Comment 53492

By Luckyone (anonymous) | Posted December 21, 2010 at 16:45:49

Last week I took a trip down the new westbound section of the street. Having heard that turns at James St. were verboten (had to see it with my own eyes to believe that one), I turned onto Wilson at Ferguson and headed westbound.

It was very strange to travel on a Wilson St. that was a NORMAL street with two pairs of travel lanes, one pair in each direction, separated by that all important yellow line. Somewhere along the way the second westbound lane disappears. (I guess it turns into a right turn lane at James. Have to go back for another look at that.)

Continuing westbound, I swear I could almost feel the people in the other cars going 'what the heck is that car doing there, traveling in the wrong direction?'. I felt rather odd myself, having never traveled against the by-now familiar traffic flow on York Blvd. It was unfamiliar, but it felt good.

It was nice to experience the street from a different perspective. I realized that, experientialy, always traveling on one-way streets in the same direction is a bit like knowing a person but having only ever seen their left profile. Something that had been missing was now before me. And it felt very comfortable. I thought 'this is nice. It's like knowing both sides of a person'.

Not surprisingly, I didn't encounter any other cars traveling in my westbound direction. Before too long at all I was approaching Bay Street.
Facing a solid green light, I had a moment of panic. What was I supposed to do now? I quickly recalled that since Bay Street is northbound only, a left turn was not an option. I don't believe there was any signage to that effect. Neither was there a 'No Entry' red circle/white hyphen sign in FRONT of me.

FORTUNATELY, despite the fact that I was facing a full green light, I realized that proceeding in a straight direction would have had me driving HEAD-ON into a left turn lane for the opposing flow and then into oncoming one-way traffic on the eastbound section of York Blvd! I deduced that the only option was to turn right. At this moment I was very glad not to have the usual pushy Grille right on my back bumper impatiently rushing my impromptu assessment of this strange and potentially life-threatening situation.

I made my turn and found my way onto the continuing westbound section of York, relieved but wondering just what kind of traffic engineer would design such an inherently dangerous intersection? Why wasn't there a 'No Left Turn sign' and a 'No Entry' sign mounted on the green light that was facing me?

Then I thought well that's not really how it's done here. These days it would be more like Montreal-style signage -- one sign only, showing a green circle around a right turning arrow, showing the one option that IS allowed rather than all the things that AREN'T allowed. This 'permissive' signage is like the new truck route signs that have been recently installed at Dundurn, and other places downtown. Of course my very next thought was, and this occurred to my passenger at exactly the same moment, why wasn't the full green lamp screened to simply be a right arrow? This as a right turn is the only possible option here. So what we have here is zero signage AND a misleading traffic light that implies three options where in fact there is only one.

This analysis and solution process all took place in less than ten seconds. Between myself and my passenger we had redesigned the lights and signage at this fantastically dangerous new intersection in a few moments. How long did traffic engineers study this intersection before coming up with this kamikaze arrangement? Knowing that the answer is about TWO YEARS, I can only ask if this is a deliberate effort to sabotage 'two-way conversion' in the downtown core. To this I would say something like 'as a disgruntled traffic engineer you may have a problem with two-way streets, and you may even want to CAUSE traffic havoc to back up your personal belief, but what were you thinking?.'

You may THINK it is clever of you to undermine these changes by literally engineering collisions into this intersection. But what about if someone is seriously injured, or killed? What if it's your Mom?

It ought to be possible to literally charge engineers who engage in this kind of rogue, self-serving behavior with Highway Traffic Act or possibly Criminal Code offenses if it could be proven that this sort of mischief has occurred. If it was up to me, I'd give them 24 hours notice to fix it and then start laying charges. It's not funny.

Sorry for the rather long post.

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