LETTERS: A case for the pedestrian

Were I to make an argument regarding the modal prejudice of the City of Victoria it would start with a defence of the pedestrian. In most cities there is a modal hierarchy stated by council.

Typically, there is also goods movement that fits either before or after the auto driver. It has often been said that a cycling and transit journey is merely an interrupted pedestrian journey. This means that to entice users, the pedestrian infrastructure on either end of the journey must create a positive experience or the journey is not viewed positively as a whole. In inclement weather this is particularly true when infrequent users of transit opt to leave their car and give the bus a chance to prove itself.

It has recently been exposed the modal preference in the city to be the cyclist bar none (even more than the Fort Street bike lanes that impacted multiple transit routes or the narrow traffic lanes on lower Pandora to fit in bike lanes have proven that notion). Pictures of snow-covered travel lanes next to completely bare dedicated cycling routes are evidence of that preference in recent days. However, this is not my issue. It is the disregard for the pedestrian that is most troubling. Homeowners that don’t clear sidewalks are one thing but a city that disregards the needs of the pedestrian is another.

On my travel to work today I walk, take the bus, and walk again. The walk to the bus stop in Oak Bay was not an enjoyable experience between snow-choked sidewalks and icy roads. However, this I expect. It shows the character of the homeowner and their concern for fellow residents. Using the bus was a greater challenge than should be the case. The bus appeared and the operator showed great caution approaching the stop and looking for a place to let us on. Why the concern? Because of the snow drifts blocking the bus stop. This was the case all the way into downtown where there might be a small path to the front door, but the back door was presented with a massive pile of snow from street plowing.

The walk through downtown and across the Johnson Street Bridge was no better. Snowbanks along Douglas Street, no clearance of any corner (though workers were diligently cleaning parking spaces) so pedestrians are forced to dance through slushy piles mixed with black ice. The approach to the bridge made me laugh. Standing at the corner next to Swans, the bike pathway was cleared but not the pedestrian crossing. The bridge approach was nothing less than a sheer coat of ice all the way up the perforated bridge deck – not a speck of salt. Now I fully understand the rationale for a handrail – to assist pedestrians as they attempt to ascend the bridge whilst trying not to appear as though they are in some comedy show about people sliding around on black ice.

I would suggest that the actual transportation pyramid for the City is the following: Bikes; Cars; Goods movement; Pedestrians; and finally Transit.

If the goal is to create a modal system of choice, then surely how the pedestrian is treated is of paramount importance to achieving that goal. We can and should do better by them.

Graeme Masterton

Oak Bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

Woman arrested for hit and run that left another vehicle in Colwood front lawn

The woman was issued a 24 hour driving prohibition and a ticket

VicPD looking for 17-year-old girl, believed to be in downtown Victoria

Circumstance under which she has gone missing are considered to be high-risk

New urgent, primary care health centre opens in Saanich come November

North Quadra area facility to provide same-day, ongoing care for folks without family doctors

McKenzie interchange project drives towards completion

Motorists asked to continue following construction zone signage as crews will be on site into the fall

B.C. reports 122 new COVID-19 cases as health officials urge smaller social circles

Health officials urge against shaming and blaming patients

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read