Saturday, December 11, 2010

Traffic Calming Measures on Rideau Street

As a result of an article printed in the Whig Standard yesterday (see: Humps Gives Drivers Bumps) about the new speed humps on Rideau Street, I have been motivated to head outside to take some video clips of rush hour traffic bouncing over the new, ridiculously high speed bumps.

Here is the video. After watching this, read the whole story below.

The debate about traffic on Rideau Street has been going on for over a decade. I was one of the originals who blocked the street for several hours to protest the lack of a safe crossing for seniors and the disabled.

That little protest got us the ...courtesy crosswalk (not that anyone knows what courtesy means).

Then the city had to audacity to move the crosswalk to a place that is useless for those who use a mobility device. We had to return to taking our life in our hands to J-Walk.

What drives me nuts is that years ago, a city official did a presentation to our building saying the posted speed limit is 40 kms/hr and the average traffic speed is 56 kms/hr. He then went on to say they have to go with what the traffic is willing to bear - that they can't add speed humps (due to emergency vehicles) and he can't add a proper crosswalk, or better yet, a traffic signal that can be activated with a button press, because the cars won't accept it.

Now we have stupid speed humps.

It is beyond me to understand why the city won't park a cop out there for a week to enforce the law? Speeding in a designated safe zone, where the limit is 40 km zone, like it is here, comes with a hefty fine. I'm sure 1 week's worth of fines followed by period traffic stops at random after that, would be far cheaper than wrecking the rads on people's cars, or laying the concrete to build them.

Over the years, I wrote the following letters to the city about ongoing problems with the safety of that crossing, and the subsequent changes that were made to improve it by the city.

From: Louise
Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 10:14 PM
To: Contactus
Subject: Moved Crosswalk at Rideaucrest no longer viable to use - why?

To Whom it May Concern,

Many months ago a study was done to determine the practicality of moving the crosswalk in front of Rideaucrest as a traffic calming measure. An opportunity to provide feedback was offered, but the public input meeting was held at the Invista Centre. This is a bad location for people from my building to get to from here. We can use the city bus during the day, but in the evening we would not have been able to leave unless we were prepared to walk to the stop at Assurant. Further, we were advised that the input meetings were for property owners, not apartment dwellers.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the people from my building who attended the meeting and voiced their concerns about the crosswalk being moved were disregarded. Why?
Here is a quote from the consultant's study. (Source:
Rideau Street – The voter turnout was 58% and 82% of the respondents were in favour of the proposed traffic calming installation. The voting patterns for the proposed project indicated strong support from residents for the initiative. However, the original proponents for this project were the residents of Rideaucrest Towers and they collectively voted against the plan. That notwithstanding, we recommend proceeding with the design and implementation of the plan because it will accomplish the intended goal of slowing traffic down on Rideau Street and providing a safer environment at the courtesy crossing. Following implementation, we further recommend that a follow up survey be undertaken of the residents to determine if they change their opinion once the measures have been installed and have been operational for six to twelve months.
Since then, I have had occasion to try the new crosswalk and it is simply not useful or practical. I live in Rideaucrest Towers so the path I would have to take to access the crosswalk is to head south to the driveway entrance, hang a sharp right onto the sidewalk, hang a sharp left at the crosswalk and cross the street. I would then have to hang a left to cross Raglan Road and head to the bus stop.

The old crosswalk was not very usable either because of the need to take the sharp right and then left. But at least it was close enough to the driveway and the cars knew enough to stop if a person using a wheelchair didn't use the little sidewalk path. Now that the crosswalk has been moved to a location that is further away, the cars definitely will not stop. It also adds to the distance that people have to walk to the bus stop. This is not practical for those with limited mobility; those who use walkers, canes, a wheelchair, or a scooter.

The moving of this crosswalk has created a new barrier. Please fix it by moving it back. The hump can still be used to slow the traffic, and the paint can be added to the old crosswalk location without causing much of a problem. In fact, it might even make the crosswalk a little safer because the cars will be slowing down in at least one direction before they actually get to where the people cross the road.

Please call or email me with an update on what can be done to resolve this program.


From: wheelchairdemon
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 12:42 PM
To: Green, Deanna
Subject: Traffic calming measures.... a question

Hi Deanna,

I have a question about the proposed traffic calming measures.

In looking at the image below, I do not see an indication of the new speed hump where the courtesy crossing was relocated to, last Fall. I drew in the location where I think it should be (hopefully on scale).
When I look at this, and the location of hump #1 (where I penned in the question about whether that would meet up with the bus stop), it dawned on me that perhaps the courtesy crosswalk could be moved to that hump instead? It is my understanding that there is no money left in the budget to create a curb cut in the parking lot in front of Rideaucrest, so perhaps moving the crosswalk to a location that is in line with the pedestrian traffic flow to the bus stop or downtown, at the time of building the new hump, would create an alternative, accessible, and safer solution for the majority of residents who live in this neighbourhood.

As it stands now, and as I pointed out in an earlier email, the new location for the crosswalk has created an new barrier for those who want to walk from Rideaucrest Towers or the Nursing home, to the bus stop or downtown. Many, including me when I use my manual wheelchair, can't manage the extra distance so we J-walk. This means the new location of the crosswalk has created an unsafe condition for the ones who need it the most.

My question is this. Would it be feasible to ask the construction crew to add a curb cut and pavement over the grass so that the courtesy crossing can be moved to the proposed location for hump 1? If they're building up the pavement, it is my hope that they could do a saw cut to remove the curb, smooth it out with the raised hump, and make a safer, and more accessible courtesy crosswalk at that location.

I look forward to your reply.


Subject: RE: Traffic calming measures.... a question
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 15:26:14 -0400
From: Green, Deanna
To: wheelchairdemon


Our concern with moving the crosswalk south of Raglan Road it that it moves the crossing even father from the intersection. We can however consider once we determine what the plans will be for the remainder of Rideau Street.


My only comment to this response from a city official is, this is not an answer, and now we have the humps.... and the unhappy drivers.

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