Summer in the city - coping with COVID19

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON’

The Gazette web site, we call it our press room, is undergoing a security upgrade. The content has been hacked into several times and someone is playing with the comments section. Thus, unfortunately, the comments section will not be available until security is solid enough to prevent people from removing what you want to say.

The weather was great.

Loads of people out.

Too many cars with drivers who felt that had to let us know just how much noise their mufflers could make.

The patios weren’t as full as we thought they would be.

Spencer Smith Park was busy but not crowded when we were there and the lines on the Naval Promenade kept people far enough apart.

Kids in the water

It’s what summer at the beach is all about – except that this is not a normal summer.

 

Beach closed sign

Perhaps we have more people in Burlington for whom English is not their first language?

That small Beach created at the foot of the Pier attracted kids that were enjoying making castles in the sane – despite the sign clearly saying the Beach was closed.

That Beach by the way was not planned. While the Pier was being built the currents pulled sand into that spot on the waterfront. That sand by the way drifted all the way from the Scarborough Bluffs.

Walking around downtown was quite nice. The traffic cones that were put up to create walking space for pedestrians did the job.

It made for tight traffic at times – but the public was given the space they needed.

Brant Strret - Wendell rest

The walkway on the street was great for pedestrians. The traffic cones were rather ratty and tattered looking.

The cones that were set out on Brant Street were a little “ratty: looking. The barrier set up on John Street and Lakeshore had really nice clean look to them

Those traffic cones on Brant were an embarrassment.

The ward Councillor and the head honcho at the Downtown Business Association might want to look at the traffic cones in front of Wendell Clark’s and see if they can’t find something a little more attractive. Brant is the prime street in the city.

John Street looking south

These barriers leave a nice clean, rather smart look to the streetscape. Unfortunately, other than the ice cream shop – no one was getting much in the way of traffic.

 

Pump walkway BEST

The patio at The Pump is on the sidewalk – last year the patio was on the street. This set up is much better.

David Barker, an astute observer of what goes on downtown took issue with the way traffic was being managed, particularly at Brant and Lakeshore Road.

He explains:
“If you are driving West along Lakeshore Road and you wish to turn right, north, up Brant Street, and your traffic signal is green, you are unlikely to be able to make a right turn due to pedestrians crossing east/west and west/east across Brant Street. Say, the light then turns red against you but you wish to take advantage of “right on red”, you’re likely unable to be able to do so because pedestrians are now crossing Lakeshore Road in front of you, north/south and vice versa.

“Now consider should you be driving south on Brant Street and you wish to turn either east or west on to Lakeshore Road. When the light is green in your favour you are probably unlikely to be able to do so. That is because pedestrians likely will be crossing Lakeshore Road both on the east side and west side of Brant Street. Southbound traffic on Brant street is more often than not backed up beyond Elgin Street.

“So as you can see the situation is one where both vehicular traffic and pedestrians are vying for the same space on the road at the same time. That combination is not a good mix. Really pedestrians and vehicles should be separated.

“Would it not make more sense to:
(1) have the traffic going east and west along Lakeshore Road have it’s time to move when both south bound traffic on Brant Street and pedestrians are halted.
(2) Then halt pedestrians and traffic on Lakeshore (both directions) allowing traffic south bound on Brant Street to be able to turn East or West without obstacle.
(3) then have all vehicular traffic halted so pedestrians may cross Lakeshore Road and Brant Street in any which direction they like, even diagonally across the intersection if they wish.
(4) Then the cycle starts over.

“This plan allows for pedestrians and vehicles to move freely without obstruction and more importantly safely without frustration.

:The unregulated, unmarked crosswalk at Lakeshore Road and Locust Street adds to the chaos and confusion. It should be regulated and be in step with the traffic signals at both Lakeshore Road and Brant Street and Lakeshore Road and Burlington Street.

“With the great summer weather attracting people, who are already eager to get out after lockdown, to the downtown and Spencer Smith Park there will be more cars back on the road (with reduced lanes) and more pedestrians looking wander around and take advantage of the patios and Spencer Smith Park therefore crossing this intersection.”

City Council’s objective was to ensure that the space on the streets was made available to pedestrians – shared with the vehicles.

It’s not as smooth as people would’ve liked it – but it is a first step.  Many people want all of Brant closed to vehicles from Caroline south – the merchants are dead opposed to that idea.  In many cities closing a road to vehicles improves the pace of business.  The is a great opportunity to give it a try.

One of the sadder signs was the number of former retail locations now store fronts with For Rent signs in the windows.

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