Walkability Fail

Walkability Fail at Cumberland and Sanford

By John Neary
Published March 23, 2010

If anyone knows the identity of these two lawbreakers, please notify the police so that they can be fined.

Cumberland and Sanford Avenues are quiet residential streets. Sanford ends in a cul-de-sac against the escarpment a short block south of Cumberland.

Cumberland ends at Wentworth a block west of Sanford.

All-way stop signs are present at their intersection for traffic calming. And there's a nice little park on the southeast corner.

Looks like a pedestrian-friendly place, right? But wait, let's take a closer look at that sign to the right of the green park sign.

You see, Cumberland jogs a few metres south to the west of Sanford, such that the north sidewalk west of Sanford lines up almost exactly with the south sidewalk on the east side.

Apparently lawless pedestrians were crossing the street at that point. Chaos ensued!

Luckily, the city came to the rescue with those helpful signs. Because it's not like they had more important issues to address.

The other walkability fails to date all share one common factor: a major street with high-volume car traffic. One could imagine a utilitarian city planner who simply placed too much weight on the convenience of motorists as opposed to pedestrians.

Well, Cumberland and Sanford ruins that theory. There are hardly any motorists there, and they're all from that neighbourhood. Neither street is a through street.

If our city planners are utilitarians, the only weight they could possibly be placing on pedestrian convenience is zero.

John Neary lives in Beasley Neighbourhood and practices general internal medicine at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. He would like Hamilton to develop an urban environment that creates less gainful employment for his profession.

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By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:58:24

Just in case anyone can't make out the sign, it reads: "Pedestrian Crossing Prohibited. Use Painted Crosswalks."

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted March 23, 2010 at 12:59:48

This is hilarious.

Here is a video related to this intersection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d24EaUzj...

They talk about pedestrian blitzes and cycling blitzes - how about side-street-stop-sign blitzes?

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By alrathbone (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 15:26:08

I can't believe they've found a way to screw up that neighbourhood. Next time I'm at my grandmother's, I think I might make the 2 minute walk up there to see the stupidity myself. I pity this city. I really do.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 21:51:45

Gladstone and Delaware is bad too. The Jehovahs Witnesses demanded a stop sign in front of their building instead of putting it at the corner of Delaware and Sanford, which is a much busier intersection.

Since Gladstone is offset at Delaware it makes a very strange intersection where no one is sure where they're supposed to stop.

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 22:01:34

This traffic issues in this neighbourhood highlight the idiotic planning we often see in this city.

Wentworth St is one of the access roads to and from the Sherman cut. Due to the one-way status of Wentworth north of Delaware, one has no choice but to cut through the back streets when coming down from the Mountain.

Two-way Wentworth from Delaware to Main (or King or even Burlington St!) would be a simple solution to improve the quality of life for many. It would also be better for the drivers.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 23:17:24

I don't know how to capture screen shots in a blog like you folks, so I'm waiting till I can go snap some pics of some of the most worst stuff out there in terms of pedestrian fail - the 'pedestrian crossing' signs on Main near Pearl and King near Pearl. Pure gold.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 24, 2010 at 07:27:54

speaking of this Cumberland location, I'm there a couple of times a week as a driver and without exaggerating, I have NEVER seen another car turn that corner. Ever. Not half a block behind me, not half a block in front of me. I've always looked at that pedestrian sign and think to myself "why is this even here?" I guess all the main roads were messed up enough and made to be unlivable so planners decided to move into the heart of quiet residential neighbourhoods in an attempt to decrease the quality of their life as well.

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2010 at 12:20:55

Jason, I'm totally with you on the King and Pearl pedestrian crossing - I travel to Toronto by GO bus everday (thanks Ryan for your amazing contribution to the RTH poetry Slam! I laughed for a week!), and used to try and disembark there. Not such a good idea - drivers seem to think that pedestrian crossing is for target practice - easy to understand their confusion: What pedestrian in their right mind would step out into that street unless the light on Locke was red? Even then it's a bit of russian roulette.

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