Pedestrian infrastructure, suburban style

 Boldly going where no pedestrian has gone before

I’ve long thought that there must be some provincial regulation requiring municipalities to install pedestrian signals whenever they reconstruct a signalized intersection. I’m all for the idea, but implementations sometimes trend toward the bizarre.

Take, for example, the intersection of Highway 7 and Westney Road in rural Pickering. It’s near the hamlet of Greenwood, with Valley View Public School just down the street and the Pickering Museum a country block away, but I highly doubt that more than a couple of pedestrians grace the intersection on the busiest of days. There are no sidewalks anywhere around here. Yet pedestrian signals and their activation buttons stand guard over each corner of the intersection, just waiting to be pressed by the hapless soul who finds himself lost here. So far so good. But when you look closer, you realize that with no sidewalks and corrugated beam barriers sheltering the buttons at three corners, the only way to activate them is to stand on the road. On the fourth corner, pedestrians have to climb a small weedy hill to press the button:

An inconvenient button

But even better than the activation buttons are the curb cuts, dutifully guiding people in wheelchairs and with baby strollers into the guardrails and onto non-existent sidewalks:

Curb cut to nowhere

Curb cut to nowhere

The whole thing smacks of some bureaucrat following the letter, but not the spirit, of the law.

3 Replies to “Pedestrian infrastructure, suburban style”

  1. I’m sure they’ll add sidewalks at some point in the future, at which point they’ll have to rip out these half-baked curbs, signals, and buttons to install them properly.

    Your sidewalk signal is classic. Signals that guard residential driveways have really proliferated over the last few years.

  2. Wow. Even if the civil engineers are forced to follow the laws to_the_letter when installing these intersections, I think it may be just worth it to get a few laughs! I’ve come across quite a few of these just outside city limits, where there are lots of signal lamps, but no businesses/homes for miles around!

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