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Safe Streets for Londoners, Hope out of Tragedy

Safe Streets for Londoners, Hope out of Tragedy

A little about road diets and how they can help.

Melvin Hodgins was killed while riding his bike yesterday on Adelaide Street, and as a result we are renewing our call for safe streets for Londoners. We don't know details about his life, or his family at the time of writing, but we have no hesitation in saying his life was worth protecting. We have a specific proposal for the City of London to prevent future tragedy that is a win for everybody. Please share our idea widely, write your Councillor, and Mayor, and show your support for safer streets for Londoners. 

Adelaide Street: Connecting Communities, Protecting Human Life, Saving Money

Our proposal is for the design of a safer, smoother Adelaide Street that incorporates all users, and that makes driving, walking, and riding a bike safer. By using safe and proven engineering approaches, we can create a "main street" with thriving businesses and street life between two of London's most historic neighbourhoods.

Our proposal is to construct a "4/3 Road Diet" street conversion on Adelaide Street from Hamilton Road to Oxford Street, while installing seven protected intersections along this stretch. 

This approach has been used in dozens of cities across North America, and is even in use here in London on Trafalgar Street. Our proposal for a road diet on Adelaide Street accomplishes the following goals: 

  • Moves more people than the current road design (bikes + pedestrians + cars). 
  • Results in zero change in motor vehicle capacity. 
  • Dramatically decreases collisions and improves safety for all users. 
  • Decreases aggressive speeding, and unsafe driving maneuvers. 
  • Connects neighbours from north to south, between the communities of Woodfield, the Old East Village, Carling, and Hamilton Road.
  • Provides a protected North-South cycling route that crosses both sets of rail tracks once the Adelaide CP underpass is complete. 
  • Improves business access along Adelaide Street for people on foot, on bikes, and in cars. 

Watch the video below, beginning at 30 seconds, which illustrates the design that is recommended for Adelaide from Hamilton Road to Oxford Street. We also add from our perspective that on any 50 km/h road, concrete barriers are required between bikes and cars. 

Jeff Speck: Four Road Diets from Cupola Media on Vimeo.

The "Road Diet" should actually be named the "Road Feast" because it allows more people to move smoothly through a street corridor, while bringing more traffic past local businesses. This results in an increase to businesses' bottom lines, and tax revenues, which is a win-win for the everybody.    

Safety mid-block isn't enough, however. We need to design safer intersections at busy crossings. Our proposal includes seven protected intersections at Hamilton Road, King Street, Dundas Street, Queens Avenue, Central Avenue, Pall Mall / McMahen, and Oxford Street. These protected intersections allow safe and smooth travel for all users, and make our streets lower-stress for drivers, too. These designs are newer to North America, but they are in use in Ottawa, where forty (40!) of these intersections have been planned and/or built as of May 2018. They are safe, intuitive, and result in a better transportation system for everyone. 

Protected Intersections For Bicyclists and Pedestrians by Nick Falbo from Alta on Vimeo.

It's essential to remember that choosing safety also means choosing cost savings. The cost of the status quo includes emergency response, auto insurance claims, medical treatment, loss of time at work, and loss of human life. By choosing a safer street design, with protected intersections, we're choosing cost savings and lower taxes, we're choosing lower-stress travel, we're choosing a thriving business community, and we're choosing connection with our neighbours. And we're getting all of it by making minor and inexpensive modifications to a street that hasn't had a facelift since the 1940s. 

So London, what do you think? Let's not just send our thoughts and prayers to Melvin's family. Let's send the City a vision and a solution that can make our streets better for everyone. Let's not let Melvin Hodgins die for nothing. 

- Ben 

Results of Seattle's Road Diet program.

The city of Seattle has had incredible success with their Road Diet program. Substantial decreases in collisions and injuries were achieved while increasing traffic movement. Modernizing our road system has advantages for everyone.


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