As we wait for the latest winter weather event to roll in, with possibilities of more heavy snowfall, I wanted to put up some of the #sneckdown photos I took last time. Here’s what I saw. First, let’s look at an aerial photo of the intersection of Davie Rd at West Poplar Avenue. Both roads are one car lane in each direction; Poplar Avenue also has a bike lane in each direction. But look at how much pavement the pedestrian must traverse to reach the sidewalk on the other side of Davie when walking east/west on Poplar. For perspective, the white bars are road marking stop lines; each is about one car width. The green line representing the pedestrian path is probably 4-6 times the width of a car.
Now let’s see what happens when mother nature drops some snow on this intersection:
As you can see, a large swath of this area remains relatively untouched by all but a few car tires. The ability of a limited number cars to take this turn at high speed was prioritized over the safer crossing of pedestrians when this corner was engineered, and if we want to maximize walkability in town, we need to correct mistakes like these.
Filling the curb out through the red triangle in the first photo in this post would be a great step forward. The corner could be rounded a bit if that would help, but we want cars to turn right slowly here, not quickly into the path of pedestrians.
My second #Sneckdown site was a no brainer- this #Sneckdown is actually painted on the street! See below, West Main St at West Weaver St:
Perhaps the worst offending intersection in town for providing an accelerated corner on one of our critical streets, the area above in red should be paved and raised, because while the actual number of intersections here is low, the vulnerable condition that the white triangle of paint supplies to pedestrians deters greater walking activity at this intersection. Here’s a photo from the storm:
Once again, a large berm of snow demonstrates how a pedestrian mid-intersection island would be welcome here as a perceived safety and actual safety improvement. The road diet on Main St has been a big improvement for pedestrians and cyclists on this corridor; getting a refuge island of some type here would be another great step forward.
In the meantime, keep your cameras at the ready if the weather shapes up to be snowy on Tuesday into Wednesday. We could have more #sneckdown photo ops!