Eleven pedestrian deaths in eleven days in the GTA.
That's just awful.
But I'm not certain it is statistically off the charts - walking has always been dangerous.
In fact, research shows that ‘walking drunk’ is, on a 'per person-kilometre traveled’ basis, even more dangerous than driving drunk.
Not that driving home drunk from a party is ever a smart thing to do.
Walking sober is also fraught.
It points out the obvious-when-you-think-about-it fact that, even more so than with motorcycles, if you collide with a car, you can’t like your odds.
150 pounds versus 4000 pounds?
Some of the recent reports on this sad situation indicate that suburban roads are even more dangerous than city streets, partly it would seem because there’s a different mindset for both walkers and drivers in the city core - they seem to be more aware that each other is there than they do in the boonies; and partly because major arterial roads are simply much wider, and take longer to cross, especially for seniors or others with compromised mobility.
The case of the Mom pushing her baby carriage across the street - the baby survived; the Mom did not - was particularly tragic.
The count-down timers for the amber lights which are becoming increasingly popular should be helping here, but maybe it's too early to have sufficient data.
But there is another vastly better solution to the challenges of suburban intersections, and this situation is a new feather in an old cap as far as I am concerned.
Because this recent concern about pedestrian safety is another benefit, heretofore unrecognized even by me, in favour of roundabouts.
A roundabout does not need a right-turn lane and a left-turn lane, so there is less traveled road pedestrians need to cross, so the trek is shorter, and hence less dangerous.
“Wait,” you might say, “with roundabouts there are no traffic lights at all - isn’t that the whole point of a roundabout? How do pedestrians get across at all?”
A pedestrian-controlled traffic light would be a good compromise for many cases.
In situations without a traffic light, pedestrians should have an under- or overpass to cross the street. Because the span would be shorter with a roundabout, they should cost a lot less to build.
I have little expectation that most urban planners are bright enough to understand the value of roundabouts. Or maybe it's their political masters who are to blame here.
Maybe these tragic deaths might at least get this topic on the table.