Saturday, October 06, 2012

Moving Cars Faster

I’ve moved away from Burlington and I must say that the news that is reaching me on events from that beautiful lakefront city is making less and less sense by the day.

Take this one.

Burlington is increasing the speeds on some of its roads.

I’ve said it different ways before but I’m thinking Burlington should change its motto from ‘Stand By’ to ‘We March to a Different Drummer.’

Just last month the Chief Coroner of Ontario came out with a report called the Pedestrian Death Review.  This review examined the circumstances of 95 deaths that occurred from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010 in the province.  As coroner’s report do, this one makes recommendations to help prevent future deaths. The 26 recommendations and accompanying comprehensive analysis can be found here.

The thrust of the report is to get municipalities to think about developing strategies to make that will make their roads safer for pedestrians. Cities should develop walking strategies and “complete streets” approach which suggests “streets should be designed to be safe, convenient and comfortable for every user, regardless of transportation mode, physical ability or age.”  Cities need to think about reducing speed limits.

This is, of course, a totally different way of looking at things then is done in Burlington.  Here a new Speed Limits Policy seems designed to acquiesce to citizen requests to be able drive their cars faster.  Just ask and the city will get the traffic engineers to check out what speed 85% of the traffic goes and, if it exceeds the speed limit, well, we should just raise that speed limit.

A recommendation going to Council on Monday October 15th if approved will increase the speed on the Queensway and the section of Upper Middle Road between Brant Street and Guelph line from 50 km to 60 km. 

Upper Middle Road will maintain those 40 kilometre zones. We’ll now see drivers getting nose bleeds as they decelerate in school zones.  Cops who enforce these zones tell me they’re cash cows and do nothing for safety.

And yet staff data demonstrates that cyclists will have more to worry about with these increased speeds.

Read the staff report and maybe you’ll understand how these changes contribute to vibrant neighbourhoods.  I’m still scratching my head on that one.

Typically, consultation was poor on this issue.  Relevant citizen advisory committees were merely “notified.” 

They’re marching to a different drummer in Burlington, the city by the lake, where traffic engineers rule.