Sunday, October 11, 2009

Typical Mismatch

This intersection of Torrington at the Driveway is typical of many in the City. The stop line for vehicles is up close to the intersection but the pedestrian walks are set back a few meters, right at the midpoint of a car. In this case as I walked up to the intersection and stepped onto the asphalt to cross a car had to brake sharply as the driver was focussed on the stop line not the crossing walking.

It seems more logical to me that the stop line be at the sidewalk - and the sidewalk dip - and after stopping the vehicle could inch its way forward to a position where it had adequate views to the left.

But hey, we pedestrians know our place in the transportation hierarchy.


  1. I remember the same sort of bad design when I lived in Winnipeg. However, I'm in Korea now and I've seen cars driving on the sidewalk (though that was about 8 years ago). Motorcycles are still a common occurrence on sidewalks here. Really pedestrians are just an inconvenience for motorized commuters.

  2. I agree with the mismatch. Perhaps a painted crosswalk would at least help keep drivers mindful, though they are generally in front of the stop line?

  3. Pushing the stop line further back would be dangerous for motorists, who would not be able to see vehicles on the cross street (especially since this is not a 4-way stop). If it were pushed back, motorist would stop, then creep forward until they could see the oncoming cars.

    The real problem is the huge grassy verge between the sidewalk and the street. The sidewalk needs to be rebuilt, or thwe whole intersection. Bad design all around.

  4. These ill-planned interestections abound. I do not think the solution is move the sidewalk, its to move the stop line. The problem identified in the previous comment: If it were pushed back, motorist would stop, then creep forward until they could see the oncoming cars ... is exactly the correct solution IMO.

  5. If it were pushed back, motorist would stop, then creep forward until they could see the oncoming cars.


  6. The stop and creep turns the stop sign into an effective yield sign, which makes the intersection less safe. Yields are usually used at very low traffic crossings. Increasing the likelihood of auto accidents is not good design.

    Rebuilding the entire intersection and moving the sidewalk is the best long term option. Or changing the sighlines to asphalt over the grassy verge, to improve auto sightlines.

    I think its important to assume good faith and best effort when looking at urban design issues. There was no evil anti-pedestrian plot here. Just a case of folks doing the best they could with what the built environment offers.

  7. Erasing the stop line should also work.


    [...] Stop behind the stop line if it is marked on the pavement. If there is no stop line, stop at the crosswalk, marked or not. If there is no crosswalk, stop at the edge of the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stop at the edge of the intersection.

  8. I think the solution is simple and consists of two things:

    1. Add a cross walk. There's no way a driver can see someone walking from behind that tree!
    2. The pedestrians should always look before crossing and cross when it's safe
    And by safe I mean a) there are no car coming, b) there's enough time to cross before the car gets to the intersectio c) the driver saw the pedestrian and the car is slowing down