Bikers, Cyclists, Pedestrians. Oh My!


The other day after I spent my time taking photos around the city, I decided to hop on a streetcar. Usually people don’t chat with the driver because their focus should be the road. However looking at the face of the driver, I felt this guy needed a change of pace. So what did we talk about?

Aside from photography which he was more versed than I would ever be with techniques principles and hardware, we got into talking traffic in the city. We swapped stories as vehicle operators and pedestrians, agreeing and disagreeing on a bunch of topics. The entitled cyclist and racing bikes and cars sprinting through the roads. Hearing from him, he mentioned he wants more warning especially for pedestrian crossing. However I quipped about the confusion about pedestrian crossings.

Here we have a countdown timer for pedestrians. As simplistic it sounds, the countdown was originally meant for the vehicle committing a right turn and to tell pedestrians to stop. Whoever planned and engineered these signs made it look like the lighting system makes you think you have a certain time to cross. I said to him the only way to stop pedestrians from dashing across is if all signs just told everyone to stop. A red light for cars and a solid hand for pedestrians. In lieu of a countdown, just a hidden timer until the next green light.

Sometimes a good idea just involves talking to people who have to live through those mistakes.

The city here is filled with literal and figurative signs of actions upon the infrastructure. Senior zones that cover just 2 city blocks, defunct or aging neighbour watch, unenforced school calming zones on 6 lane thoroughfares; there is no consistent idea what the city wants but works on the whims of those affected by them. In a chaotic system like traffic infrastructure, I would side with anyone who builds a logical and intuitive system of signage.

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