Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peds on Weds: Zebra Stripes

Tonight is the next meeting of the new pedestrian advocacy group, Walk Ottawa, 7pm at City Hall (Honeywell Room). Rob Wilkinson, coordinator of the Safer Roads Ottawa program, will be there to talk about how his program will benefit pedestrians.

The May meeting was entirely consumed by a question-and-answer session about pedestrian crossing signals with two members of the City of Ottawa's traffic department. The level of detail of the questions went even beyond the epic blog post on how pedestrian push buttons operate I posted the day of the meeting: more than one person had stood at an intersection for many signal cycles and timed the duration of the signals in each direction.

Since that meeting, many of the road markings were repainted on Centretown's roads as part of the City's annual road maintenance. Among the lines repainted were the fat white lines demarcatingis pedestrian crossing at Gladstone and Elgin. The pattern is affectionately referred to as a "zebra crossing", for obvious reasons:

The theory behind zebra crossings is that they draw more attention to the crosswalk, highlighting for drivers that they are about to cross over a pedestrian space. This is important, because the crosswalk is where pedestrians and vehicles mingle most often, and it is also one of the least effective ways of protecting pedestrians.

Unlike the traffic engineers who came to the last meeting, Rob knows what he's getting himself into (he was also at last month's meeting). He's not an engineer; rather his background is in public health. That should bring a different perspective to road safety.

Come on out tonight and hear what he has to say!

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

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