Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Peds on Weds: Waiting for the bus

On Elgin street, at 3pm in winter: at least seven people are waiting for one of three northbound bus routes that serve the stop at Elgin and Cooper. They're crowded on a busy sidewalk that is barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. If you've ever tried to walk into the front doors of the Mayflower a few minutes after the last bus arrived, you probably have had to move aside some people waiting for the bus to do so.

The City's Downtown Moves study has recommendations for measuring pedestrian levels of service. This is a first for pedestrians in Ottawa, but is used rigorously by the City's traffic department for ensuring motor traffic moves smoothly to the detriment of all other road users.

The chart shown for pedestrians, as well as others in the documents (which I don't think are online) talk about pedestrian levels of service in terms of flow of pedestrians, as well as how many of them bunch up at corners waiting to cross in one direction while others are trying to get through in the other direction. I didn't see anything about pedestrians bunched together waiting for the bus.

Not that it's a surprise, but the pedestrian levels of service are obviously designed so conservatively that no sidewalk, except maybe in the middle of the downtown core, will every be considered to have a "failed" level of service and therefore require widening. Not to mention that this is a planning document intended for discussion, not an engineering standard to which the traffic engineers are so faithfully wedded.

[Look for more one-photo posts under the label Singles]

1 comment:

  1. Is Elgin on the list of streets to "rebuilt" in the near future?