Friday, November 11, 2011

Winnipeg sidewalks. Should it be this confusing?

You might be wondering, "How confusing could it be? Are you an idiot?"

No. At least I don't think so. A rebel maybe.

If a construction crew is working.... say on the corner of Balmoral/Colony and Ellice, and if some citizen continues to walk through their work site, over their concrete forms, and is generally non-compliant with respect to their, "Sidewalk closed, use other side" sign, perhaps I could suggest the following.

Put a sign at the LAST intersection warning pedestrians that the NEXT intersection is closed, thus allowing them to cross the street and avoid the construction. Not in Winnipeg. Here we simply close the sidewalk when you get there, meaning that to cross safely, the construction crew is telling people to either cross the street right there, or, (assuming you are walking east) double back a block to Spence to cross at the light, or walk to the cross walk south on Balmoral to Portage, cross there and head north again to get to Ellice.

Doubling back is only about 250 meters round trip. Two minutes at a decent pace. Not too bad really. Should this be an issue? Should people really get upset at such a minor thing?

The short answer is yes, and I'll tell you why.

The idea that a sign can be erected RIGHT at the construction area is disrespectful. It says, "We decided that you're unimportant, and we really don't care if it's an inconvenience to you. Do whatever you have to do, but don't come here because we're in charge, and we say you can't walk here."

This isn't an isolated incident. Banning Street between Ellice and St. Matthew's the sidewalk is closed on one side, and dug up in numerous areas on the other. Sure, street work has to happen, and sometimes it's going to be a problem, but last time I checked there are three schools on Banning, ( Greenway, General Wolfe, and Daniel McIntyre). Do you suppose kids walk this road?

William Ave at HSC is another shit show. The North sidewalk is closed at Sherbrook heading west and the South sidewalk is closed at Tecumseh headed east, and again the signage there is RIGHT at the construction site. No place to cross, no temporary cross walk signs... no planning at all.

Honestly. Does anyone actually get PAID to plan these things? I could attend the site with a couple of 14 year olds and ask their advice and the solutions would be so obvious to them that Mayor Sam would have to blush, unable to make excuses for his lackies.

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Unrelated, yet sort of related. Whose ideas are these stupid "bump outs" on St. Matthew's ? I've seen the Bike Route signs, and I've always thought this would be a much better street to funnel bicycle traffic onto than Portage in a diamond lane, but how are these hour glass designs anything other than a winter disaster waiting to happen?

I don't see any metal post holders cast into the new concrete to erect signs warning vehicles in the curb lane that they will suddenly be forced to merge left, or warn snow clearing equipment that there is a curb where it doesn't belong, but aside from the obvious safety issues, what is the point supposed to be? I'm quite sure someone at the bike lobby, or our illustrious traffic planners have some incomprehensible reason for the expenditure.

I'm never opposed to changes, but could they please make at least SOME sense? St. Matthew's is now a mess of areas where you can and can't park, but more than that a maze of , "get out of the curb lane to avoid hitting that peninsula". Probably the stupidest set up in the city is at St. Matthew's and Arlington east bound, where all left hand traffic must turn north on Arlington, and all curb lane traffic must go straight or turn south on Arlington. Doesn't sound too stupid until you realize that parking is allowed in the curb lane, meaning that if there are more than 3 cars in the center turn left lane, you have to wait for them to complete their turn, then merge around the parked car(s), then merge right again to go straight. Brilliant!
Maybe the reason this situation is allowed to exist is that google maps street view shows the building at that location is the "Winnipeg Police news". Hmmmm

Winnipeg suffers from poor traffic planning, but it also suffers from something far worse. Stupidity... and for that, there is little help.

1 comment:

  1. I live around St. Matthews and Arlington and those bump outs, man ....

    It's not really a througfare street. Most people are turning at one of the residential streets and cars used to just change lanes and go around them but not anymore. Everyone has to sit in line behind the car waiting to run onto Banning or whatever. Not very 'calming' at all.

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