Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dipsy Doo for Cars

All pedestrians complain at the roller coaster sidewalks Ottawa inflicts on pedestrians. No driveway is too small or too seldom used that it can't have a dip in the sidewalk.

I had hoped that with the reconstruction of West Wellington, Somerset, Preston, and other streets with new wider sidewalks that maybe, just maybe, pedestrians could come first. But alas, no, the old patterns reappear even when there is no functional reason. Look at the sidewalk in the picture above. It is set back about 10 feet from the curb, but it still slopes down to a dip. Why can't a car climb up six inches (the height of the curb and sidewalk above the street surface) over a length of ten feet? Because then the pedestrian sidewalk would be flat and level and useful ... but not subservient to the almighty automobile. I could take similar pictures on any local streets.

Puddles, slush puddles, icy sidewalks, dangerous slopes, death sentences to the elderly and infirm ... are not regretable by-products of necessity but the deliberate creation of sidewalks by automobile-worshipping city functionaires.


  1. That's peculiar... a few years ago the City started building sidewalks which were only half sloped, and the other half stayed level. I believe Fifth Avenue was the first street to get this treatment, with Holland and others following suit. Strange that West Wellington didn't get the same deal.

  2. I have had the dubious pleasure of walking on some of those sidewalks. Gladstone west of Preston has them. IMO, they are no better than the old roller coaster -- except now the sidewalk for the pedestrian has a steep slope to the side.
    The "new" design may be OK for a single person walking, but not for two, as the curbside one gets to walk on a crazy steep slope.
    No one builds "my" design: leave the sidewalk flat and level acrross the driveway opening, and make the car climb up the six inch curb in the first six inches. These steeply sloped curbs force cars to slow down, and were used for years in Nepean and occasionally in Ottawa.

  3. They need to get their act together in the OC Transpo stations too. Huge puddles everywhere, especially at entrances and the top and bottom of staircases. HAZARD!

  4. Those half sloped sidewalks are a accident waiting to happen even for able bodied people let alone someone with a handicap. If you are walking on the street side of the sidewalk it is there one step and not the next. I can see some serious injuries, falls, wheelchairs / scooters tipping over... I have the sloped curb at home, works fine.

  5. I have made this comment before but these slopes are tough when you are pushing a wheelchair and treacherous if you are operating one solo.

  6. The new half-sloped sidewlaks on my street are more dagerous than the old ones. The city only plows the "sloped" half of the sidewalk, not the flat half, making the walk more dangerous now that the slope is steeper. Arghh.

    And on narrow sidewalks, only elves and toddlers can use the flat half, plowed or not.