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COLUMN: Midland’s war on pedestrians takes centre stage downtown

Vehicular traffic still rules the day over pedestrians on town's recently reopened King Street, writer says
2021-03-02 IMG_7627
New signage on King Street gives priority to motorists.

Our newly-renovated main street looks very nice; especially the costly multi-coloured concrete tiles the cars park on.

This priority for cars is carried on with an 'open season' on pedestrians. Who dreamed up such a penalization?

The first example is all the automatic traffic signals (now five sets, including an advance turn onto dead end Elizabeth Street no less). In order to get a 'walk' signal, the pedestrian must push a button and wait—even if the light for car traffic in one’s direction is green.

Did I say wait? Yes, and a long wait indeed. Most pedestrians I observe start to walk on the green signal, heedless of the 'red hand'  facing them.

By the way, has anyone noticed the huge control containers for each set of traffic signals on the shoulder of the intersection; remember when traffic lights were controlled by a box the size of a birdhouse mounted on the pole?

But the really cunning anti-pedestrian measures are the 'Courtesy Crosswalks.' I call them 'Courtesy Jaywalks' and have attached a photo of the signage.

Yes, unlike any crosswalk in any other community in Ontario, pedestrians are to yield to cars at these crosswalks! Just as at any other point on the street.

What happens if a southbound courteous driver does stop for a pedestrian; I guess we pray for that pedestrian in regard to northbound cars. Incidentally I understand there has been a serious injury to a pedestrian struck in similar circumstances on a like-signed 'courtesy crosswalk' elsewhere in town.

Surely, it should be desirable to convert these crosswalks to normality at little cost and trouble.

As for the traffic signals, it is hard to imagine the pedestrian signals could not be programmed to be more pedestrian friendly.

Rod Ferguson is a retired Midland lawyer