The next Walk Ottawa meeting actually won't be tonight, but next Monday, September 17, 2012, 7pm at Ottawa City Hall (Richmond Room). Nevertheless, it's a Wednesday, which means it's time for the weekly Peds on Weds post.
This one actually caught me by accident. At first, I thought it would be a quick post showing this crosswalk puddle along Gladstone Avenue at Bay Street last weekend. Bell did some digging at this intersection a two winters ago, so I figured I'd blame them for a lazy job of replacing the road they dug up, creating a puddle that just happens to be deepest between the crosswalk lines. But on closer investigation it might not actually be Bell's fault...
...because the puddle is concentrated in the part of the crosswalk that wasn't dug up by Bell. You can see the outline of the hole where they had worked in this photo from March 2011:
On the other hand, when that second photo was taken, the concrete section of sidewalk at the corner hadn't been torn out and re-poured yet, so it's possible they did create the puddle.
But whatever the case is with the asphalt in the crosswalk, the real boneheaded design issue here is that the curb cut, used by people with wheelchairs or strollers, is right at the corner, almost entirely outside of where the crosswalk lines are. This is very clearly not Bell's fault; their contractor simply rebuilt the sidewalk the way it had been before, installed by the City.
Here's a shot of the same corner in April 2010, as built by the City when this stretch of Gladstone was reconstructed a decade ago. Spray paint markings indicate the location of Bell's existing conduits prior to the digging:
The preferred situation here isn't to repaint the crosswalk; that wouldn't really change where most people do or don't walk, which is in a straight line exactly where the lines are painted now. Rather, the curb depression should come around the corner so that the most vulnerable users (adults in wheelchairs, elderly people with walkers and children in strollers) aren't forced into the intersection.
Better yet, raise the whole intersection to the sidewalk level. I haven't done a post yet on raised intersections, but they would slow the traffic (which would be a boon to cyclists crossing Gladstone, which has no stop signs or lights at Bay) while also avoiding the little matter of where the sidewalk meets the road surface, the crosswalk, and the water.
[Tune in on Wednesdays at noon for a new pedestrian-themed blog post. View the Pedestrians label for previous Peds on Weds posts]