible, and the motor traffic lanes scarily fast with badly chewed up curb lanes full of bike-eating holes).
Are pedestrians supposed to walk around the vehicle by stepping into the vehicle lane? with their backs to the over-taking traffic? And pray and hope that motorists will slow down and not run them over?
Is it not ironic that the motorist, safely encased in two tons of steel and crash-proofing, has extensive risk abatement measures whilst walkers, unprotected, are steered to simply walk in the 50kmh lane?
So much of what we see in Ottawa today is risk abatement for motorists that is accomplished by transferring the risks to less-protected, more vulnerable users of public spaces, ie pedestrians and cyclists.
Look at almost any intersection. The City locates the signal posts back from the curb line, for the safety of motorists. But then directs pedestrians to stand in the same spot where they deem it too dangerous to place a wooden or steel post. Along roads, recovery and “run off” safety zones are co-located with bike lanes and sidewalks, as if those spaces are never occupied.
It is unacceptable that motorist safety be enhanced by putting other members of the public at greater risk.
In the case of the service truck in the picture above, moments after this picture was taken a passing pedestrian relocated the cones to create a 5′ walkway along the side of the truck. Presumably motorists had to actually slow down and share the 1 1/2 lanes left. Novel concept.